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.
Tayrona National Park covers 225km² 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.
PRO-TIP: While there are several transportation options from Cartagena to Tayrona National Park, it’s worth checking out these incredible places to stay near Taryona National Park. In and around the park, you’ll find some of the best accommodations that Colombia has to offer. A guaranteed unforgettable stay.
2 ways to get from Cartagena to Tayrona National Park
When travelling the 240 km from Cartagena to Tayrona National Park, you have 2 options: a 5-hour minivan ride to 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 ($9) to 88,000 COP ($22).
The minivan is the easiest way to reach Tayrona National Park from Cartagena.
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 ($14) or 66,500 COP ($16.50) 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 ($1.25) per day. This has to be paid in cash.
Tayrona is a protected area and access is restricted during some holidays. These periods fall in February, June and October. Dates vary each year, so we recommend checking in advance whether your planned visiting dates fall on a popular holiday.
TIP: 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 to 5.5 hours Cost: 88,000 COP ($22)
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 hours Cost: 37,000 COP ($9)
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 ($135) to 730,000 COP ($180).
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 as 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 ($1.25).