Sep 17

From the vault: “Decisions, decisions… Tayrona National Park or Cartagena?”

Tayrona or Cartagena?

They say the wrong decision is better than no decision. It’s a mantra that can save you a great deal of time and effort if you apply it frequently. However, there are times, for instance when travelling to Colombia, when you’ll have a decision to make and, frankly, there won’t be a wrong decision. What a delightful conundrum.

I receive many emails asking whether I think a person on vacation in Colombia should travel to destination A or destination B. I always tell them first off: you can’t really go wrong. So choosing between Parque Tayrona and Cartagena needn’t be a stressful decision. In any case, here are some of the merits of each to help you make up your mind.


Tayrona National Park


Tayrona National Park
Could be worse, right?

Turquoise waters, golden sands, palm trees and jungle-clad mountains all await you in Tayrona. It’s a National Park in Colombia and one that is looked after extremely well. Tayrona is one of the best destinations for relaxation in the country and is perfect for 2-4 days sun-bathing, mixed with the occasional trek. Definitely one for beach lovers as there is little nearby in the way of culture. You should be aware that if you want beautiful beaches, Cartagena will not cater for you nearly as well as Tayrona. There are islands near Cartagena but they’re often busy and are less spectacular.

Tayrona offers accommodation for all levels of tourist, however for luxury stays prices can get pretty steep.



Cartagena, aside from the ever-present touts, is a laid-back city that oozes history. Its cobble-stone streets wind through colourful, colonial buildings, in which you’ll find an abundance of high-quality

Impressive architecture in Cartagena
Impressive architecture in Cartagena

restaurants, cafes and bars. The cultural scene in Cartagena is a wealth of riches, with music and film festivals often taking place alongside the regular museums and galleries on offer. Travel to Cartagena is recommended for those who want to experience some of Colombia’s culture and history, but still wish to take it easy. You can get to beaches from Cartagena and some of them are extremely picturesque, but you have to travel to islands which can be pricey if you want to stay overnight.


I hope this helps your decision making. Remember, however, that it is possible to go to both destinations very easily in 5 days. You can take a bus from Cartagena to Santa Marta and from there transportation (buses/taxis) is available to take you to Tayrona.

As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.


6 thoughts on “From the vault: “Decisions, decisions… Tayrona National Park or Cartagena?”

  1. Rishav Ghosh on


    I would be spending about 4 days in Cartagena in December. I would like to spend one night at Isla Baru, but I’m unable to find any references for lodgings. Could you please help?


  2. Vale on

    Hola! en enero voy con amigos a Cartagena y no nos queremos perder de conocer Tayorna. Donde podemos averiguar que medios de transporte tenemos, precios, horarios? La idea es ir el 14 y volver el 15. Es seguro viajar de noche?


      JL on

      Hola Vale, nunca hemos tenido problemas viajando de noche , pero te perderías el paisaje que vale mucho la pena asi que te recomendamos hacerlo de dia . Lo mejor si estan con un presupuesto apretado es contratar una van que recoge turistas de sus hoteles , lo malo es que dependiendo de la cantidad de pasajeros que tengan – y de los paquetes que tengan por entregar, porque es un servicio que hacen en paralelo – pueden haber muchas paradas y hacer el viaje largo, pero es sin duda la opción mas económica. Un Abrazo!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *