Tayrona National Park and staying in a bit of paradise nearby

The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
55 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
South America
Length of time
3-4 days
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 250
Time of year visited
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
271st/372 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 80% SUMMARY RATING: Worth doing


Yeah the National Park is nice – you can walk through the jungle areas to get to the beautiful beaches, and don’t get me wrong it is indeed nice – but it gets pretty crowded.  My tip would be to stay in one of the chilled out beach hotels in the fantastic area just past the eastern end of the park, where the river meets the sea

The hotels themselves are lovely, and the nearby beach between the sea and the lake is gorgeous.  We ended up extending our stay for 4 nights because we liked it so much and headed over to the park for two of the days, avoiding the rush of a day trip from Santa Marta.  Search for Maloka Barlovento for the right spot.  We stayed there and would recommend

Nearby you also have two super things to do – firstly, and easiest, is Cartagena’s wonderful Old Town that ranks as one of the best in Latin America and see more tips at the travel entry Soaking up the Cartagena Old Town.  But the highlight is the 4days / 3 nights Hiking the Lost City Trek where you trek through the jungle to the mystical Lost City.   And have a look at how it can all come together in a itinerary for 3 weeks in Colombia

One last tip – “Cayman Aguja” is a sign you’ll see put up all along the shore.  It isn’t a type of cayman, its an American Crocodile!


#1 Soaking up the beautiful beaches surrounded by jungle in this nice spot of paradise

#2 Wandering through and exploring the jungle as it meets the beaches of the national park

#3 Wandering along the quieter coastline to the west of the park and seeing the beautiful combination of lagoons and open ocean

#4 Checking out the pretty beaches that sit within Tayrona National Park

#5 Lazing away the days in the beachside cabins that sit just outside of the national park, with a far more chilled out vibe

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone