The Tayrona National Park of Colombia is situated around 34 km from the city of Santa Marta on the Caribbean Sea. The place was once the home of the Tayrona indigenous people. The park covers 12,000 hectares of land and 3,000 hectares of sea. The park extends along the Caribbean Sea and into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. There is an amazing amount of biodiversity within the park.
Animals you can find at Tayrona National Park includes Cotton-top Tamarin, charismatic little endemic monkeys who are the most iconic species here. They aren’t indigenous to Tayrona, but a group was founded after conservation efforts in their native Magdalena Medio failed. They flourished in the protected jungles of Tayrona, and can often be seen peeping curiously at visitors from the tops of trees, howling and jabbering away to each other.
You can also find basilisks (yes Harry Potter Fans they’re real), mighty Jaguar, giant Iguanas, and colorful Poison-dart Frogs. You can also find Blue-knobbed Curassow. These large, turkey-like birds are endemic to Colombia and notably endangered. They are one of the rarest birds in the entire continent! Tayrona boasts a decent-sized population, however, and devoted birders can sometimes spot them crossing trails and roads at dawn and dusk.
Trekking and Beaches
A popular way to see the park is by trekking through the park and touring the various sites along the way. There are accommodations for sleeping and dining along the way. The main sites are Canaveral, Arrecifes, La Piscina, and El Cabo. They are all breathtaking. To enter the park, one has to take a bus or a taxi from Santa Marta to the park entrance. The first place in the trek is La Piscina, about a one and a half-hour walk.
La Piscina is a beach within the park. The water part of the beach is well preserved and is nearly calm, therefore it has adopted the name La Piscina, which means the pool in English. La Piscina is a fabulous place for the family to take a swim without the worry of currents and large waves. Therefore this is a popular site for families to visit.
Arrecifes is another beach area. It is a gorgeous beach. At Arrecifes there are treacherous currents in the sea, so swimming is not allowed, but the view is fantastic. That makes this site more pleasing to view and take pictures.
Canaveral is a famous location to visit because it is the only site in the park that is accessible by car. At Canaveral, there are some magnificent coastal views and there are also some archeological sites to see. Canaveral is usually not viewed on a trek through the park, but best visited by a short bus ride.
El Cabo is another beach with its astonishing rock formations, and it is the most crowded. The water currents are not too strong there, so it is safe for swimming. El Cabo is a beach that is the most photographed.
There are accommodations for sleeping and eating along the trek, including camping. The food and the drinks within the park are generally more costly but it is worth it.