Guide of Beaches in Tayrona Park

In this article, you will discover ALL the beaches in Tayrona Park.

In fact, I am tour leader in Colombia since 2015, and I have been to all of them

So if you plan to travel to Tayrona park, you will love this new guide

Tayrona National Park is a paradise for nature lovers.

Table of Contents

In a rush ? read this first :

  • Cabo San Juan is the popular of the beaches in Tayrona park, a fairy-tale beach that looks like a postcard.
  • Playa Cristal is the best beach in Tayrona Park for snorkeling
  • Gairaca is the best beach for scuba diving
  • Bahia Chengue, is probably the most beautiful beach, but it is forbidden get there since 2019.
  • Bahia Cinto is the most exclusive beach in Tayrona park with fantastic luxury villa.
  • Bahia Concha is the beach with the best value for money : amazing, cheap and close from Santa Marta
  • Nudist beach is the only… what ? 
Disclaimer : 

This guide to the Beaches in Tayrona Park is not intended to give you in depth details on how to get there, but to help you decide which beaches you would like to discover.  

For more details, please visit the definitive guide to Tayrona park, which is the most comprehensive guide across the web. 

see also : 

Tayrona Park Beaches Map

Here are all the beaches of Tayrona Park. Click to enlarge

The Beaches in Tayrona Park are divided in 4 areas :El Zaino, Calabazo, Palangana y Bastidas.

in this article will review in detail all the beaches by sector. 

beaches in tayrona map sectors
Section 1

Sector el Zaino

The entrance el Zaino is the main entrance to the park, through which 95% of the visitors to Tayrona Park enter.

It gives you access to the most beautiful beaches in the park, including the famous Cabo San Juan beach.

tayrona park map el zaino

Beach n°1 : Castilletes

This is the first beach you will see between the entrance “El Zaino” and the car park of Cañaveral.

If this is your first time in the park, I wouldn’t recommend it.

The sea is rough and the currents make swimming strongly discouraged.

The amateurs of tranquility will find their happiness there.

There is a campsite with restaurant and cabins.

  • Distance: 2 km
  • Swimming: no
  • Accommodation: yes
  • Catering: yes
  • Shade: yes under the palm trees
  • Attendance: low
  • Note: 3/5
Castilletes tayrona park

Beach n°2 : Cañaveral

To clarify right away, Cañaveral is the name of the car park where the park shuttle bus drops you off and it is also the name of a beach.

Cañaveral beach is a 20min walk from the car park. It has strong currents and it is not possible to swim there.

Not being on the classic route (koguis trail), it is far from being essential to visit it, the greatest spectacle of Tayrona is not there.

Like Arrecifes, it’s a long narrow beach lined with grape trees. There is little shade on the beach, so watch out for the sun.

You will be able to stop at the bar of the famous Ecohabs.

  • Distance: 1.5 km
  • Swimming: no
  • Accommodation: yes
  • Catering: yes
  • Shadow: no
  • Attendance: low
  • Interest: 1/5
cañaveral Ecohabs tayrona park colombia

Beach n°3 : La Piscinita

Less popular, and for good reason, the Piscinita is the small cove of the Ecohabs.

It is a little off-center, if you have little time it is better to attack the main path right away.

That said, if you have time on the way back, it might be worth stopping there for a little while.

They have a small beach bar, umbrellas and swimming is pleasant.

It is also one of the only supervised beaches in the park, and the flag will indicate the recommendations.

To get there you will have to go through the Ecohabs from the car park in Cañaveral.

  • Distance: 20min – 1.5 km
  • Swimming: yes
  • Accommodation: yes
  • Catering: yes
  • Shade: yes, under umbrellas
  • Attendance: low
  • Interest: 2/5
cañaveral Ecohabs tayrona park colombia

Beach n°4 : Arrecifes

Arrecifes is the first beach you will see up close, after a 1 hour walk if you take the main path.

You will walk along a very pretty lagoon in which giant stones bathe.

It is on this one that you will have the best chance to see the Caiman Abuja come to sunbathe (around noon).

If you are the type to avoid the most touristy places consider the accommodations in the area.

You can make the trip to Cabo San Juan the next day.

