Tayrona National Park: Elegantly natural
Not many are aware of this natural treasure that is known as the Tayrona National Park that engulfs one of the most beloved coasts of South America. This is the natural delight of archaeological relics, native productions, and land as well as water adventures accessible from Santa Marta in Magdalena that is at 25 miles. The entire surroundings here are filled with thorny scrubland, corals, algae, prairies, cloud forests, mangrove swamps, as well as magical fauna, which facilitate an indulging experience. And to this, just add the charm of the cultural heritage in form of the ancient archaeological relics of the Tayrona locals in locations such as Pueblito Chairama. And still the small world of this Tayrona National Park does not end – there is still more to go… Look for amazing beaches, rent a hammock at night to relax, surf the waves, explore a small hamlet on a guided trip to nearby mountains, and so on.
At this eco-tourism park, the main draws are diverse surf as well as diving spots, observing flora as well as fauna, and bird watching that gives you a chance to see the rare Andean condor along with the visit to the Chairama archaeological site. Also known as the Pueblito, this historical site is accessible via the stone paths, which is a definitely a marvel. You can come here from El Cabo via an uphill trek of 3 to 5 hours. Much similar to Ciudad Perdida, this site has only one distinguishing point – small size.
El Cabo itself is very interesting that offers several hiking routes with snorkeling opportunities provided the visibility is good. Come here with your own gear and get ready to spot a variety of marine life that resides near the far away reefs as well as close by rocks. There are many beaches flanking this area, which are really stunning as well as easily accessible by strolling. One of the best activities to do from its one of the striking beaches – Arrecifes – is to take up a 15-minute amble to the La Piscina lagoon that has the reef and facilitates safe swimming that is not recommended at the Arrecifes.
Some more highlights are in the Tayrona National Park are horseback riding, Castilletes beach, diving in La Cueva de Neguanje or Isla Aguja, Los Naranjos Trail, Chairama Archaeological Museum in Canaveral, Quebrada Valencia (stream), Playa Cristal called also as Playa del Muerto, Cabo de San Juan de Guía where the sea is edged by rainforest and monoliths of stone, and Riverbed of the Piedras River.
Coming to the fauna, you can easily spot condors, pumas, bats, howling monkeys, deer, white eagles, turtles, dolphins, reptiles, sponges, crustaceans, and amphibians.
Surprisingly, the Tayrona National Park offers one more stunning attraction in form of accommodation at Canaveral. Technically called luxurious Ecohabs, these are small to big cottages that are available from C$440,000. An alternative to this is camping here. This site is accessible by car only. It is from here that you can easily reach Arrecifes via just 45-minute stroll, where many restaurants and sleeping options are available. Camping is also available at Aviatur for C$11,000 including kids for free.
However, a majority of the tourists reside and camp in El Cabo that is accessible from here at 30-minute stroll. It is here that you rent a hammock for C$20.000 to C$22000. There is only one restaurant that serves safe food. Expect few hour electricity as well as okay bathrooms.
Las Pleyades is for budget backpackers, which offers accommodations outside the park and is reachable in 10 minutes from Pueblito or Canaveral.
Very pricey and ranges from $10 to $25. Eat at the restaurant in Arrecifes where juices are best. Do taste lulo – the blend of banana and yellow fruit of Caribbean. As you hike from the park’s doorway to Arrecifes, look for a campsite that offers bread with chocolate for 2,000 COP. Restaurants are also present at La Piscina, El Cabo, and Arrecife.
Adult: $21.000 pesos
Child: $3.600 pesos
Reaching to the park
Take up the Troncal del Caribe towards Riohacha from Santa Marta from where you can easily reach at one of the entrances like Canaveral, Calabazo, and Neguanje.
Rains in the park
May to June and September to November.