The distance between Cartagena to the Tayrona Park entrance is about 155 miles (250 km). To get to Tayrona park, you'll first have to get to Santa Marta, the largest city near the national park. There are no direct flights from Cartagena to Santa Marta or Barranquilla, so going by private transfer is the best option as it is the most direct.
You can also take a group shuttle or a public bus, but you'll have to take an additional 40-minute boat ride to the park entrance.
If you have more time and want to hit the highlights of Colombia's north coast, consider this 10-day itinerary that includes tours of white-sand beaches, sailing trips, and a tour of a coffee farm.
By Private Transfer
Duration: 4.5 hours
The fastest way to get to Tayrona is by hiring a private driver in Cartagena. Some hotels will call drivers to come and pick you up at the door, or you can find one yourself in the center of town. A driver can take you directly down National Route 90 to the entrance of the park.
By Group Shuttle
Duration: 5 hours
This is the most convenient option for larger groups as the shuttles carry up to 20 passengers. Make sure you choose a shuttle with door to door service and check that your route goes all the way to the park entrance as there are only a few of these trips available each day.
The shuttle will take a bit longer than a private transfer as you'll have to pick up and drop off the other passengers on the route.
By Bus and Boat
Duration: 7 hours
There are a number of public bus companies that offer routes from Cartagena to Santa Marta, and there are a few departures every hour. The bus station in Cartagena is about eight miles (12 km) from the city center. To reach it, take a private transfer. Your bus will take about six hours to reach Santa Marta.
Once you arrive in the city, head to the dock in order to book a ticket for a short boat ride that will take you directly into the park in about 40 minutes.