All you need to know about visiting Tayrona National Park as a solo traveller

All You Need to Know About Visiting Tayrona National Park as a Solo Traveller

In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about visiting Tayrona National Park in Colombia as a solo traveller. How to get there, where to stay, what to see in Tayrona and much more!


Tayrona National Park is on top of every traveller’s Colombia itinerary. And for a good reason. It is called a nature sanctuary, and walking down its trails and discovering its tranquil beaches truly feels like a sacred experience.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VISITING TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK AS A SOLO TRAVELLER

Tayrona Park is quickly becoming Colombia’s most visited turist destination, but luckily there is a lot of effort put into preserving its natural beauty and sacredness. I was truly looking forward to staying for a night in Tayrona but as a solo female traveller I also wanted to learn beforehand, everything that would make my stay enjoyable, safe and memorable.

There are many aspects to visiting Tayrona Park, like choosing where to stay for the night, what to pack, where to eat, which trails to take and so on. So I will cover it all in this article, including my personal opinion on whether Tayrona Park is worth the hype.

Is Tayrona National Park Worth Visiting?

A short answer is – Definitely!

Tayrona National Park is worth visiting for both, glorious unspoiled beaches as well as spectacular jungle hikes!

The hike across the lush forest is incredible. You will have the opportunity to see many species of fauna and flora that you wouldn’t be able to encounter otherwise. Although many travellers visit Tayrona Park for the famous Cabo San Juan beach, there is much more to Tayrona Park.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VISITING TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK AS A SOLO TRAVELLER

What Are the Highlights of Tayrona National Park

Tayrona National Park is famous for its pristine beaches and glorious waters as well as the spectacular jungle walk to get there. 

The most popular way of visiting Tayrona Park is by spending a night in the park and hiking between a few of its famous beaches. 

For me, a hike towards Cabo San Juan was a definite highlight!

I very much enjoyed a swim at the Piscinita Beach and, of course, sunset over Cabo San Juan and spending a night in the camp sleeping in the hammock! 

All you need to know about visiting Tayrona National Park as a solo traveller

However …

I must admit – the experience still felt slightly commercial.

As long as I was walking the trail and admiring its less popular beaches – I absolutely loved it!

The nature and wildlife in Tayrona Park are astonishing. The most beautiful colourful butterflies, lizards, monkeys and some crawling animals I didn’t recognize. Incredible species of birds. The trek is terrific. I really liked the beaches I visited on my way, and I had my packed breakfast at Arecifes Beach.

But as I arrived at Cabo San Juan, I had mixed feelings. I arrived just after midday, and the camp was already full of people who arrived from Taganga on a boat and the remainder of last night’s visitors and a new load that included me, of course.

The first stretch of the beach, the one that is immediately accessible as you enter, was a little underwhelming. Yet, as I walked further, things got much better. The beach is beautiful, and the water is divine to swim in. But excess human bodies make everything a little bit less attractive.

On Cabo San Juan beach, there is a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner at pretty overpriced rates. I refused to pay 20.000 COP for scrambled eggs. But there are a few other, street-food-like options as well, and many visitors pack their own lunch.

Once all the visitors that arrived just for the day had left, the beach became a true paradise. The water was divine to swim in, and it was a great camping experience.

If I did it again I would probably camp or stay at another beach in Tayrona Park just like I have seen some other travellers do.  Next time 😉

But let’s get to some practical tips!

How To Visit Tayrona National Park?

Most travellers choose to stay at Tayrona for a night and this is the most popular way of visiting the park. Given there is quite a bit of walking involved and there are few gorgeous beaches to visit, staying overnight is the best choice.

Yet considering you will most likely sleep in a hammock and will walk for quite a bit, it’s best to leave your main luggage or backpack elsewhere. This is why the best way to visit Tayrona National Park is to stay near the park for a couple of days, leave your luggage at the hostel or hotel and venture to Tayrona Park just with your small backpack.

The majority of hostels in the area will happily store your backpack for a night without a charge if only you book at least one night with them.

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How Many Days Should You Spend in Tayrona National Park?

I definitely think that one day in Tayrona Park is a waste of time, effort and money.

The hike can be a bit tiring given the heat and humidity; therefore, spending at least one night in Tayrona Park is the best option.

By spending a night in Tayrona Park, you will give yourself enough time to take a rest after the hike, properly explore the area, experience the incredible sunset and see this beautiful place in a more tranquil setting after the day-trippers have gone.

