The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona National Park: the ultimate guide

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In this post we’re going to show you all the beaches in Tayrona Park, from the most easily accessible to the most secret and difficult to access. We’ll try to explain where they are, what makes them special and how to get there.

Tayrona Park is a paradise of beaches, epitomized by the best-known of them all, Cabo San Juan beach, with its white sand, turquoise sea, coconut palms and hut perched on magnificent rocks polished by time.

Tayrona Park is a national natural park near Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast that all travelers and travel agencies offering tailor-made tours in Colombia include in their itineraries. It’s one of the most visited destinations in Colombia, and although the park encompasses a variety of ecosystems (forests, marshes, rivers, etc.), it’s its beaches that attract more and more people.

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Preamble

The beaches of Tayrona Park

The beaches of Tayrona Park stand out from the other coastal beaches ofthe Santa Marta region thanks to the small bays, coves and lagoons that make them some of the most beautiful in Colombia.

Tayrona Park sectors

The beaches of Tayrona Park are located in different sectors that don’t necessarily communicate with each other… If you don’t know what we’re talking about, we suggest you read our practical post where we give you all the information you need to understand how Tayrona Park works.

To sum up, Tayrona Park is divided into three sectors which do not communicate with each other:

  • El Zaino / Calabazo sector
  • Neguanja (or Palangana) sector
  • Bachia Concha sector

The first few beaches in this post concern only the El Zaino / Calabazo sector. At the end of the post, you’ll find the beaches of the Neguanje and Bahia Choncha sectors.

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona National Park: the ultimate guide
Play in Tayrona Park

Swimming in Tayrona Park

There is no lifeguard surveillance of the beaches in Tayrona Park, so swimming is “at the traveller’s own risk”.

The presence of waves and strong currents on many Tayrona Park beaches makes swimming dangerous. There are, however, some specific beaches surrounded by a coral reef forming a lagoon that lends itself to safe swimming.

Beaches in the El Zaino – Calabazo area

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona Park

This is the best-known part of Tayrona Park, and the one most people visit. The entrance is easily reached by bus, then you walk through the jungle from beach to beach.

There are two separate entrances (El Zaino and Calabazo), so you can make a circuit and not necessarily enter and exit at the same point.

List of beaches in the El Zaino sector :

  • Cañaveral (closest to the El Zaino entrance)
  • Arrecifes
  • La Arenilla
  • Punta Las Gaviotas
  • La piscina
  • Cabo San Juan
  • Playa nudista
  • Playa Brava (closest to Calabazo entrance)

Disclaimer: we apologize in advance for any grammatical or syntactic errors, as our native language is not English (we're a Colombian-French couple), so we hope you'll forgive us and still enjoy the information we share with you! Please note that all the information on our blog is based on our own experience, and is checked and updated regularly.

Cañaveral

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona National Park: the ultimate guide
credit luis alveart

Cañaveral is the first beach accessible inside Tayrona Park from the El Zaino entrance. Cañaveral beach is accessible either on foot from the park entrance via a path through the forest, or by shuttle bus for a few pesos.

There is a campsite and ecolodges.

General info

  • Area : El Zaino / Calabazo
  • Infrastructure : Accommodation, restaurant
  • Swimming : dangerous

ACCESS DISTANCES

  • Cañaveral <-> El Zaino entrance = 4.5 km (shuttle)
  • Cañaveral <-> Arrecifes = 3.5 km (45 min – 1h)
  • Cañaveral <-> Calabazo entrance = 15.5 km (4h30 – 5h30)

Arrecifes

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona National Park: the ultimate guide

Arrecifes is reached by taking the main coastal path, arriving on a magnificent beach where the sea is also dangerous.

Various types of accommodation are available.

General info

  • Area : El Zaino / Calabazo
  • Infrastructure : Accommodation, restaurant
  • Swimming : dangerous

ACCESS DISTANCES

  • Arrecifes <-> El Zaino entrance = 8 km (45 min – 1h)
  • Arrecifes <-> Cañaveral = 3.5 km (45 min – 1h)
  • Arrecifes <-> La Arenilla = 0.5 km (10 min)
  • Arrecifes <-> Calabazo Entrance = 11.5 km (4h – 4h30)

La Arenilla

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona National Park: the ultimate guide
credit: sergejf

La Arenilla is a tiny, paradise-like beach with calm waters just beyond Arrecifes.

