Caribbean Colombia: the best activities and beaches in Parque Tayrona

Júlia Gouveia

Illustration: Guilherme Craveiro

Bathed by the Caribbean Sea, the region is home to wild nature and some of the most beautiful beaches in Colombia


Santa Marta


Santa Marta, which is considered one of the oldest cities in South America. Even if you’re looking for some adventure, the charming historic center is worth exploring.




If you want to visit the beaches in Tayrona but don’t want to stay in the park, one good option is to look for accommodations in Taganga, which is close by. The fishing village, filled with restaurants, has a youthful atmosphere and a delightful seaside promenade. Boats that go to places that are more difficult to reach depart from there.


El Zaino

El Zaino is the main one. Trails to reach the beaches start there. The route to Playa de Arrecifes, which takes about an hour to cover, is framed by coconut groves, huge rocks, lagoons, soft sands and gorgeous but rough waters (swimming is prohibited).


Hotel Ecohabs


Located on Playa Cañaveral, the hotel Ecohabs, the only one inside the park, has eco-lodges (wood bungalows embedded on the hillside by the ocean). It features a restaurant on a pleasant terrace and a spa with jacuzzi.


Cabo San Juan


From Playa de Arrecifes, after a 1-hour hike, visitors arrive at Cabo San Juan del Guia, which has accommodations with camping facilities and hammock areas with a view of the ocean. With easy trails, the lovely beaches of La Piscina and Nudista are worth exploring.


Playa Cristal

Considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the region, it has intense blue waters, which are calm and warm. You can go snorkeling on the coral reef and admire the colorful fish. You can get there by car (by taking the road at the entrance to Mamatoco and then a speedboat) or by boat, leaving from Taganga (the crossing takes 40 minutes when the waters are rough).




After a 2-hour hike from Cabo, visitors arrive at the Pueblito Chairama archaeological site. The locale used to be the home of the Tairona people, which inhabited the region until the arrival of the Spanish, in the 15th century. Covered by woods, tourists can still see the ruins of the stone terraces, the circular houses and the aqueduct system.