I took my time walking back the next day. As I left pretty early to avoid the heat, I had enough time to stop at the Piscinita beach for a swim, stop at the restaurant for refreshing watermelon juice and coffee and take more pictures of the beautiful Tayrona Park during my hike.

I also really enjoyed the experience of sleeping in the hammock and waking up early to watch the sunrise.

What’s more, given the cost of the Tayrona National Park entrance, staying there for only a few hours is really not worth it given the gate closes at 5 pm.

Some travellers even opt for a two-night stay often starting from the Calabazo entrance, hiking to Playa Brava on the first day and moving to Cabo San Juan on the second day. 

But If you choose the Zaino entrance- one night is plenty. 

Best Areas to Stay for Travel to Tayrona National Park

There are several locations you could choose from if you want to visit Tayrona National Park. Many visitors choose Santa Marta or Palomino as their base.

However, I believe that there are many advantages to staying closer to the Park. Firstly, you can arrive as early as you need to, without stress and hassle and often without even having to use public transportation.

Staying on the outskirts of Tayrona also gives you a slightly different perspective on coastal life, and allows you to really get the feel of the Colombian Caribbean.

Here are all the possible options to set your base to see that Tayrona National Park

Santa Marta

Santa Marta is a very popular option to stay if you want to visit the Tayrona Park. From Santa Marta, you can visit Tayrona Park, but also arrange a trip to Minca and other beautiful places – all from one place.

It all depends on how much time you have available. If you want to see as much as possible in a short time, Santa Marta is probably the best option.

I also really like Santa Marta. It’s a great, vibrant and colourful town with the best sunsets, a great relaxed feel and fantastic restaurants and nightlife. 

SANTA MARTA – A NEW BEST DESTINATION FOR DIGITAL NOMADS IN COLOMBIA Hiking in Minca

How to get to Tayrona Park from Santa Marta

The best way to get to Tayrona Park from Santa Marta is by local bus. You can get one from in front of the municipal market. Those are blue urban buses that go to Palomino. The ticket costs 15000 COP, and the journey will take around 45 minutes. 

Taking the coastal bus from Santa Marta is an experience in itself.

There are no actual bus stops on this route. The bus stops where it is needed, i.e. when a person on the street waves it over or when you ask to get off. So it’s important to keep your destination in mind. Keep Google Maps open and tell the driver assistant exactly where you need to get out. Tell it the name of the hostel or simply ask for Tayrona Park Entrada and it will stop there for you.

There are always two guys operating the bus. One is obviously the driver, and the other dude is literally hanging out the door most of the time while trying to get people on or help with bags. He also collects the money from you once you have sat down.

These buses are not air-conditioned. And believe me, it’s bloody hot! All the windows and doors are left open all the time to let some air in. At some stops, vendors come in and offer various snacks. Sometimes the bus driver stops to grab a cup of coffee from a lady standing in the middle of the road with a thermos.

But what is most important if only you look a little bit lost, there will always be someone offering help. Asking where you are going, which hostel or which place, and they will let you and the driver know when is the time to get off! So hop on and enjoy!

Taganga

Taganga – The most popular way to visit Tayrona National Park from Taganga is by speed boat. This is a pretty adventurous way to visit Tayrona and, in my opinion, has few drawbacks.

The ride is over 30 minutes long and can get pretty rough. Most importantly, the return ride is around 4 p.m., so you will only be able to see Cabo San Juan at its peak and pack full of tourists. It will definitely feel very touristy and rushed.

It is, however, a great option if you are short on time and cannot spare an extra day to spend a night in the park.

It is very easy to find the boat to Tayrona National Park in Taganga. The leaves daily between 9:30 and 10:30, right from the Taganga beach. The trip cost around 100.000 COP return, but please note that you will not be paying the Tayrona park entry fee with this trip.

Zaino

Zaino – Zaino is the location of the main Tayrona Park entrance, and you will find quite a few nice hostels in this area. There is a lot to like about this place. Be prepared, though – this place is far from the city and all its conveniences. 

It was the first time I spent the night in an actual Caribbean hostel with parts of the wall replaced by nets and set in the middle of lush countryside with all the perks and scares that come with it. I spent far too much time in the evening just laying in my hammock, right next to the river listening to all sounds of nature and contemplating life.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VISITING TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK

I fought with a giant moth at night, eventually gave up and went to sleep outside in the hammock where it wouldn’t be flapping its wings above my face. I woke up to a family of mini bats making a home in the outside canopy of my room. I wasn’t even paying attention to the lizards crawling my walls anymore.