General info

  • Area : El Zaino / Calabazo
  • Infrastructures : none
  • Swimming : safe

ACCESS DISTANCES

  • La Arenilla <-> El Zaino entrance = 8 km (40 min – 1h)
  • La Arenilla <-> Arrecifes = 0.5 km (10 min)
  • La Arenilla <-> Punta Las Gaviotas = 1 km (20 min )
  • La Arenilla <-> Calabazo Entrance = 11.5 km (4h – 4h30)

Punta Las Gaviotas

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona National Park: the ultimate guide
credit: tartahc

Punta Las Gaviotas is located just before arriving at La Piscina, a small cove protected by the same reef as La Piscina and therefore open to swimming.

General info

  • Area : El Zaino / Calabazo
  • Infrastructures : none
  • Swimming : safe

ACCESS DISTANCES

  • Punta Las Gaviotas <-> El Zaino entrance = 9.5 km (1h – 1h30)
  • Punta Las Gaviotas <-> La Arenilla = 1 km (20 min)
  • Punta Las Gaviotas <-> La Piscina = 0.1 km (5 min )
  • Punta Las Gaviotas <-> Calabazo Entrance = 10.5 km (3h – 3h30)

La Piscina

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona National Park: the ultimate guide
credit: Serge JF

La Piscina is a small lagoon with a very calm, clear sea. The beach is protected by a strip of coral reefs that shield it from waves and currents. As its name suggests, it’s the “swimming pool” of the Tayrona park, so there are no safety issues here, and it’s an ideal spot for snorkelling.

General info

  • Area : El Zaino / Calabazo
  • Infrastructure : Juice kiosk
  • Swimming : safe

ACCESS DISTANCES

  • La Piscina <-> El Zaino entrance = 9.5 km (1h – 1h30)
  • La Piscina <-> Arrecifes = 1.5 km (20 – 30 min)
  • La Piscina <-> Cabo San Juan = 1.5 km (20 – 30 min )
  • La Piscina <-> Calabazo Entrance = 10.5 km (3h – 3h30)

Cabo San Juan

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona National Park: the ultimate guide
credit: Florent Melchain

Cabo San Juan de Guia is THE best-known beach in Tayrona Park, and it certainly lives up to its reputation. A little paradise for the eyes, it consists of two small bays surrounded by coconut palms, separated by a rocky promontory where a palm-roofed hut sits enthroned.

The beach at Cabo San Juan is safe for swimming, as long as you don’t venture out to sea from the promontory: we witnessed a drowning there..

General Info

  • Area : El Zaino / Calabazo
  • Infrastructure : Campsite, cabins, restaurant
  • Swimming : take care

ACCESS DISTANCES

  • Cabo San Juan <-> El Zaino entrance =11 km (1h30 – 2h)
  • Cabo San Juan <-> La Piscina = 1.5 km (20 – 30 min )
  • Cabo San Juan <-> Playa Brava = 6km (2h – 2h30)
  • Cabo San Juan <-> Entrée Calabazo = 9 km (3h – 3h30)

Playa Nudista

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona National Park: the ultimate guide
credit: luis alveart

Playa Nudista is, as its name suggests, a nudist beach! Yes, it is. Located right next to Cabo San Juan, Playa Nudista is a little less crowded than El Cabo, of course… good deal!

General info

  • Area : El Zaino / Calabazo
  • Infrastructures : none
  • Swimming : dangerous

ACCESS DISTANCES

  • Playa Nudista <-> El Zaino entrance = 12 km (2h – 2h30)
  • Playa Nudista <-> Cabo San Juan = 500 m (10 min)
  • Playa Nudista <-> Calabazo entrance = 9 km (2h – 2h30)

Playa Brava

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona National Park: the ultimate guide

Playa Brava is a beautiful beach isolated from the rest of the world, but where the currents are also dangerous. It offers self-catering accommodation. Playa Brava can be reached directly from the Calabazo entrance, but also from Cabo San Juan: if you take the road to Calabazo, a fork leads around Pueblito to Playa Brava.

