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5 BEST Tayrona National Park Tours from Santa Marta

5 BEST Tayrona National Park Tours from Santa Marta

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Tayrona National Park is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places you can visit in South America. Seriously! The unparalleled biodiversity, incredible white sand beaches, crystal clear water, and outdoor activities should make it the top of anyone’s bucket list.

We visited this park many times while we lived in Colombia and had some wonderful experiences like seeing cotton-top tamarin monkeys! We found that Santa Marta is a good base for exploring Tayrona National Park because so many tours depart from there.

If you’re planning a trip to Colombia, we think it wouldn’t be complete without a tour of Tayrona National Park! You can see and learn so much in very little time, so it’s easy to fit in. We want to make sure your experience was as amazing as ours which is why we made this list of our favorite tours from Santa Marta just for you.

Don’t have time to read the full article? This full-day sailing tour is incredibly popular. You get to learn about Tayrona National Park as you sail by beautiful views. Plus, you get to spend time at Bahia Concha Beach swimming and snorkeling and even have a grilled lunch of freshly caught fish.

Best Tayrona National Park Tours

1. Sailing to Tayrona with Luis

On the sail boat with Sailing with Luis in Tayrona National Park
Such a fun way to see Tayrona!
Swimming at a secluded beach on the Sailing to Tayrona with Luis tour in Tayrona National Park
Swimming at secluded beaches!

Climb aboard a yacht for the day as you swim, fish, and snorkel your way through the waters of Tayrona’s Coastal Park. This full-day tour is a perfect way to experience the magic of the Caribbean from the water.

Boarding at Santa Marta Marina at 10:30 am, you set sail at 11 am for your destination in Tayrona National Park, the beautiful Bahia Concha Beach. On your way, you will stop to fish at the bays of Taganga and Granate and sail past Tayrona’s only island.

Once you have arrived at Bahia Concha (entrance ticket is included) you spend the rest of the day as you please! This tour provides paddle boards and snorkeling gear, and we loved jumping in the water to see many different kinds of fish and then soaking up the sun on the deck. They even made us a delicious grilled lunch with the fresh fish caught right there! 

This 8-hour tour goes every day of the week and only costs $67 USD. We think this a must-do experience, especially given the price for a full day of sailing! If this sounds like fun to you too, you can book this epic yacht tour here.

2. Hiking and Beach Day inside Tayrona National Park

Bailey hikes below palm trees in Tayrona National Park
It is a beautiful hike!
Bailey poses for a photo on a beach in Tayrona National Park
Don’t forget to cool off!

Hike your way through the jungle of Tayrona National Park to the iconic beach of Cabo San Juan with a local guide during this all-day private tour that shows you the beauty this park has to offer! When I say all day, I really do mean all day because the tour lasts about 10 hours!

If you are staying in one of the nearby cities including Santa Marta, you will be picked up around 7:30 am. Your guide will purchase your tickets which is helpful because we found the process can sometimes be confusing.

Then, get ready for a semi-strenuous, but incredible 4-hour hike through the jungle. I’m not going to lie, you are going to start sweating about 15 minutes in! The effort is worth the reward of those breathtaking coastal views. Keep your eyes peeled because you might even spot some of the three different species of monkeys that live in the area (although we still haven’t managed to see a Howler monkey here yet)!

Once reaching Cabo San Juan, you get to visit one of Colombia’s most beautiful beaches. Enjoy your time swimming, relaxing, and taking lots of pictures! After 2 hours of downtime, you’ll be ready to make your way back through the jungle and call it a day.

This tour costs $150 USD per person for 2 people. The maximum size is 12 people with a price of $74 USD per person, so it’s an even better deal if you have a larger group. You can reserve your private hike here

3. Tayrona National Park Private Hike Tour to Cabo San Juan

Bailey stops for a break on a hike in Tayrona National Park, Colombia
Stopping to admire the view!
Bailey stands at the wooden viewpoint where people can sleep at Cabo San Juan in Tayrona National Park
Cabo San Juan!

We think hiking along the beaches of Tayrona National Park is the best way to experience them, and this full-day private hike to Cabo San Juan is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip!

Begin your day with hotel pick-up and your guide will buy your tickets (again, this makes the process so much easier!), and you’ll be off into the forest to make your way to some of the park’s best beaches.

We think that people don’t talk enough about the wildlife at Tayrona National Park because the beaches and the scenery are so impressive, but we love that your guide will point out wildlife on your hike to Cabo San Juan. It makes a huge difference to have someone who knows the area guiding you.

Once you arrive, you will have a delicious traditional Caribbean lunch (you will pay for this separately) and have time to explore on your own. The tour lasts between 8-10 hours, so you don’t feel rushed. We personally loved swimming in the crystal clear water!

Prices per person vary by group size but we paid $328 USD for 2 people and had an unforgettable experience. This tour tends fill to up quickly, so you can book ahead of time here and use the buy now, pay later option.

4. 4-Hour Scuba Diving Course in Tayrona National Park 

Bailey swims past while scuba diving in Tayrona National Park
So cool!

Diving in the waters of Tayrona National Park is an adventure you will want to experience even if you’ve never been scuba diving before! That’s why we think this 4-hour dive course is an amazing opportunity for new divers and experienced ones alike. 