But I have also seen Guacamaya sitting on a branch right behind me, which was one of the best experiences ever!

The village is very relaxed. You will find a few tiendas (local shops) and some places to eat, with the best place being Coconuts restaurant. The food was delicious and the service was very friendly. They also make really lush Cuba Libre. Just opposite the Coconuts, on the other side of the street, you will find a small bar where you can sip on a Michelada and watch crazy motorbike riders passing by. All the life is happening along the main road. Life is slow, kids run around barefoot, and it feels like no one has anywhere to go.

It’s a good option to choose a hostel with a pool, but there is also a river running behind the main road, which is a very popular refreshing stop.

From my hostel, I could walk to Tayrona National Park, and it took me 20 minutes. I stayed in Casa Kankui and was very happy with the choice.

Los Naranjos/Los Cocos

Los Naranjos/Los Cocos – Los Naranjos is another great option to stay for the trip to Tayrona National Park. It is, however, around 45 45-minute walk to the entrance thus you might want to take a bus. But by now, you will be pretty familiar with those buses! The added bonus of this location is Los Naranjos beach! This is one of my favourite spots on the Colombian coast. Very much off the beaten path, absolutely stunning and tranquil and paradise-like!

I stayed there for four days, two of which were dedicated to the Tayrona Park trip, and the remaining I spent relaxing on the beach and working (as much as I could force myself to)

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VISITING TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK

I stayed in Juancho Hostel and Coworking, and I definitely would recommend it. It’s a cute little hostel with air conditioning and a desk in each room in case you want to work. The food is delicious, and a couple of hosts are some of the friendliest people I have met! It is located just across the street from Naranjos Beach and 5 5-minute bus ride from Tayrona entrance.

Mendihuaca and Costeno Beach

Mendihuaca and Costeno Beach – This place is on another level! Both Costeno Beach and Mendihuaca are not just great places to make a base for the Tayrona Park trip. It is a great place to stay, full stop.

I originally wanted to stay at Costeno Hostel, but this place is becoming more and more popular, so you need to book your stay well in advance. Instead, I booked an eco-hostel in neighbouring Medihuaca, which is 20 minutes beach walk from Costeno. And I think this is probably the best option. It is much closer to the main road where you will be able to catch the bus to Tayrona Park, but also this is the closest to paradise I have found on the whole of the Colombian Caribbean coast.

I stayed at the Paraiso Eco Hostal and loved it!

Mendihuaca - Hidden Paradise on the Colombian Coast

Costeno Beach Is a great place to stay if you want to combine a visit to Tayrona National Park with super relaxation and the party vibe of a beachfront hostel. In fact, a friend of mine liked it so much that he decided to take on a volunteering job and stayed for a whole month.

Mendihuaca, on the contrary, is a tranquil beach 20 minutes walk from Costeno, dotted with eco hostels and with beautiful river entering the sea and offering excellent bathing and kayaking opportunities. I totally fell in love with Mendihuaca, and I decided to write a separate post about it.

Palomino

Palomino – Although it does take around 45 to get from Palomino to Tayrona National Park, many visitors decide to make Palomino a base for their Tayrona trip. And you can’t blame them, really. Palomino is known for being one of the hippiest towns in Colombia, and it is a great town to stay in for more than just a few days.

Things to do in Palomino / Visiting Tayrona National Park
Palomino / Visiting Tayrona National Park

In order to get to Tayrona National Park from Palomino, you will have to take the return bus to Santa Marta from the main road in Palomino and ask the driver to drop you off at the Tayrona entrance. The ticket shouldn’t cost more than 8000 COP, and the journey will last around 45 minutes.

Best Hostels Around Tayrona National Park

Hostels in Colombia are amazing and some of the most epic hostels in Colombia are located near Tayrona Park. 

The four best options are Costeno Beach Hostel, Journey Hostel, El Rio Buritaca and Viajero. If you want to meet some other travellers and find a company for your Tayrona trip – staying in one of those hostels will make it really easy. 

How to Enter Tayrona National Park?

There are few ways to enter Tayrona National Park, but there are two official entrances. 

