Worth it or not? – Tayrona National Park in Colombia

In this new serie ‘worth it or not’ I review some of my experiences with a certain place or sight. Which are the real highlights and which are kind of overrated?

I will start with Tayrona National Park in Colombia, near the city of Santa Marta. The beaches in this national park, in the northern part of the country, are loved by many many people. The beach Cabo San Juan del Guia is even on cover of the Colombian Lonely Planet, edition 2012. Almost every traveler I spoke in Colombia recommended the place. Everybody was so positive I HAD TO check out the place.

Tayrona NP has several beaches, Cabo San Juan del Guia is the most famous one. It is about two hours walking from the entrance of the park to this beach. The beach called Piscina is more nearby, about half an hour walking. You will reach the beach called Arrecifes after an hour (more or less), but it’s forbidden to swim here. Don’t do this! Several people have already drowned here because of the strong current.

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Likes

– Though Tayrona NP doesn’t have the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen in my life, you will definitely experience the relaxed, Caribbean feeling. Swaying palm trees, turquoise water and soft sand between your toes.

– Hammocks, a lot of them! I really like the opportunity to sleep on the beach in a hammock. I’m a really big fan of those things, but it’s also possible to sleep in a tent or a cabin.

– The entrance fee is quite expensive: 39,500 pesos, that’s about 12 dollars (October 2015). However, if you want to stay more days the price remains the same. So the more days you will spend here, the cheaper it will become for you.

– It’s possible to spot animals like howler monkeys in the park!

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Dislikes

– Especially in the weekends it can be really really busy. Many Colombians will go from the cities like Santa Marta and Taganga to these beaches to chill.

– It’s in my opinion barely worth it to go to Tayrona NP for just one day. The entrance fee is quite expensive. You can enter the park at 8 am and the entrance gate closes at 5 pm. If you decide to walk you will lose at least 4 hours (2 hours to the beach, 2 hours back to the entrance) by walking and you will definitely have to rush. And that’s not why you come to Tayrona NP, right?

– Do you hate mosquitoes? This is not your place to be. You will literally be attacked by mosquitoes, even if you use insect repellant and wear long sleeves.

Conclusion

Tayrona National Park is definitely worth a visit if you’re in Colombia and you want to enjoy the relaxed vibe on the beach. It’s like a small paradise. However, I think it’s a pity to just go for one day. It’s possible to go by boat from Taganga to the beach and back, but you will still spend more than an hour on the boat, one-way. I would recommend Tayrona to other travelers, but it would be better and cheaper if you spend more (at least 2) days in the park.

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