General info

  • Area : El Zaino / Calabazo
  • Infrastructure : Accommodation / Restaurant
  • Swimming : dangerous

ACCESS DISTANCES

  • Playa Brava <-> El Zaino entrance = 17 km (4h – 4h30)
  • Playa Brava <-> Cabo San Juan = 6 km (2h – 2h30)
  • Playa Brava <-> Calabazo entrance = 8 km (3h – 3h30)

The most beautiful beaches in the Neguanje (or Palangana) area

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona Park

All the beaches in the Neguanje (or Palangana) sector are accessible either by road from the Palangana / Neguanje entrance, or by sea from Santa Marta or Taganga.

List of beaches in the Neguanje (or Palangana) area :

  • Bahia Neguanje
  • Gayraca
  • Playa Cristal
  • Playa Cinto
  • Siete Olas

Difficult access

The tracks leading to the beaches of the Neguanje sector from the Palangana entrance are in poor condition. It would appear that conventional cabs are now reluctant to take tourists because of the state of the roads.

While it’s possible to reach the Palangana entrance junction by bus, it’s difficult to find transport once you’re there to continue on to the beaches.

To reach the beaches of Neguanje by road, you’ll need private 4×4 transport, or find organized day tours, or negotiate with a driver in Santa Marta.

For access by sea, you can either ask at your hotel or go to the Santa Marta marina to find out about possible departures to the beaches in the Neguanje sector.

Bahia Neguanje

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona National Park: the ultimate guide

The beach at Bahia Neguanje is not exceptional, but you can still swim and snorkel there. Above all, it’s a good spot to head off to other beaches in the area, such as Playa Cristal or Bahia Cinto, for a short extra lancha ride.

General info

  • Area : Neguanje
  • Infrastructure : parking, restaurants, beach chairs..
  • Swimming : safe

Gayraca

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona National Park: the ultimate guide
credit : Diana Acosta

Located between Bahia Concha and Bahia Neguanje, Gayraca (or Gairaca) is a little-visited beach, but thanks to the presence of coral, you can snorkel and see some pretty fish.

From Gayraca beach, paths lead to small hidden beaches, also accessible by lancha, such as Playa del amor, Playa Hermosa and Playa Amalfi. By lancha, you can also get to Playa del medio… in short, there’s plenty to do to find peace and quiet!

General Info

  • Area : Neguanje
  • Infrastructures : none, bring your own food/drink (take your garbage with you)
  • Swimming : safe

Playa Cristal

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona National Park: the ultimate guide

We’ll tell you more about Playa Cristal here, but quickly Playa Cristal is one of the best-known beaches in Tayrona Park. As for the others, here you can only get there by lancha.

There’s a restaurant on site for lunch. A coral reef is right on the edge, making it easy to snorkel and enjoy the multicolored fish.

General info

  • Area : Neguanje
  • Infrastructure : Restaurants, beach chairs..
  • Swimming : safe

Bahia Cinto

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona National Park: the ultimate guide
credit: felipe lozano

Bahia Cinto is one of the most beautiful beaches in Tayrona Park, and also one of the quietest. The golden sand contrasts with the vegetation. The clear waters are ideal for snorkelling and enjoying the marine life.

We were told that it was possible to spend the night there by reserving a hammock in advance, but we don’t have much more information on the subject… in any case, you’ll need to bring everything you need to eat, as there are no facilities on site. It’s up to you to find out!

General info

  • Area : Neguanje
  • Infrastructure : none, bring your own food/drink (take your garbage with you)
  • Swimming : safe

Siete Olas

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona National Park: the ultimate guide
credit: juan pablo

Near Bahia Neguanje, on the road, you may come across a beach called Siete Olas, due to the unchanging rhythm of its waves, which arrive in succession of 7… be warned, however, that this is a dangerous beach and swimming is forbidden.

General info

  • Area : Neguanje
  • Infrastructures : none, bring your own food/drink (take your garbage with you)
  • Swimming : dangerous

Beaches in the Bahia Concha area

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona Park

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona National Park: the ultimate guide

Located on a private estate on the edge of Parc Tayrona, you have to pay an entrance fee to get to Bahia Concha beach. Last I heard, the price was $5000 COP. Once there, you can pay for a lancha to go snorkelling on the surrounding beaches.

This is the closest beach to Santa Marta in the park. To get there, take a buseta from “Bastidas” (Avenida 5ta and 14) to the end of the line, then take a motorcycle or cab to the end of the road. Be careful not to miss the last bus back around 5 p.m.

