colombia tayrona national park cabo san juan

After spending four days in the big city, it was time to move from Medellin to Tayrona. I was really excited to get back to the nature!

Most people go to Tayrona to visit Tayrona National Park, and so did we! The National Park is located on the Caribbean coast and includes beaches, a lot of palm trees and a rain forest. How nice is that combo of mother nature’s finest? If you don’t like walking or hiking, this park probably isn’t something for you.

We booked a flight from Medellin to Santa Marta via Viva Colombia. It’s one of the cheaper airlines in Colombia, but still nice. Please be aware that if you’re traveling with a suitcase or a backpack you need to pay extra for this. I recommend to do this up front, because they charge you way more at the airport. That’s how they make their profit 😉 After our flight, we took a taxi to Santa Marta market (Carrera 11, Calle 11) to catch a local bus. I would definitely recommend to catch the local bus instead of a taxi! Not only are the busses good, it saves you a lot of money. And we actually liked being more surrounded by locals. We told one of the bus employees where our hostel was located and they stopped right in front of it.

Where to stay?

We decided to spend our afternoon & night at Eco Hostal Yuluka before heading to the National Park the next day. This hostel is near the entrance of the Tayrona National Park. We booked a private room, which meant we got our own little bungalow with a big  balcony and hammocks.

You can leave your luggage at this hostel when you go the national park, which is a big plus! Get a €15,- discount on your stay with the code E0TANA81 if you book via

Tayrona National Park

Our hostel was near the entrance of the park, so we decided to catch the bus on the side of the road early in the morning, so we could start the hike when it was still a little cool. We were prepared for a long hike, but the road was actually less difficult than we thought. The beginning of the path is constructed with wooden planks and most of the route was flat. This way we could enjoy all the beauty that the park has to offer even more!

You also have the option to sleep at one of the camping sites in the National Park. Because we wanted to experience the park to the fullest, we decided to spend one night here. Before going to Tayrona, we did our research and decided we either were going to stay at Arrecifes or Cabo San Juan. We read that Cabo San Juan is the most popular one because of it’s unique sleeping location; you can sleep in a hammock in a hut overlooking the ocean. And Arrecifes has nicer/cleaner camping facilities. We decided to visit both and make a decision on the spot. We choose to stay at Cabo San Juan, this way we could stay on the beach for the rest of the day and we wanted to give the sleeping in the hammock overlooking the sea a try. The hammock and camping facilities definitely were nicer at Arrecifes, but we didn’t like the location of the camping site as much as we loved Cabo San Juan. If you already know you’re going to stay at Cabo San Juan upfront, you can book a ticket at the entrance of the park. This way, you don’t have to worry about the camp being full (especially during the high season).

Cabo San Juan is one of the nicest beaches I’ve visited (and I live on a Caribbean island!). I’ve never seen so many palm trees together and so close to the ocean. Waking up to that view was the best start of the day. It truly was special to spend the day and night here. And yes, it was cold in the hammock at night but I had enough warm clothes with me to fix that. A experience to remember.

On our second day in Tayrona Park we stayed at the beach for a bit before walking back to the entrance of the park. We decided to stay at the Eco Hostal Yuluka again to relax a little and pick up our luggage before heading to Palomino.

What to pack?

  • Bring a small backpack, you’ll enjoy the hike more!
  • Mosquito spray
  • Towell
  • Cash
  • Swimsuit
  • Flip-flops
  • Sunscreen
  • Warmer clothing (especially if you decide to sleep in the hammock in the hut above the sea at Cabo San Juan).


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