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The best beaches in Tayrona Park and how to get to them

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

In this article, I will show you how to get to the best beaches in Tayrona Park.

Everything you need to know about Tayrona Park!

  1. The best beaches in Tayrona Park and how to get to them

  2. How to get to Tayrona Park

  3. Important things you need to know before travelling to Tayrona Park

  4. Where to stay in Tayrona Park

  5. Video

Tayrona National Natural Park is one of the most beautiful places in Colombia. The park is famous for its beautiful, untouched beaches with white sand and crystal clear water. Your main goal in the park is to visit the beaches, this comes with a beautiful hike ranging from 2 to 5 hours one way.

The ideal plan is to pick the beach (one or two) you want to visit and then find the best route how to get there. This way you will be able to explore the park and relax at the beaches. One day is completely enough to experience the park, but if you want to visit all the beaches then it is best to stay in the actual Tayrona Park and do them all in 2 to 3 days.

The best beaches in Tayrona Park and how to get to them

The Top 5 beaches in Tayrona Park are:
  1. Cabo San Juan Beach - the most popular beach in Tayrona Park

  2. Arrecifes Beach - stunning beach, but only to view, you can’t actually access it

  3. Neguanje Beach

  4. Cristal Beach

  5. Bahia Concha Beach

The most famous one definitely is ‘Cabo San Juan’ beach as the iconic bungalow is located there. You definitely must have seen pictures of it.

The beach is lovely and you will find restaurants and snack bars there, so you can easily spend there the whole day. You can also snorkel there, but only on the days when the water is calm, as the current can get very strong there.

Probably the most popular hike to do is ‘Arrecifes Beach to Cabo San Juan Beach’. This way you will be able to see 2 beaches in one day. You need to enter the park via the main Entrance ‘El Zaino’ and make your way up to the 'Arrecifes Beach'. Note, you can’t swim or even enter the beach, just admire it from the trail. Then head to 'Cabo San Juan Beach'. On your way, you will also see ‘La Piscina’ beach which you can visit and swim there if you want to take a break during the hike. The route is clear so you should be able to get to Cabo San Juan without problems on your own. Also, it is a very popular trail so there will be people around so you shouldn’t really get lost. Once you have reached Cabo San Juan, enjoy the beautiful beach and to get back you use the same trail and entrance.

If you do not want to do it on your own then there are several agencies that offer group tours to Cabo San Juan!

The second most popular hike is to hike to ‘Neguanje‘ and ‘Cristal‘ beaches. Again, a great choice because you can manage to visit 2 beaches on the same day. For this hike, you will need to pick one of the ‘Palangana’ entrances. You can find them on Google maps by names ‘Ambiental Palangana Park’ and ‘Hacienda Palangana’ to understand where they are located. From there you hike to Neguanje beach and then Cristal beach is a further hike away.

These two beaches actually are popular to visit by boat because they are closer to Santa Marta and Taganga town than the first 2 beaches. You can take a boat to Neguanje beach, then hike a bit to Cristal beach and take a boat back from there. If you do decide to go by boat make sure to check the weather because if it is too windy the boats won’t go as they can’t park near the beaches.

The final option is 'Bahia Concha Beach', which you can reach by entering via the first Palangana entrance ‘Ambiental Palangana Park’ and hiking up there. Or also you can take a boat there as it is the closest beach to Santa Marta.

Here is a map of the whole park, where I have highlighted the main points mentioned above.

Note that all hikes can take from 2 to 5 hours, so have a lot of water with you, sunscreen and be ready for some hiking. There are alternatives. You can rent a moto-taxi, basically, someone takes you on a bike to the beach and back. You can also “rent” a horse and get to the beaches that way.

How to get to Tayrona Park

There is a cheap way and an easy way.

The cheapest way how to get to Tayrona Park is to get a bus from Santa Marta to the Tayrona Park one of the entrances. If you are staying in Taganga or Rodadero then you will need to take a bus first to Santa Marta and then from there to the park. At the main bus station select a bus to Palomino and on its way, there will be several bus stops near the park. If you choose to go by bus then I advise you to travel via the El Zaino entrance as the bus stop is next to the entrance and you do not have any extra hassle. The bus cost around 8.000 COP (~ 1.90 EUR / 1.60 GBP / 2.10 USD).

The easiest way is to go with one of the tour agencies. It isn’t your typical tour really because they just pick you up, get you a ticket and drop you at the chosen entrance. The hike and beach time you manage yourself. Then they take you back to your accommodation. Trips are with a bus and depending on your chosen beach will cost around 70.000 COP (~ 17 EUR / 14 GBP / 18.40 USD). Worry-free day!

If you do want a bit more special experience then there are several very well-rated tours on TripAdvisor to choose from. From sailing boat trips to very well-planned hikes!

Another way which I already mentioned above is by boat. Again two options, do it on your own or with an agency. The difference here is that boat packages are more exclusive. They come with lunch and beach sunbed reservations, etc. So the price is higher. If you do it yourself then you just need to take the boat from Santa Marta, Taganga or Rodadero beach. I didn’t try the boat way so unfortunately, I am not aware how much people on the beach are asking. In Rodadero to a nearby beach, they asked 70.000 COP, so I would think it is similar to that.

And of course, you always can take a taxi but that probably will be the priciest option, unless you find someone to share the cost with.

Important things you need to know before traveling to Tayrona Park

There is an entrance fee to get into the park and it is higher for foreigners. Whilst locals need to pay around 25.000 COP (~ 6 EUR / 5 GBP / 6.50 USD), foreigners need to pay around 55.000 COP (~ 13 EUR / 11 GBP / 14.50 USD).

Note that if you leave the park and then want to return the next day, you will need to get a new ticket. So, in this case, it is probably best to camp or stay in a hotel within Tayrona Park.

You do not need proof of the yellow fever vaccine!

You will need a passport to enter the park. You don’t need to take it with you, a picture is sufficient. This, in general, is a great thing in Colombia - they accept photos of your documents, you do not need to carry them with you everywhere.

You have to be careful. There are some beaches in Tayrona Park where you can’t swim or enter. There will be signs for it. It is just because the currents are too strong or the beach is closed for people in order to be able to preserve it.

Park is closed every February! Specific dates vary every year so make sure to check out the official Tayrona Park website for updates!

Where to stay in Tayrona Park

Tayrona Park does not offer many options, that is why day trips are extremely popular. There are no luxurious hotels, as it is a territory well protected by scientists and environmentalists.

The most popular way is to camp in the park by the beach. There are several spots where you can camp, like the Bahia Concha, Playa Brava, Cabo San Juan and Carnaveral. Also, there are territories where the tents are already set up for you. You just need to book them and you do not need to carry your own campaign kit.

Here are some hostels and guesthouses you can find in the park:

I hope this article will help you plan your trip better. To get the vibe of the place, watch my Tayrona Park video:

If you are planning a trip to Colombia, I highly recommend you to watch this video of 25 things you should know before traveling to Colombia:

All my favorite travel destinations in Colombia and the safety situation in each of them see in the video below:


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