El Zaino and Calabazo, with El Zaino being the most popular one. This is also the entrance I recommend, especially if this is your first visit to Tayrona National Park and travelling solo. The trek from El Zaino is easy to follow, and it’s easy to meet other travellers on the way. Having said that, the trail can get pretty busy. 

El Zaino is easily accessible from the main road and gives the best access to all the most popular beaches, as well as Cabo San Juan and an overnight camp. From the El Zaino entrance, you will also have the option to take a horse ride all the way to Cabo San Juan.

You can also access Tayrona Park for a day by boat from Taganga, which will give you a few hours to visit and will allow you to avoid the entrance fees. 

If you decide to visit for the second time and want to see more remote beaches and experience a bit more of a challenging trek, enter via the Calabazo entrance. This is a much less popular entrance hence there is a greater possibility you will meet much fewer travellers and tourists. From Calabazo, you can hike to more remote Playa Brava, and if you are an avid hiker and want to stay in Tayrona for more than one night – this is your entrance. 

In comparison, it takes around 1.5 hours to get to Cabo San Juan from El Zaino and under 4 hours from Calabazo. 

Please note that if you are thinking of choosing the Calabazo entrance in order to visit Pueblito (the indigenous people’s village), this is no longer possible. At the request of the indigenous communities, the village has been closed to visitors.

Also, I have not personally done this trek, but I have heard many opinions that this route is hard and unsuitable for solo travellers. I would recommend that you do this trek in a company or with a guide.

I am happy to hear any opinions of hikers who actually walked this trek recently so that I can update this post accordingly.

How Much Does it Cost to Visit Tayrona National Park (Full Breakdown)

Entrance Fees and Charges

The Tayrona National Park entrance cost varies depending on the time of the year and whether you are a Colombian resident. I will provide prices for foreign nationals but for full a price breakdown you can visit Tayrona National Park official website.

Here is the full breakdown (prices in COP) (Updated May 2024)

Tayrona National Park entrance fees during peak season (June 15 to July 15 – December 15 to January 30 – Thursday to Holy Sunday – Weekends with Holiday Bridge

  • The entrance fee for foreign Nationals is 87,000 COP

Tayrona National Park entrance fees during off-peak season 

  • Foreign nationals 73.500 COP

Important Closure Notice: 

Be aware that every year from February 1 to 15, June 1 to 15 and October 19 to November 2,
Tayrona Park remains closed.

In addition to the entrance fee, it is obligatory to purchase insurance which costs 6.000 COP per day – this is obligatory regardless of whether you have already purchased the insurance elsewhere.

After crossing the gate and purchasing the tickets, I recommend taking a shuttle to the actual beginning of the trek. I would say, don’t be a hero and just take the shuttle. It is scorching hot and humid in the park, and you will walk plenty. Also, if you are in a hurry to book your overnight stay or hammock – taking a shuttle will save you a lot of time. The shuttle costs 5.000COP one way.

Gates to Tayrona National Park open at 8 am and close at 5 pm.

Try to arrive at Tayrona Park as early as you can. The queues, especially on the weekends can get massive and you really don’t want to waste 3 hours of your day standing in line. 

Don’t be surprised if your bag will be checked at the entrance. This is a normal procedure as some objects like plastic bags are not allowed in the park. 

Also, be sure to bring your passport with you as you will need it for the registration!

I have exciting news to share with you, my travel friends!

I have just launched my own Backpacking and Budget Solo Travellers FB Group and I would love you to join me there! Travellers of all budgets and ages are welcome! I would like to create a community where we share tips and experiences and where you could ask me all travel and budget backpacking related questions!

I hope to see you there! Pati

Sleeping at Cabo San Juan Tayrona Park

If you are planning on spending the night at Cabo San Juan, I highly recommend booking and paying for your hammock or tent at the entrance. Both hammocks and tents get booked pretty quickly, and the last thing you want is to arrive at the destination and find out you have nowhere to sleep.

Once your hammock or tent is booked, you can take your time hiking, exploring and taking as many breaks as you want, while those who didn’t book would rush to the camp. It’s a no-brainer.

All you need to know about visiting Tayrona National Park as a solo traveller
All you need to know about visiting Tayrona National Park – My bed for the night 🙂

The price for a hammock is 40,000 COP on the ground and 50.000 at the ‘top’ – a hill with a view. 

Tents cost 140,000 COP for a larger 2-person tent, or 70,000 COP for a smaller tent for one person. You can also bring your own.

