Once again the decision has been taken by the Colombian National Park service to close the most popular of their sites, Tayrona National Park, for a month. After previously closing the park for a month in November of 2015 after local indigenous groups, who consider the park to be sacred, requested that it be closed off for ecological, environmental and spiritual healing.
This time the park will close on January 28 and remain closed for one month until the end of February. Tayrona will reopen on March 1. As before, not even employees of the park will be allowed access to Tayrona during the month in question; only members of these Indigenous groups, of whom several families live permanently within the park.
I’ve spoken on this blog before about my support for initiatives such as these – I love visiting Tayrona and will do so again this month with friends for my birthday. However, it can sometimes feel as if the National Park service have lost sight of the fact that Tayrona is, first and foremost, a national park, a protected space to preserve nature and wildlife, rather than a hotel or tourist attraction. Of course, the huge number of visitors earns valuable revenue for the system, but at what cost? I would be in favour of introducing stricter caps to daily visitors and enforcing a month-long closure of the park twice annually, even to coincide with the quieter seasons. Colombia is going to become one of the most desirable tourist destinations in the world over the next few years and Tayrona is the jewel in the crown, but it must be preserved and protected so that it can be enjoyed by future generations.
So, to repeat, Tayrona National Park will be closed between January 28 and February 28, 2017. If you were planning to visit during that time, we’re sorry, but here are some excellent alternative ideas in our Colombian Caribbean coast itinerary.