Hey travelers! We are Ana and Indra – a couple of explorers, travelers and hammock hunters from Portugal and the Netherlands. Welcome to our blog post on Tayrona National Park – a beach paradise in Colombia.
Before we share our experience at this amazing park, let us tell you a little bit about our journey together. Ana grew up in Leiria and moved to Lisbon for her studies and to finish her masters in Biomedical Engineering. Indra, on the other hand, grew up in Rotterdam. From a young age Indra was curious about discovering new places and experiencing new activities.
Indra’s inspiration for traveling comes from his mixed background and the urge to find his “roots”. His first big overseas travel journey took him to Indonesia and after this trip, he fell in love with the idea of exploring new places, creating unique experiences and immersing in different cultures.
Ana’s inspiration for traveling came from her exchange in Italy, where she studied hard and saw more of Europe. Also, her parents helped spark this interest by taking her on many trips to faraway lands all over the world. And now, both of us love to travel and explore our beautiful planet.
We also met while traveling. It was in Vietnam on a boat trip in Cat Ba Island. After one night there, sadly we had to say our goodbyes as Ana was traveling from the north of Vietnam to the south with her friends and Indra was going in the opposite direction on his motorcycle.
At breakfast though, we found out that we had a ticket to the Philippines on the same date. We were so happy! The crazy thing was that out of all the islands in the Philippines, we flew into the same airport! The rest of our two weeks together was spent discovering all that the Philippines had to offer. It was a wonderful time and it was the perfect place to fall in love.
Sadly, as all stories go, one of us had to finish their travels as a new job was waiting for Ana in Lisbon. Ana then flew back to Portugal and Indra continued to travel – seeing more of the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. But after two months of being apart, a decision had to be made.
We were on the phone everyday, even when there was an 18 hour time difference. One day Indra told Ana: “I’m coming to Lisbon, I’m coming to you”! While living in Portugal, we worked toward our goal of being able to travel. This was because after meeting and traveling together, we knew that this was what we wanted to do. And guess what? We are still going!
A Fantastic Trip to the Colorful Colombia
Both of us always wanted to visit Colombia to experience the beauty of this country. Not only the beautiful nature but also the colonial history and the rich culture of this vast South American country. We knew that it had a lot to offer and in the end we were surprised by just how much it had to offer.
Our trip started in Cartagena where we explored the beaches and old town. Then we made our way to Santa Marta and found lovely street art/works of graffiti and of course the stunning Tayrona National Park.
One of the most memorable experiences we had was renting a motorcycle in Santa Marta and hitting the road towards Punta Gallinas, northernmost point on the mainland of South America. This meant crossing through the desert and meeting the indigenous Wayuu people who live in this area.
To ride through the desert, crossing an endless nothingness, beating sandstorms and the heat was an unforgettable experience! And at the end you will see where the desert meets the ocean. What a view it was!
We also visited Bogota and Medellin – two enormous cities that had a bustling city vibe but also areas within each city where you wouldn’t believe that you were in such a big place because of all the nature surrounding you. A big recommendation we have is to go paragliding in Medellin! You will soar high in the sky with amazing views of the city.
One of the last places we visited was the Amazon, a place called Leticia. This is where three countries meet – Colombia, Peru and Brazil. It was such a fun stay! Our first days here were spent crossing the Amazon River into the Peruvian jungle and seeing everything that Mother Nature had to offer.
Why Tayrona National Park Should be on your Bucket List
Our time in Tayrona National Park was lovely. We visited for a full day and we will always look back on this day with a smile on our face. As we both like to hike and explore nature, we walked through the park to explore the many beaches and the spectacular nature that surrounded us.
Tayrona National Park has the best beaches to reward you after a long and challenging hike. It will all be worth it when you see this amazing place for yourself. Don’t forget about all of the monkeys you can spot during your walks through the park too! They are fun to see in their natural habitat.
Tayrona National Park should definitely be on every travelers bucket list! It’s a clean, calm and incredible place to visit. You can visit for a day or stay overnight to camp in a tent, hammock or sleep in a cabana by the beach.
We had friends that tried this and they were super positive about the experience because when the crowds leave and the park closes, you have another level of tranquility. Another fantastic reason to visit is that the sunsets are superb! Golden hour at the park is one of the best in the world.
Favorites Places in Tayrona: Boca del Saco & La Piscina Beaches
We managed to find a quiet beach, after visiting the popular Cabo San Juan del Guia Beach, called Boca del Saco Beach. It ended up being our favorite place in the entire Tayrona National Park. To get there you need to walk another few minutes through the jungle but there we found a lovely little spot in the shad with basically the whole beach to ourselves.
La Piscina Beach was also one of our favorites. The name speaks for itself – the current isn’t as strong as other beaches and it looks like a swimming pool. “La piscina” means swimming pool in English. Although Boca del Saco and La Piscina were our favorite places, the rest of the park is just as epic. The hikes, people and beaches are what makes this place great!
Tips for your Visit to Tayrona National Park
Don’t just limit yourself to exploring the beaches of Tayrona National Park. There are a lot more activities to enjoy like snorkeling, horseback riding, camping, hiking and kayaking. The beaches are amazing but to experience the best of the national park, you should branch out more to have new adventures. Here are a few more tips for your visit to Tayrona National Park:
- The hike to reach Cabo San Juan del Guia Beach takes about two and a half hours. But you will cross many stunning beaches along the trail!
- You can take a minivan at the main entrance of the park which takes you five kilometers into the park. We highly recommend taking this minivan as it takes you past the least interesting parts. This way you can spend most of your time hiking through the better parts of the park.
- There is an entry fee and you have to pay a fee for health insurance.
- If hiking is not your cup of tea, you also have the option of going on a horseback ride. This is a very cool way to see the park if you like horses.
- If you are staying in Santa Marta, there are buses that leave from the local market to Tayrona every day. They only cost a few thousand pesos.
- Another option is to visit Tayrona by boat which leaves from the Taganga harbor – just a short drive away from Santa Marta.
- Drones aren’t allowed inside the national park but you are more than welcome to bring your cameras and GoPros.
- Make sure you bring enough water, sunblock and mosquito spray! However, there are places inside the park where you can buy things like water, coconut water, ice cream and other items.
Would you like to see more amazing countries and find out about other places to travel to? Do you want to discover activities that are fun, meaningful, challenging and unforgettable? Then please follow our journey on Instagram and tag along as we traverse this big, beautiful world!