There are lockers available around the camping ground in Cabo San Juan as well as many other camping sites in Tayrona Park. Be sure to bring your own padlock.

Food and drinks in Tayrona National Park

Food and drinks in Tayrona National Park are on the pricier side.

You will find a few small restaurants and snack shops on the way to Cabo San Juan, and at the Cabo, you will find a decent-sized restaurant serving pretty good food and natural juices.

Please note food and drink at Tayrona Park is pretty expensive. The meal at Cabo San Juan ranges between 25.000 and 50.000.

Many visitors bring their own food. I personally refused to pay 20,000 COP for scrambled eggs and instead purchased Tayrona bread filled with onion and spinach for 10,000 COP. It was delicious and filled me for the whole return journey. You will also be able to buy empanadas and sandwiches on the beach.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VISITING TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK

Different Options for an Overnight Stay Inside of Tayrona National Park

There are a few areas around Tayrona National Park where visitors can spend the night.

Camping/Hammocks at Cabo San Juan

  • The most popular is Cabo San Juan, where most travellers will stay either in a tent or a hammock (what I did). I really enjoyed sleeping in the hammock. Lounging or sleeping in the hammock became my new hobby while in Colombia! I have heard that tents can get pretty hot during the day, while a hammock is a perfect place for an afternoon or a midday nap. Just saying 🙂

Hammocks are comfortable enough, and there is a decent distance between them, so although you are sharing the space with strangers, it still feels pretty private.

You will be given a locker to store your belongings (bring a padlock!), and there are pretty good shower facilities at Cabo San Juan.

If you are a solo traveller, I think staying at Cabo San Juan is the best option, as the area is always full of people and feels very safe at night.

Arrecife Beach

For visitors looking for a cheaper and quieter option, there is Arrecife Beach and the surrounding area. You will have a few options at Arrecife. 

You can stay at the cabin, which can be booked online or at the campsite, where you can rent a tent or park your own. This camp looked pretty good, and there were a couple of small restaurants where you could get breakfast. This could be a great option if you travel in a group, yet as a single traveller, I preferred staying at a bit busier location.

Although Arrecife is a beautiful beach, swimming there isn’t possible as it is the most dangerous beach in Tayrona Park. If you opt to stay in this area, you will need to walk to La Piscina or Cabo San Juan for a dip.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VISITING TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK - ARRECIFES CAMP
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VISITING TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK – ARRECIFES CAMP

Ecohabs Tayrona at Cañaveral Beach

If you fancy a luxury stay at Tayrona Park, you can choose to stay at Eco Hubs Tayrona. Ecohabs Tayrona consists of 14 huts inspired by the indigenous constructions of the ancient Tayrona tribe, based on wood, with high roofs, which are covered with palm leaves, to reach an ideal temperature. They are located at Cañaveral beach, therefore a bit far from other beaches. Also an excellent option for a more extended stay.

Camping at Castilletes

Castilletes is a camp and hub located just before the start of the main Tayrona trek. It is pretty far from the main beaches, and you will need to walk the length of the hike daily to reach Cabo San Juan and then back. It is probably a great option if you plan to stay at the park for more than one night.

Make sure to let the shuttle driver know that this is where you are staying so he will stop at the camp.#

Playa Brava (Teyumakke camp)

Playa Brava (Teyumakke camp) is definitely a less mainstream and more remote location, nevertheless, a great option to spend the night in Tayrona Park, especially if you are an independent adventure seeker.

This camp offers a beautiful location, and the camp offers excellent facilities. 

You will be able to swim at Playa Brava, and you will have the option to sleep in the elevated eco-hub, hammock or bring your own tent. There are showers, toilets and a restaurant on the site. 

The price of a hammock at Teyumakke Camp Playa Brava is 35.000 COP, which includes a mosquito net and a blanket

There are also many camping options within Tayrona Park and I have seen many visitors bringing their own tents. There are dedicated camping areas within Tayrona Park and you can check those in this post. 

Things To Do in Tayrona National Park

Hiking at Tayrona National Park

If you choose the El Zaino entrance you will start your Tayrona visit with an incredible El Zaino trek.

You will hike through the tropical forest and appreciate the incredible wild fauna and flora of the park.

