Found in Northern Colombia, Tayrona National Park is most often accessed via nearby Santa Marta. From the entrance, you can catch the shuttle bus to venture farther into the park or walk a couple of miles (3 km) to your accommodation. If you are headed from Riohacha or Palomino, you'll want to get a bus headed in the direction of Santa Marta and depart near the park entrance.
If you want to explore the coast at length, consider this eight-day itinerary. It's packed with activities, including hiking through Tayrona, visiting a coffee farm, joining a fishing trip, and then relaxing on the stunning Rosario Islands.
From Bogotá to Santa Marta
Duration: 1.5-hour flight or 22-hour bus ride
Your best option from Bogotá to the National Park is to fly to Santa Marta. Several non-stop domestic direct flights leave from El Dorado International (BOG) Airport in Bogotá to Santa Marta, the city closest to Minca with an airport.
Direct flights are around an hour and a half in duration. Simón Bolívar International Airport (SMR) is the airport serving Santa Marta. The airport is located 10 miles (16 km) south of downtown Santa Marta. Taxis are readily available for hire in the ground transportation area of the airport. There are no meters, so negotiate a fare with the driver before starting your journey. There is an inexpensive bus service available from the airport terminal to Santa Marta.
If you want to ride the bus from anywhere from 17 to 22 hours, you'll want to depart from Terminal de Transporte de Bogotá Salitre. This bus station is about 6 miles (10 km) northwest of the Candelaria neighborhood. Buses usually arrive in Santa Marta anywhere from 17 to 22 hours, depending on road conditions.
From Medellín to Santa Marta
Duration: 2-14 hours to Santa Marta
The best option to get from Medellín to Tayrona National Park is to fly to Santa Marta. There are two airports in Medellín; Jose Marie Cordova Airport (MDE) and Enrique Olaya Herrera (EOH) Airport. The airport Jose Marie Cordova Airport (MDE) offers direct routes to the city of Santa Marta, with direct flights at 1 hour and 15 minutes. Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport (EOH) in Medellín offers multi-city stops with most layovers in Bogotá, so MDE is a better option for flying.
As for buses, there are no direct routes that leave directly from Medellín to Tayrona National Park. Instead, you'll want to catch the buses from Medellín from the Terminal del Norte bus station to Santa Marta. This is a long 13-plus hours of travel.
From Cartagena to Santa Marta
Duration: 4-7 hours to Santa Marta
There are no direct flights from Cartagena to Santa Marta or Barranquilla, so going by public bus or a shuttle is the best option. The Cartagena to Santa Marta route usually takes 5 to 6 hours via bus. Door-to-door shuttle services are also available that will take you directly to the National Park. Private transfers are recommended over self-driving, though it can be an expensive option at this distance.
From Santa Marta to Tayrona
Duration: 30 minutes to 1 hour
Options from Santa Marta are taking a private transfer or taking a boat. A private transfer takes about half an hour, while the trip by sea lasts about 40 minutes and leaves you directly in Cabo San Juan del Guia.
You can also take the public bus from the Santa Marta terminal or from behind the central market in Santa Marta. They leave roughly every half hour. Buses operate all day and will take you directly to the park's entrance. You'll arrive at the entrance called "El Zaíno" between 45 minutes to one hour. From El Zaíno, catch the shuttle bus to venture farther into the park or walk a few kilometers to your accommodation.