Tayrona National Park is located on the Colombian Atlantic coast a few kilometres from Santa Marta. The park’s boundaries extend from just beyond the bay of Taganga to where the Piedras River opens out into the sea. The National Park covers an area of 15,000 hectares, 75% of which are of land and the remaining are marine. The climate here oscillates between temperate and hot with an average temperature of 25 to 30ºC. One of the main entries to the Park is found at El Zaino, 34km from Santa Marta, from here one can gain access to the bays, natural beaches, coral reefs, mangroves, mountains and exuberant vegetation found within. Many types of animal inhabit this area including more than 100 mammals, 200 birds and numerous reptiles. It makes up part of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a mountain range separate from the Andes that makes for a unique ecosystem that rises up from sea level where there are beaches of fine white sand before passing through tropical forests to snowcapped altitudes of 5,770MAMSL.

In Tayrona National Park there are various archaeological sites that prove the existence of ancient cultures such as the Tayrona city of “Chairama” (in the indigenous language) or Pueblito, where experts believe that a community of at least 400 indigenous people thrived in the pre-Columbian period. Today there are still points of interest sacred to the Koguis, Arhuacos and Arsarios people. These tribes are all descended from the ancient Tayrona people who were one of the most advanced pre-Columbian tribes to have lived over the centuries in the Sierra Nevada.  

These towns and cities were joined by Stone pathways which extended from populous mountainsides up to the peaks in the Sierra. They consisted of circular windowless houses with stone terraces, palm roofs and painted with whitewash. The real accomplishment of engineering were the cities that were built upon terraces that were first used for agricultural purposes and then later for homes. These resourceful people channelled the mountain streams through their homes and through their crops to be sure to prevent any land and soil erosion. 

The beaches of Arrecifes, La Piscina, Cabo de San Juan del Guía and Castilletes are within reach from Cañaveral as well. These beaches are all very distinct, some with still inviting waters, others with turbulent surf and thick with vegetation but all making the visitor feel as if he or she has been transported to another world, one of savage yet paradisaical scenery.  

In the park itself there are many opportunities to enjoy such activities as mini treks, snorkelling, bird watching, kayaking, horse rental or just contemplate nature.