If you start your trip from Calabaza entry, your first destination will be Playa Brava – a beautiful and secluded piece of paradise. This hike is meant to be pretty challenging. Many hikers opt for a two-night stay from this entrance and, after spending the night at Playa Brava, continue towards Cabo San Juan the next day. This option is definitely for more experienced hikers.

All you need to know about visiting Tayrona National Park as a solo traveller

Explore all Tayrona National Park Beaches

Even though Colombia is not most famous for its beaches, the Tayrona Park offers a pristine and paradise-like experience. What’s more, you can actually swim at some beaches, which is not always the case at most of the beaches on the Colombian Caribbean coast.

If you are looking for white sand, blue sea and an adventurous hiking experience in Colombia – Tayrona National Park has it all and is definitely worth a visit.

Here are the beaches in Tayrona National Park you should visit:

Castilletes – a wild beach not suitable for swimming but great for camping or a pit stop during your hike! This is the first beach you will see during your hike from El Zaino entrance.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VISITING TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK AS A SOLO TRAVELLER

Arrecifes – it is said to be the most dangerous beach in Tayrona Park and very much not suitable for swimming. But it is one of the most beautiful wild beaches so don’t miss it!

La Piscina Beach – If you are hiking from the park’s main entrance, this is where you will be able to have your first dip. I really like this beach and loved having a refreshing swim there!

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VISITING TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK AS A SOLO TRAVELLER

Playa Brava – a beautiful and secluded piece of paradise, best reached from the Calabazo entrance.

Cabo San Juan – the most famous beach in Tayrona Park. It gets very crowded, but if you stay here for the night, you will truly appreciate it once all the day trippers have left.

An Ultimate Guide to Solo Female Travel in Colombia / All You Need to Know (2021)

Playa Cristal – very popular day trip from Santa Marta or Tagagnga but this beach cannot be reached on foot.

Meet the Indigenous Kogui People

Tayrona National Park is also home to 4 different indigenous ethnic groups. The name Tayrona originates from the name of the Tairona people – the ancient civilization that thrived in northern Colombia between 200 CE and 1600 CE.

While visiting Tayrona Park, you will be able to meet the Kogui people, selling their crafts and offering coconut water while you hike. I highly encourage you to support this community by purchasing the goods. Coconut water is very refreshing when walking in high temperatures, and you can support an ancient community at the same time. 

Kogui and their culture and heritage are fascinating. I encourage you to read about it in this post and learn about ancient civilizations before visiting places like Tayrona Park or Lost City. Your experience will be so much reacher because of that!

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VISITING TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK

What to Pack for the Tayrona National Pack Visit

Here is the list of essential and recommended items you should pack for your overnight stay and hike in Tayrona National Park

  • Passport (essential)– You will be asked for a passport when purchasing the ticket. You will not be able to enter without it. 
  • Cash (essential) – You can pay for your entry ticket by card, but this is it. Everything else is cash only. 
  • Mosquito spray/repellant (essential) – I was never the one getting bitten by mosquitos much. Until I arrived on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast. Bring good mosquito repellant, otherwise, you will get eaten alive at night. 
  • Sunscreen (essential) – Once you are out in the open space, there will be no place to hide from the sun. 
  • Padlock for the locker (essential) Those are not provided at Tayrona Park. 
  • Swimming costume – Skinny dipping is not allowed unless you are directly heading for the nudist beach (it’s an option)
  • Towel – For the beach and shower. I carry one microfibre towel, which dries quickly, is very light and is versatile. The great thing about microfibre towels is that sand doesn’t stick to them either. 
  • Power Bank: There are some charging stations located at Cabo San Juan but it offers limited access at limited times. I love not relying on those things. My power bank lasts me three whole days when I can charge my phone, camera and other electronics.
  • Torch or headlamp – for the night trips to the bathroom. There is also no light where the hammocks are – in case you need to access your locker or padlock combination. The phone torch would probably do, but I dropped my phone in the sea on the first day and it obviously died on me. I couldn’t be more grateful for the head torch I take with me on all trips. It’s a great reading lamp too!
  • Book – There I no signal or internet around Tayrona Park. And accidents happen. I ended up with no phone and couldn’t be more grateful for my book! 
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush / Soap – Self-explanatory
  • A big bottle of water and snacks – Don’t overdo it, though! It’s a long hot walk, so you don’t want to carry too much. 1.5l to 2l bottle will do. Once at the park, you can refill your bottle. It’s not cheap, but there is no need to carry 5 litres on the hike. If you don’t want to eat at the restaurant or buy snacks at the stands, bring your own food. However, please keep in mind that it’s hot, and you want to make sure your supplies don’t spoil in hot weather. 
  • Warmer clothes for the night – I was pretty surprised when I got cold at night. I have never been cold at night around the Colombian Caribbean, even in the Guajira desert. I was very pleased with the long trousers and pashmina I packed for this purpose. 
  • Toilet paper – I was lucky enough not to have to find out if there is enough, but just in case there isn’t – you don’t want to be surprised!

