The Tayrona National Natural Park is a protected area in the Colombian northern Caribbean region and within the jurisdiction of the city of Santa Marta, 34 kilometres (21 mi) from the city centre. The park presents a biodiversity endemic to the area of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range, featuring a variety of climates (mountain climate) and geography that ranges from arid sea level to 900 meters above sea level. The park covers approximately 30 square kilometres (12 sq mi) of maritime area in the Caribbean sea and approximately 150 square kilometres (58 sq mi) of land.
The park has an area of 150 square kilometers. It is located in the jurisdiction of the Santa Marta municipality, in the Department of Magdalena, alonged the north coast of Colombia which borders on the Caribbean Sea.
Taganga is its most southern part; its western boundary goes toward the northeast following the coastline, including a kilometer of sea area, until the Piedras River. The boundary follows the left side of the river until the North Highway, and then toward the west, crossing the following places with clear demarcations in the terrain:
- Santa Rosa Hill
- Tovar Hill
- Guacamayo Pick
- Aguas Muertas Hill
- Cielito Pick
- Hondonada Site
- Humo Hill
It also crosses several creeks, like the Piedras River, Cañaveral, Santa Rosa, La Boquita, Cinto, and other water branches, including the Rodríguez and Gairaca creeks.
- El Zaíno. Most of the tourist attractions are located in the east of the park. Everybody has to enter the park through the gate of El Zaíno.
- Cañaveral. Cañaveral is the only place which can be reached by car. A jeep or truck is running on this 4-km-long road for COP$2,000 per person. In Cañaveral there are a camping ground, exclusive cabanas and a restaurant. The beach is nice, but sometimes dangerous for swimming. The beach of Castilletes is a little off the road with the first accommodations in the park at the beach.
- Arrecifes. Arrecifes is the place with most of the good budget accommodations. It is as 45-min hike from Cañaveral to reach there.
- La Piscina. La Piscina is the safest place to swim and a great beach to hang out. It has a beautiful accommodation where you can enjoy your stay in Tayrona National Park.
- El Cabo San Juan de la Guía. A pair of spectacular beaches separated by a rocky outcrops.
- El Pueblito. An archaeological site similar to Ciudad Perdida only much smaller in size. It is a 1-2 hour uphill walk from El Cabo.
2 – 3 Days: It’s worth spending a few days at Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona (Tayrona Park) for a slice of South America’s prettiest coastline.