You will be able to take some of the most beautiful pictures of your stay in Arrecifes. The sunsets are often spectacular.

  • Distance: 45 min – 3.5km
  • Swimming: forbidden
  • Accomodation: camping yuluka, buruka and don Pedro
  • Popularity: not very popular
  • Note: 3/5
playa arrecifes Tayrona Park Colombia

Beach n°5 : Arrenillas

Barely 1 min after Arrecifes, Arenillas is finally the first beach where you can swim.

It’s shady and not very crowded.

Careful, now,

the currents can surprise you. Ideal if you sleep in the Arrecifes area.

There are a few kiosks with fruit juices, empanadas, and even a small restaurant with a shaded area.

  • Distance: 60 min – 4.5km
  • Swimming: allowed
  • Accommodation: no (Arrecifes a 15 min)
  • Catering: Small stands
  • Popularity: not very popular
  • Note: 3/5
arrenillas Beach Tayrona Park

Beach n°6 : La Piscina

As its name suggests, “la piscina” evokes a swimming pool. It is a calm and pleasant lagoon, and it is here that the water is the calmest and crystal clearest in the whole area.

Its name comes from the barrier of rocks that surrounds it creating a natural swimming pool with calm waters.

Family Special: if you come with children, this is THE beach where you can stop and swim in complete safety.

It’s one of the ideal places for snorkeling. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to observe the Carrey turtle.

There is a juice stand, but no accommodation or food.

  • Distance: 90 min – 6km
  • Swimming: yes, ideal
  • Accomodation: no (Arrecifes a 30 min
  • Catering: only one stand has just fruit
  • Popularity: not very popular
  • Interest: 5/5
playa piscina Tayrona Park

Beach n°7 : Playa Escondida

Have you ever heard of this beach in another guide book? I doubt it. Cause nobody knows it. Only certain experts at the park.

And for good reason, there’s no way in. You have to sneak through the trees and bushes to find it.

It is actually an extension of the swimming pool.

If the swimming pool already offers peace and quiet, on this one you will be alone in the world, while enjoying the advantages of the swimming pool.

  • Distance: 100 min – 6.5km
  • Swimming: yes, ideal
  • Accomodation: no (Arrecifes a 30 min
  • Catering: no
  • Popularity: deserted
  • Interest: 5/5
playa escondida tayrona park colombia

Beach n°8 : Cabo San Juan

Cabo San Juan is a life-size postcard.

Idyllically beautiful, she has become one of Colombia’s emblematic figures, featured on the covers of many magazines and travel guides.

A little paradise for the eyes, it consists of two small bays surrounded by coconut palms, separated by a rocky promontory where a palm-roofed hut sits enthroned.

As you can imagine, victim of its success, the bay of “El Cabo” is also the most frequented beach of the park.

Roughly 95% of the park’s visitors visit it or spend the night there.

  • Distance: 120 min – 9km
  • Swimming: yes, perfect
  • Accommodation: yes
  • Catering: yes
  • Popularity: very popular
  • Interest: 5/5
tayrona park cabo san juan colombia

Beach n°9 : Nudist Beach

It’s the only nudist beach allowed in Colombia.

Nudity is optional, so if you prefer to keep your swimsuit on, no worries.

There are in fact very few nudists on the beach, a maximum of 10.

Officially swimming is forbidden, but I have bathed there without any problem.

This said, be very careful, stay very close to the edge, the bottom waves are treacherous!

  • Distance: 130 min – 10km
  • Swimming: with caution !
  • Accommodation: no
  • Catering: no
  • Shadow: yes everywhere
  • Popularity: almost virgin
  • Interest: 4/5
nudist beach tayrona park colombia

Beach n°10 : Boca del Saco

We now arrive at the last beach in the el Zaino sector…

Boca del Saco looks a lot like the nudist beach, but without the nudists.

This is probably the least frequented beach in the whole area.

Swimming is officially forbidden, but you can refresh yourself by staying on the shore.

  • Swimming: with caution !
  • Accommodation: no
  • Catering: no
  • Shadow: yes everywhere
  • Popularity: almost virgin
  • Note: 4/5
boca del saco beach tayrona park colombia
Section 2

Sector Calabazo

If you like walking, nature and adventure, this is the place to go.