What to Wear for Tayrona National Park Overnight Stay

It is hot and humid on the hike in Tayrona Park, and you won’t be able to escape it. I was sweating buckets all the way to Cabo. It is important you wear light, comfortable and breathable clothing. Carry as little as possible. I have seen people in flip flops, carrying two bags or a five-litre water bottle, straggling only an hour into the trek. It’s not a very difficult hike, but it is a hike on often uneven surfaces, and slippery, and you want to make it as effortless as possible. 

For the Tayrona National Park, it’s best to wear comfortable and non-slippery shoes. I don’t recommend hiking boots (it’s hot!). I recommend comfy trail runners, non-slippery trainers, or hiking sandals. I wore the latter and was very happy and comfortable. 

Breathable and comfortable clothing. Shorts and a T-shirt are fine, just make sure you are comfy. There are steps and boulders you will have to traverse. Make sure your moves are not restricted. I saw people wearing training outfits as well as girls wearing more fancy outfits (for those Insta shots, hahaha). It’s up to you and your priorities. It’s not a Kilimanjaro trek – just a hot and sweaty one. 

Rain jacket – It might rain, although, in this heat, I would rather get wet than bake in the rain jacket. I took mine, though. Never used it. 

Pack a pair of flip-flops and some sleeping gear for the camp – it’s nice to relax and change into non-sweaty clothing for the night. 


You should definitely visit Tayrona National Park if you manage to spare a couple of days. It’s an experience like no other, and you will be able to see Colombia at its best!

I will be looking forward to hearing any updates if you visited after me or took an alternative route! Please add a comment below, and I will update the post!

Until then, happy travels!

This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you purchase the product or make a booking via one of my links, I will receive a small commission. Please know that I will never recommend or promote a product I don’t believe in or haven’t used. This way, you are supporting this blog at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

Exploring more of Colombia?

Planning to discover more of the Colombian coast? I wrote posts about Rincon del Mar, Palomino, Mendihuaca and all the Colombia Caribbean coast towns. 

If you are still drafting your Colombia itinerary read my Colombia planning post!

This complete guide to Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas will prepare you for this exhilarating trip. 

Finally, if you are planning on exploring Colombia’s Coffee Region be sure to stop by Jardin as well as Salento!

4 Comments

  1. Hi. I want to go to the park, however what I really want to know as an solo female traveler with many years of travel experience and having witnessed much theft and issues:

    1. What provisions are there for safe storage of bags / rucksack so they are not stolen e.g. when staying in a hammock?
    2. Personal safety for females in a hammock and how do you sleep without risk of theft of cash/cards/passport?
    3. Is it safe to walk paths on your open, which ones have plenty of people so you are not completely alone?
    4. One major problem when alone is swimming, having to keep within sight of possessions on the beach and away from other people and being ready to leap out of the water if someone approaches them. Always easier if you can take turns to guard possessions when in a group or with a friend but a huge problem when alone! How did you or other people manage this problem?

    1. Hi Maria! There are lockers that you can use which are located right next to hammocks, just make sure you bring your own padlock. This is where I kept all my belongings. I left my main backpack at the hostel, they were happy to keep my bag for a couple of days. The park is very busy at all times, you will never walk alone, trust me! Nevertheless, Tayrona is very safe for solo female travellers if only you follow the general safety rules. Swimming was an issue for me as well and in fact, it often is. It was in Tayrona where I have drawn my phone as I used not very good phone water cover. Funny now, but not at the time. Keep your phone in a locker when you go for a swim or choose a nice family next to you to keep an eye on your belongings. It is always tricky but I have actually never had anything stolen while in Colombia. As solo travellers we need to be resourceful, it’s a price you pay for the adventure and an incredible experience of roaming around the world on your own terms! Have a wonderful time!

    1. Thank you, Olivia! I hope it will be helpful and you’ll have an amazing time! Enjoy Colombia!

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