Tayrona National Park Accommodation
So, it’s essential to have a good idea about which part of the park you’ll be staying in before you arrive and reserve your place before you enter.
The accommodation hubs (which are basically campsites) are quite far from eachother within the park, but all are relatively close to beaches and accessible via the main walking trail. All have a restaurant, toilets, showers, a small shop on site, and the limited hammock vs. tent option as your bed for the night. However, the main thing is to decide whether you want to be located slap bang in the middle of Tayrona’s best beaches, or are happy to stay somewhere less crowded but a decent walk away.
Your main Tayrona Park accommodation options are:
Castilletes | The shuttle bus driver will shout out for this, but it’s best to make sure he knows that you want to get dropped off here (he passes it before continuing on to Cañaveral). Camping and cabins here are a lot cheaper than other campsites and it’s a popular choice for Colombians, but it is quite a distance from the best beaches and safe swimming spots. You can however book in advance online for the main campsite – check availability and prices here.
Arrecife | We didn’t really like its long, wild, uncovered beach but the main campsite we visited on our way to see the beach was much larger and had much better, more modern facilities than Cabo San Juan (sorry we can’t remember the name, but its down as Zona Camping Sector Arrecifes Parque Nacional Tayrona on Google Maps!). Its also cheaper and less crowded than Cabo San Juan, but you’ll have to walk the trail for 20 – 60 mins to reach the best beaches. Passing the main camp and continuing on to the trail, there were then two smaller options which charged the same as San Juan but looked incredibly basic – only as a last resort we think. Sorry we can’t remember their names.
Cabo San Juan | The most popular campsite due to it proximity next to two lovely beaches which you can also swim at safely. Most backpackers will make a beeline for here, as we did, but just remember that it’s also the place that everyone else is heading to for their beach day in Tayrona. The prices at Cabo San Juan campsite were $40,000 (£9.5 / $12) for an outdoor hammock, 50,000 COP (£12 / $14) for the hammocks with a view (great location but would be very cold at night and far from toilets), a tent was 40,000 COP per person (£9.5 / $12), or a private shed (seriously) 200,000 COP (£47 / $61) for two people – that last price is not a typo.
February 2022 Update | Hammocks with mosquito nets now cost 50,000 COP, and the ones with a view have also increased in price. Hammocks, tents etc in Cabo San Juan can now be reserved online via WhatsApp (details on their Facebook page). You can find more information about this and the payment / confirmation process in the reader comments section at the end of this article – but note that we didn’t personally do this, so exercise due caution before transferring any money anywhere.
Outside the Park | There are a whole bunch of option, where you can spend the night (or longer) before or after your visit to Tayrona – see an overview of all the accommodation options based outside Tayrona here. The one that we really wanted to stay at was Tayrona Tented Lodge but it was fully booked on our dates.
Please note that these are the prices we paid and wrote down in March 2019, but please let us know in the comments once they increase so we can keep the post updated for future travellers! If you’d like to know the prices before entering the park, then your best bet is to ask at one of the various information and pre-booking points at the park entrance – however we don’t know if pre-booking is possible (or necessary) for the sites outwith Cabo San Juan.
If you have alternative suggestions on where to stay in Tayrona, then feel free to let us know in the comments too.
Hammock vs. Tent?
The next big decision for your time in Tayrona, which will also shape the first big decision of how many nights to stay in the park, is whether you’re going to sleep in a tent or hammock. Some of the campsites do have a handful of those small shed-like cabins for extortionate prices, but the vast majority of you will have to choose between a tent or hammock. .
Now, we have slept in many many hammocks on our travels (including on the Lost City Trek and in La Guajira in Colombia), and so it’s safe to say that all the romanticism about doing it is now gone! However please don’t let our misanthropy put you off the more romantic adventure visions you have about it. The good news is that the hammocks we slept in were large, sturdy, and (relatively) comfortable. In San Juan (and also at Arrecifes) campsites, the cheaper hammocks are all strung up in two or three rows in an open-sided shed structure sleeping 40-50 people. At Cabo San Juan, we received a hammock number once we presented our payment receipt at the desk and this also included a locker.
Did we get a good night’s sleep? Nope. Was it as good a night’s sleep as we expected? Yep.
Alternatively, you can rent one of the many pre-erected tents (stop giggling at the back there) for around the same price or a little bit cheaper depending on your campsite. These didn’t appeal to us (until our night in the hammock) but if you’re here for more than one night, then the tent may be the better option. However, the consensus does seem to be that they’re not the best or cleanest. They come with mats and we understand that it’s possible to rent sleeping bags (yuck) if you don’t have your own or a sleeping bag liner. Otherwise, just improvise with your nightclothes, towels, and backpack!
If you’re travelling with your own tent, then you can pay to pitch it for cheaper at all the campsites.