General info

  • Area : Bahia Concha
  • Infrastructure : parking, restaurants, beach chairs..
  • Swimming : safe

Tayrona National Park Guide

The most beautiful beaches in Tayrona Park

If you would like to be accompanied by a guide to discover Tayrona Park and learn more about its unique ecosystem, flora and fauna, please contact our local partner.

This is your chance to talk to a passionate local guide, and not just walk through Tayrona Park without realizing its ecological, historical and cultural importance!

Contact

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To directly contact Adrian, our local partner in Santa Marta, you can use the form below. You won’t pay more, but it will let him know you’re coming from us.

IMPORTANT: If you don’t hear from our partner within 72 hours, please check your SPAMS first before contacting us.

Where to stay in Tayrona Park

There are several options for accommodation in or near the entrances to Tayrona Park, ranging from camping to ecolodges.

Campsite

Castillete campsite
Located on the beach in Cañaveral

Camping Don Pedro
Located in the forest near Arrecifes

EcoCamping LUI
Located near the beach in Arrecifes

Camping Bermudez
Located near the beach in Arrecifes

Camping cabo San Juan
Located on the beach of Cabo San Juan

Other accommodations inside Tayrona Park

Check the location, some are situated between the Zaino entrance and Cañaveral, another is in Playa Brava, another is totally isolated between Playa Brava and Playa Cristal.

Inside, Tayrona Park, the best hotels

Posada Yachay Tayrona

Eco Lodge

Posada Yachay Tayrona

Double room : $200.000 to $250.000 COP

Luxury accommodation in the heart of Tayrona Park. Situated 1km from the El Zaino entrance but on a hill, it offers a sublime view of the surrounding mountains.

Inside, Tayrona Park, the best hotels

Hostal Wachakyta

Hostal

Hostal Wachakyta

Dormitory : $50.000 to $100.000/Double room : $250.000 to $300.000 COP

Please note that the hostel is only accessible by boat. Camping and dormitory-style services at rather high prices, due to the idyllic and isolated setting. You can eat on site, of course.

Inside, Tayrona Park, the best hotels

Hostal Teyumakke

Eco Lodge

Hostal Teyumakke

Double room : $150.000 to $200.000 COP

Hostal Teyumakke is located inside the park, entering from Calabazo, after a fairly demanding 8km hike (it’s also possible to get there on horseback). Rudimentary wooden huts with palm-fringed roofs, right on the beach, but perfect for disconnecting from the world! (No wifi)

Inside, Tayrona Park, the best hotels

Posada Jasayma

Eco Lodge

Posada Jasayma

Double room : $100.000 to $150.000 COP

One of the few “hard” accommodation options inside Tayrona Park, a 15-minute walk from the El Zaino entrance. The attentive staff provide a haven of peace in the middle of the jungle, including meals with veggie options.

Other accommodation outside Tayrona Park

It is also possible to sleep outside the park, close to the entrances, if you only wish to spend a day inside (please note closing times – 5pm)

Close to entrance, Tayrona Park, the best hotels

Yuluka Hostel

Hostal

Yuluka Hostel

Dormitory : $25.000 to $50.000/Double room : $150.000 to $200.000 COP

Located around 5 minutes by bus from the main “El Zaino” entrance to Tayrona Park (bus every 15 minutes), Eco hostal Yukula is a green setting with swimming pool, hammocks, dormitories or rooms in lodge-style cabins.

Close to entrance, Tayrona Park, the best hotels

Hostal Manigua

Hostal

Hostal Manigua

Dormitory : $25.000 to $50.000/Double room : $100.000 to $150.000 COP

At the Calabazo entrance, a superb hostal, a little more expensive than the campsite but still relatively accessible. Accommodation ranges from dormitories to lovely double rooms, with a jungle atmosphere and swimming pool.

Close to entrance, Tayrona Park, the best hotels

Playa Los Angeles

Camping, Eco Lodge

Playa Los Angeles

Double room : $150.000 to $200.000 COP

A semi-private beach 5 minutes from the entrance to Tayrona Park, offering ecolodges and glamping tents on the beach… Recommended.

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Authors

Angélica & Samuel

We are Angélica and Samuel, a French-Colombian couple, professional photographers and web editors specializing in travel to Colombia. We created this blog to change the image of the country, help you prepare your trip and inspire you to discover Colombia in a different way!

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