This sector will give you a more complete view of the park thanks to an off-trail approach ending with the tourist part.

tayrona park map calabazo

Beach n°11: Playa Brava

 

Playa Brava is a beautiful secluded beach, but as its name suggests (angry beach), the currents are dangerous and swimming is not recommended.

There is still the possibility to swim on the left side of the beach.

It is also a beach rich in history.

During the guerrilla era in Colombia, it was a small export port. I’ll let you guess what it is.

This isolation from the deep jungle and the hills gives it one of the most incredible atmospheres of the park.

It will take you about 4 hours walk from Calabazo, through the jungle. A demanding walk.

If you start walking at dawn (06:00) you will have a better chance of seeing animals.

Possibility to go there by mule

For the return journey, you will have to go by the same path or climb the hill and reach Boca del Saco (3h walking).

  • Distance: 4h – 8 km
  • Level : hard
  • Swimming: with caution !
  • Accommodation: yes
  • Catering: yes
  • Shadow: yes
  • Popularity: very few people
  • Interest: 4/5
Playa Brava tayrona park colombia
Section 3

Sector Palangana

palangana is home to the most breathtaking and most secret beaches in tayrona park.

You may be surprised to discover them

map tayrona park palangana

Palangana entrance is 12 km from Santa Marta taking the Troncal del Caribe towards La Guajira.

It gives you access to Gairaca, Neguanje and Playa Cristal. The other beaches are closed to the public: Bahia Chengue. 

By boat you can acces Playa Cristal, Baha Cinto, Guachaquita and Palmarito.

palangana bahia chengue tayrona park colombia

Beach n°12 : Gairaca

From the entrance of Palangana, the beach of Gairaca (also called Playa del Amor) is the first beach you can access.

A sign to the left will tell you where to turn.

Beautiful beach with crystal clear waters, Gairaca is without a doubt the best beach in Tayrona Park for scuba diving. You will not find a diving center on the beach, you will have to go through Taganga where only one center is authorized to supervise outings twice a week (see activity section).

  • Swimming: yes
  • Accommodation: No
  • Catering: No
  • Shadow: yes
  • Popularity: very few people
  • Interest: 3/5
mirador 7 olas Tayrona Park

Beach n°13 : 7 Olas

Along the road from the Palangana entrance, a stop at the 7 Olas viewpoint will be self-evident. Its name 7 olas is due to the immutable rhythm of its waves which arrive only in succession of 7.

  • Swimming: No
  • Accommodation: No
  • Catering: No
  • Shadow: No
  • Popularity: 0 Person
  • Note: 2/5

 

mirador 7 olas Tayrona Park
Did you count how many waves ?

Beach n°14 : Neguanje

It is considered the largest bay in Tayrona National Park.

It is the access point to visit Playa Cristal.

This site was of the utmost importance for the Tayrona culture as it served as a cemetery for the great indigenous caciques.

You can also see a beautiful demonstration of the semi-arid vegetation, populated by cacti and dry woods, unlike the eastern part of the park which is humid tropical and green.

  • Swimming: yes
  • Accommodation: No
  • Catering: No
  • Shadow: No
  • Popularity: not very popular
  • Note: 1/5
tayrona park neguanje colombia

Beach n°15 : Playa Cristal

Playa Cristal is one of the most beautiful beaches in Tayrona Park.

As its name suggests, its azure and crystal clear waters make it THE most beautiful place in the park for snorkeling and diving.

Mostly frequented by Colombians, it is an option that few foreign tourists know about.

It’s a wonderful place to spend the day at the beach. There are free or paid shade areas, excellent fresh fruit juices, and several huts where you can enjoy a good fish.

For the record, this beautiful beach was known as Playa del Muerto (Beach of the Dead) no wonder they decided to change the name.

  • Swimming: yes
  • Accommodation: No
  • Catering: yes
  • Shadow: No
  • Popularity: 200 people max
  • Note: 5/5
Playa Cristal Tayrona Park

Beach n°16 : Bahia Chengue

Bahia chengue is for connoisseurs THE most beautiful beach in the park.

