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TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK GUIDE 2020
Calling all nature lovers, responsible travellers, and eco-conscious peeps! Our 2020 Tayrona National Park Guide was written with you in mind. This park is very unique and there are certain things that are good to know before you arrive so you can be prepared and ensure you have a safe, positive, and eco-friendly experience. Our 2020 Tayrona National Park guide features:
- WHERE TO STAY
- BEST TIME TO VISIT
- TOP 5 TIPS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
- DAY TRIP PACKING LIST
WHERE TO STAY
EcoHabs Tayrona: There is only one hotel in Tayona Park called EcoHabs. We highly recommend staying here unless you’re ok sleeping in tents (while we don’t mind tenting it as this is a sustainable option – the tents in Tayrona Park have no shade so we opted for the more comfortable eco-hut option). There are also lots of hotels a few kilometres from the park entrance, however none of them compared to EcoHabs due to it’s uniqueness and location inside the park.
This unique hotel is perfect for the eco-traveller who wants a few amenities during their stay.
You can expect:
- excellent service and friendly staff
- a unique location with jaw-dropping views of the mountains and ocean
- great onsite restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- an intimate space VS a large all-inclusive vibe
- respect for nature from guests and staff alike
- a swimmable beach only a few minute walk from your eco hut
- a room with a fan, comfortable beds, mini-fridge, coffee maker, hammocks, and epic views
- a 2-3 hour hike to the famous beaches (like Cabo San Juan) but EcoHabs can set you up with a hiking guide
BEST TIME TO VISIT TO AVOID MASS TOURISM
Tayrona National Park is the busiest national park in Colombia. It is busy year round but especially so during weekends and holidays. We chose to visit the famous Cabo San Juan beach on a weekday to avoid heavy crowds. The beach was still busy but the nearby Playa Nudista was virtually empty. The actual hiking trail to get the the beaches were also great on a weekday with minimal crowds.
The park is open from 8am – 5pm. If you stay at one of the campsites near Cabo San Juan you can enjoy quieter evenings at the beach as all other guests must leave.
And of course, the best time to visit is when it’s actually opened. Tayrona National park shuts down to the public 3 times in 2020 – see below tips for the exact dates.
TOP 5 TIPS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
- Tayrona Park closes down during three months a year. In 2020 it will be closed from February 1 to 29, June 1 to 15 and October 19 to November 2. Tayrona National Park is one of the most visited places in Colombia. Therefore, the purpose of the closure is to give the ecosystem a break and for park maintenance, like cleaning garbage left over from tourists and maintaining trails. Most importantly the four indigenous communities will have this time to practice spiritual cleansing of the region.
- Plastic bags and polystyrene are forbidden. The Colombian government has created a lot of rules to protect the park from mass tourism issues. Besides restricting certain plastics – alcohol, musical instruments, surf boards, pets, cigarettes, and fires are also banned from the park. If you’re looking for zero waste alternatives to disposables, check out our zero waste travel tips here
- The famous beach everyone wants to visit (Cabo San Juan) is a minimum 2 hour hike to get there from the park entrance or EcoHabs. Many people show up to the park and think they will be at the beach in minutes. The reality is – Tayrona National Park is massive and they don’t have roads to drive people up to the beach. Be prepared to hike in high temperatures for up to 2 hours from the Zaino entrance before you get to a beach. We highly recommend staying at EcoHabs and doing the full day hike with a guide to the famous Cabo San Juan beach. You may see some pretty interesting wildlife like maccaw’s and crocodiles en route!
- The park requires guests to have the Yellow Fever vaccine. Although it is not likely to be an issue, the park requires guests to have their Yellow Fever vaccine. While we did get ours, we were never asked to show our card at any point. Air on the side of caution and make sure you have your vaccine.
- Many of the beaches are not swimmable due to dangerous rip currents. People have drowned in Tayrona Park – do not mess around at the beaches where there are warning signs. If you are an ocean lover, don’t let this dissuade you from visiting. There are still several stunning beaches you can swim at.
THESE ARE THE BEACHES YOU CAN SWIM AT IN TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK:
- Playa Nudista (nudist beach) | This beach had the least amount of people on it. We loved that it felt so remote. Generally there are some waves so swim with caution.
- La Piscinita | next to EcoHabs. We only suggest visiting this beach if you’re staying at EcoHabs. It’s a great beach but quite small compared to the others.
- La Piscina | A favourite because its beautiful and a bit quieter than Cabo San Juan.
- Cabo San Juan | The most famous beach – good spot for photos, good swimming, but definitely the busiest and loudest beach
- Playa Cristal | accessible by boat tour
TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK DAY TRIP PACKING LIST:
▢ good hiking or running shoes you don’t mind getting dirty
▢ extra pair of socks
▢ reusable water bottle and other zero waste travel essentials to ensure you leave no trace when you leave the park
▢ small backpack
▢ comfortable hiking outfit for hot weather
▢ light rain jacket for rainy conditions only
▢ hat and sunglasses for sunny conditions
▢ good camera
▢ spending money for coconut water along the hike
▢ hair elastics or bandana
▢ portable or solar chargers for phone
▢ natural bug spray (coconut oil and lemon eucalyptus work or you can rub an orange peel all over you)
▢ reef-safe sunscreen
▢ bathing suit (unless you’re going to the nude beach!)
▢ change of clothes for the beach (i.e. sun dress)
According to the EcoHabs website the prices are: 18,000 for Colombians under 25 years, 24,000 for Colombians over 25 years, 53,500 for foreigners (price can increase during high seasons and holidays).