We’ve been scuba diving many times and know just how incredible having patient and helpful instructors like the ones on this tour can make the experience for everyone. You will meet at the Marina Santa Marta to get fitted for your wet suit and learn the basics of scuba diving safety and theory. After that quick introduction, it’s onto the boat and off to Tayrona National Park!

This tour will bring you to two different dive spots, and your guide will tell you about the aquatic life that inhabits both. We loved learning about the different colorful fish and then diving down to see them ourselves! Not to mention seeing the stunning coral reefs that stretch across the bottom of the sea.

This tour runs every day of the week and for only $110 USD per person, it’s a great way to experience the beautiful underwater world many don’t get to see when they visit the park.

If you’re ready to dive into this adventure you can secure your spot here.

Related Read: If Bogota, Colombia is on your itinerary, we have you covered with this guide to the best things to do in Bogota including an awesome graffiti tour!

5. Private Sailing Boat to Tayrona National Park

A sail boat is anchored up at a beach in Tayrona National park after sailing from Santa Marta
It’s not a bad place to anchor!

This 7.5-hour private sailboat tour is a great way for you and your friends or family to enjoy the magic of the Caribbean and make some incredible memories. Fish, swim, and snorkel your way through the park, and if you’re lucky, you’ll see some dolphins! Honestly, there’s not much better than spending the day on a boat in the Caribbean.

You will meet in Santa Marta at 10:30 am, and even though some complimentary snacks and a drink are provided, we suggest stopping at the grocery store you meet in front of for some extra food and drinks to bring along. You’re able to store extra drinks in a refrigerator on board if you need to.

During the day you will anchor at one of the many beaches for swimming, snorkeling, and paddle boarding. After a full day of fun in the sun, you will make your way back just in time to catch the sunset.

A truly incredible experience to have aboard a sailboat and an excellent opportunity to pretend to be Captain Jack Sparrow! If you’re like us, the only thing you will regret about this tour is that you only booked one day instead of two.

The tour can accommodate a group of 6 people and has a flat price of $680 USD making it an excellent choice for groups as well as couples who want something more private.

You can book this tour in advance here.

About Tayrona National Park

Cabo San Juan Beach in Tayrona National Park, Colombia
Cabo San Juan Beach in Tayrona National Park

When you think of the Caribbean, Tayrona National Park is what you’re imagining! First established in 1964, Tayrona National Park is an eco-tourism paradise along Colombia’s coastline. 

With year-round temperatures between 25-32˚C (77-90˚F), it was one of our favorite places to visit while we lived in Colombia. It’s fantastic to visit year-round, but does have two distinct rainy seasons from May to June and again from September to November. It’s possible to spend the night in Tayrona National Park, but you’ll probably want to avoid the rainy seasons if you’re sleeping in a hammock or a tent!

Located within the park are the foothills of the mighty Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the world’s highest coastal mountain! You will also find mangrove swamps, cloud forests, and numerous white-sand beach coves dotted along the park’s shoreline. 

What we found truly incredible about this park was the amount of biodiversity. Thousands of different plant, reptile, bird, mammal, and fish species are all packed into this colorful park. It’s easy to see why this area of Colombia was inhabited by the once-great Tairona (from where the park gets its name) empire for so long before it was conquered by the Spanish.

Where to Stay in Santa Marta, Colombia

The Dreamer Hostel, Santa Marta
Just hanging out at the Dreamer Hostel, Santa Marta

There are awesome places to stay in Santa Marta for every type of traveler with any range of budget. I’ve personally stayed at all of the places below and can highly recommend them!

Grand Marina Santa Marta – $$$

Grand Marina Santa Marta offers luxury apartments with full kitchens and balconies overlooking the marina right in the center of Santa Marta. It is the perfect place to explore the city while having time to relax poolside. Pure luxury for surprisingly good value! You can also book a spa experience for even more pampering while you’re there.

Prices start at $160 USD per night. You can check availability and reserve a room here on Booking.com.

Color Hostel – $$

Color Hostel is clean, modern, and centrally located. It isn’t luxurious or flashy but has everything you’d want in a super comfortable hotel at a steal of a deal (with breakfast included!). When I stayed here I couldn’t believe how large the rooms were! Oh, and they also have a small pool.

A 1-night stay for 2 people begins at $30 USD/night. You can book a spot at the Color Hostel here on Booking.com or here on Hostelworld.com.

Dreamer Hostel – $

Dreamer Hostel is the most popular place for backpackers to stay in Santa Marta and for that reason, it is almost always booked full! They have a beautiful courtyard with a large swimming pool that makes for a very social area to hang out. They also have a communal kitchen and a restaurant that serves the best Carbonara ever (trust me on that one!).

Prices for a single bed in a dorm start at $11 USD/night, and prices for a private room start at $40 USD/night. You can book on Hostelworld or Booking.com.

Thanks for reading!

Bailey poses for a photo in the water at Tayrona National Park
Thanks for reading!

Visiting Tayrona National Park is a must-do while in Colombia. Because the park is so popular, taking a tour of Tayrona National Park from Santa Marta removes some of the hassle of organizing things yourself. Hopefully, this guide has been helpful, and you enjoy your time there just as much as we did!

If you found this blog useful, be sure to check out the rest of our Colombia travel blogs or our other blogs about destinations all over the world. We also have a few favorites listed below for you to check out:

12 BEST Tours in Medellin to Get the Most from Your Visit

17 EPIC Things to do in San Gil, Colombia & Visitor Guide

25 BEST Things to do in Cartagena, Colombia