May 19

Is Tayrona National Park too expensive?

See Colombia Travel Tayrona Tours
One of the many impressive rock formations at the Tayrona Park

Tayrona is a stunning meld of beaches, jungles and mountains that never fails to enchant everyone that visits. It’s a wilderness, seemingly untouched by man (excepting the accommodation and restaurants), that sprawls on for miles and miles. Despite its paradisaical nature, there’s one complaint I often hear from backpackers and high-end travelers alike: it’s too expensive.

I’d like to take a little time to look at the costs involved in Tayrona National Park and demonstrate why it’s worth every penny.

Firstly, many people’s first stumbling block is the entrance fee. $35,000 COL can seem a lot to pay considering that as a backpacker you’ll be staying in a tent, cabin or a hammock by the beach. Before you cry “injustice!” however, take a closer look at some statistics. Firstly, the cost of the park largely stems from the fact that Tayrona National Park is situated on ancestral lands, home to various ancient cultures. For the privelege of stomping on their grounds, the owners of the park have to offer some kind of compensation. And that’s just the start of it. To keep the park tidy, organised and safe, you have to pay workers. Paradise doesn’t keep itself clean, you know.

Pueblito Chairama at Tayrona
After a 1 hour trek from the park you can reach the “Pueblito Chairama” , where the Chairama Tribe lived.

Also if you put the cost into perspective, £13 or $18 would barely buy you a round of drinks back home. Round of drinks or a once in a lifetime experience… I know what I’d choose.

This isn’t the only cost for visitors, however, and though backpackers may not worry about the cost of getting to Tayrona, those who don’t have the time to worry about their own transfer may be concerned when they find out they have to pay more than they expected to get there. Well, the path to Tayrona isn’t an easy one. Firstly there’s transfer from Santa Marta to the perimeters of the park. Subsequently, from here you’ll have to take another trip from the perimeter to inside the park itself. Doesn’t sound so hard, right? But then from here you can either trek for 40 minutes or rent a horse. With all your luggage, that can be quite a hassle. Of course, for backpackers it’s all well and good, but for those who might not like the idea of a backache for a few days and a whole load of sweaty clothes, it might be more agreeable to get yourself transfered directly from Santa Marta to your Tayrona accommodation. Sure, it costs, but once you add up all those little journies, you’ll find the cost really isn’t that much…

One accommodation option at Tayrona: Hammocks
The Hammocks Cabins are unbelievably clean and safe.

If you’re looking  for a more exclusive experience, Tayrona Park offers the  very nice and luxurious Ecohab cabins, which are rated 5 star and priced accordingly ; Passengers that choose this option are closer to the park’s entrance, don’t need to  hike for that long and are helped by porters that carry their luggage for them. Be sure to book your Ecohabs well in advance with a travel agency like See Colombia Travel, they’re very sought after and worth every dime.

Ecohabs at Taytona National Park, Colombia
Looking for a full luxury experience in Tayrona? Try the Ecohabs

So when you’re researching trips to Tayrona, it can be tempted to balk at the costs involved, but just remember everything that comes with the cost. Especially that magical once in a lifetime experience on a desolate, wild Caribbean beach.


10 thoughts on “Is Tayrona National Park too expensive?

  1. Adam on

    We went to Tayrona in March of 2009, and we did not find it expensive in the least. We took a boat from Taganga, actually, which dropped us off at the far back of the park near Cabo Beach (where we didn’t have to pay an entrance fee, though the boat cost was just as much as taking a bus and paying the entrance fee). We paid about $5 for a hammock at Cabo Beach, and the meals were a little pricey for what you got, and obviously more expensive than eating cheaply in most cities in Colombia, but still, not expensive by any means. You can do Tayrona on the cheap, that’s for sure. And even if it was more expensive, it’s well worth the costs. Absolutely stunning place!


      Paul on

      Well worth the costs… My sentiments exactly. I know how it is to be a backpacker and want to save as much as possible, but sometimes that little bit extra really goes a long way.

  2. Marina on

    I went for 5 days to Tayrona with my boyfriend on feb-march 2011. We stayed on tents at the Don Pedro camping area. I was told the food was insanely expensive, etc. But nto at all. From our point of view, a fish lunch, for example was awesome, tasty and one was enough for the two of us. Only US$8
    The horse ride was TOTALLY worth it. The day we arrived we decided to go for the walk, but OMG we were regretting it every step. The day we were leaving we hired a horse for each and were so happy.
    Also, the camping areas offer good quality showers, toilets, restaurants, provide cooking zones, etc.. and best of all 100% safe.


      Paul on

      Glad you and your boyfriend enjoyed Tayrona so much. The horse ride is great, even my parents thought so! I did the walk on the way there but got so muddy I decided never again…

  3. Stefano Pedroni on

    I’ve been there back in ’98 and lived on bread and mangoes for 5 days ’cause food prices were just too expensive for my pokets. Can’t belive they have luxurious cabins nowadays. I guess times changes….


      Paul on

      Bread and mango diet… Doesn’t sound so bad to me! We did a lot of coconut consuming too, and why not when you’re in such a beautiful natural regoin? The restaurants might be too much for some on a really tight budget (although they are good), but you can take food in for yourself, so it’s definitely a win-win.


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