Cartagena to Tayrona National Park

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How to get from Cartagena to Tayrona National Park

Tayrona National Park offers some of the best beaches, breath-taking hikes and unparalleled sights in Colombia and according to many, even South America.

Here you’ll find activities like snorkelling, horse riding, camping, bird and animal watching, visiting archeological sites and why not, nude bathing. If you want to enjoy the park at its’ best, we recommend staying a night or two in the park. In and around Tayrona National Park, you’ll find some of Colombia’s best places to stay.

Tayrona National Park covers 225 km² and has many access points. Most visitors enter via El Zaino or Calabazo, since they are relatively easy to reach from other major destinations in Colombia.

Given its proximity to Santa Marta, most visitors chose to hop on a bus from here, but other popular choices are to leave from Barranquilla and Cartagena too.

2 ways to get from Cartagena to Tayrona National Park

Transport modeDurationCostsAvailability
Minivan5h88,000 COP ($18)Check van tickets
Bus5h 30m excl. transfer time37,000 COP ($7.50)Read article for more info

When travelling the 240 km from Cartagena to Tayrona National Park, you have 2 options:  a 5-hour minivan ride to the El Zaino entrance at Tayrona Park, or a 5.5-hour bus journey, but you may have to transfer in Santa Marta. Rates range from 37,000 COP ($7.50) to 88,000 COP ($18).

The minivan is the easiest way to reach Tayrona National Park from Cartagena.

TIP: Before you make your way from Cartagena to Tayrona national park, we highly recommend taking a boat from Cartagena to Isla Grande. On this paradise island you find some gorgeous white-sand beaches with turquiose water. It’s the perfect gewatay from the city live in Cartagena.

When is Tayrona National Park closed?

It’s important to know that Tayrona National park is closed for a proportion of February, June and October every year. 

The indigenous communities living in Tayrona request this so that they can physically and spiritually clean the area, allowing the plants and wildlife to return. 

In 2022, Tayrona National Park will be closed: 

  • 1-15 February
  • 1-15 June
  • 19 October – 2 November

The dates vary slightly every year, so make sure to check out Parque Tayrona for the latest information. 

Entrance into Tayrona

A ticket for Tayrona can be bought with either cash or card (card is accepted only at El Zaino and Calabazo). The price for foreigners during low season is 57,500 COP ($12) or 66,500 COP ($13.50) in high season – December to January, during Easter holiday and mid-June to July.

Also take into consideration that insurance is mandatory, which is sold at the park entrance, for 5,000 COP ($1) per day. This has to be paid in cash.

Looking for more info about Taryona National Park and the different entrances? Check out this route post from Santa Marta to Tayrona where we go into more detail.

Cartagena to Tayrona National Park by Minivan

Duration: 5-5.5 hours
Cost: 88,000 COP ($18)
Duration: 5-5.5 hours
Cost: 88,000 COP ($18)

From Cartagena to Tayrona, minivans take 4.5 to 5 hours depending on traffic and stops along the way. Travelers prefer this option because the agency provides door-to-door service.

Tickets for Marsol Transportes, the company who run the minivans, can be booked online or via WhatsApp (+57 3197601810).

We recommend avoiding the minivan that stops in Barranquilla, as this will add time onto your journey.

Cartagena to Tayrona National Park by Bus

Duration: 5-5.5 hours
Cost: 37,000 COP ($7.50)
Duration: 5-5.5 hours
Cost: 37,000 COP ($7.50)

You’ll first need to head to Cartagena’s bus terminal, found outside the city and catch the daily bus from Cartagena to Riohacha, asking the driver to stop at Tayrona’s entrance.

If you miss the previous option, you can easily take a bus to Santa Marta which runs more frequently, and from the bus terminal there find another bus that heads to Palomino or Riohacha and ask the driver to stop at the park entrance.

You can find out more about the bus from Santa Marta to Tayrona here.

Cartagena to Tayrona National Park by Taxi

Since the trip can be made with a cheaper shared minivan, not many people take taxis, but depending on season and operator, you can expect to pay from 550,000 COP ($115) to 730,000 COP ($150).

Getting around inside Tayrona

Once inside the park, getting around is mainly done by walking, but horse riding and a small bus exist at the El Zaino entrance. We recommend taking the bus because it skips 30-minutes of walking along a road, and it takes you straight to the start of the trail – that’s where the fun begins.

The bus from El Zaino to the Cañaveral area, a 10-minute ride, will cost 5,000 COP ($1).

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