Too bad for you, it has been banned to the public since 2019.

Indeed, it is a highly sacred place for indigenous communities, and they won their case in early 2019 to prevent it from being invaded by tourism.

To make you salivate a little anyway: Crystal Waters, birdwatching and pink salt lagoons

This beach has in fact been closed to the public for a long time but some tourist agencies in Santa Marta were overflowing the rules and still took tourists with them.

  • Swimming: yes
  • Accommodation: no
  • Catering: no
  • Shadow: yes
  • Popularity: deserted
  • Note: 5/5
bahia chengue tayrona park colombia

Beach n°17 : Bahia Cinto

Officially closed to the public, Cinto is one of the quietest and most beautiful beaches in Tayrona Park (and yes, one more!).

Its crystalline waters, green vegetation, golden sand and isolation give it a unique touch like few beaches in the world.

Very good spot for snorkeling.

  • Swimming: yes
  • Accommodation: yes
  • Catering: no
  • Shadow: yes
  • Popularity: deserted
  • Note: 5/5
bahia cinto tayrona park colombia

Beach n°18 : Guachaquita

It is one of the few beaches in the PNNT where its calm waters allow swimming,  its waters are clear and its sand is white. The beach is small and has little marine life, but it is replaced by the beauty of the landscape.

  • Swimming: yes
  • Accommodation: yes
  • Catering: yes
  • Shadow: yes
  • Popularity: Deserted
  • Note: 3/5
guachaquita Tayrona Park Colombia

Beach n°19 : Palmarito

One of the smallest beaches in the PNNT

The beach is not suitable for swimming due to its high waves.

The area is full of coconut trees.

To get there on foot, the path is very demanding, as it takes about 3 or 4 hours on footpaths that are poorly signposted due to the lack of foot traffic.

  • Swimming: No
  • Accommodation: yes
  • Restoration :Yes
  • Shadow: Yes
  • Popularity: Deserted
  • Note: 2/5
Section 4

Sector Bastidas

The sector of Bastidas is not really an entrance but a district of Santa Marta from which one reaches the beautiful Bahia Concha.

tayrona park map bastidas

Beach n°20 : Bonito Gordo

This one is a secret beach, the only access is by boat from the marina of Santa Marta. Some boats mark a short stopover there for tours to Bahia Concha.

  • Swimming: yes
  • Lodging: no
  • Catering: no
  • Shadow: yes
  • Popularity: deserted
  • Note: 4/5
bonito gordo tayrona park Colombia

Beach n°21 : Bahia Concha

Bahía Concha is a beautiful beach, offering a very good quality – accessibility – price ratio.

Only 30 minutes by car from Santa Marta, Bahia Concha offers a superb setting with its calm and crystal clear waters, with the majestic Sierra Nevada in the background.

This beach is for you if:

  • You want to have a classic beach day
  • You don’t have much time in the region
  • You want to see Tayrona without walking miles
  • You got a day to kill in Santa Marta.
 
  • Swimming: yes
  • Lodging: camping
  • Catering: yes
  • Shadow: yes
  • Popularity: very popular
  • Note: 5/5
bahia concha tayrona park colombia
Catering

Small improvised restaurants at the entrance of the beach where you can enjoy a good grilled fish.

Street vendors will be happy to sponsor you with local beer.

Its calm waters make it ideal for spending the day as a couple, with friends or family.

Attendance

Relatively easy to access, it is the most visited beach in the park by Colombians. If you are looking for peace and quiet, avoid weekends and school holidays.

 

How to get to Bahia Concha?
1. Private Taxi from Santa Marta.

Advantage it brings you back at the time of your choice. Count about 160.000 Cop entry included.

2. By Bus + moto Taxi

take a bus from Santa Marta’s center in Avenue 5ta direction “Bastidas”. Then take a moto taxi for 30 000 cop aprox.

3. Excursions

Tours leave every day from Rodadero

4. Speed Boat
  • Departures: every day from Taganga between 09:30 and 10:30 a.m.
  • Price : between 60000 Cop and 80.000 Cop

Conclusion

I hope that you enjoyed this article

If you like it, don’t hesitate to share it and

if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below

Leave a Reply

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

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter