El Cabo San Juan or Cape San Juan in English is a beautiful beach area that is located inside of Parque Tayrona, Colombia about 30 minutes outside of Santa Marta. El Cabo San Juan in Parque Tayrona is easily accessible from many parts of Colombia including Bogota and Medellin. Avianca has multiple flights every day to Santa Marta and you can find good bargains at various times of the year. In fact, I was able to purchase my round trip ticket for just over $100 USD. *You will need to purchase your ticket at a local Avianca office if you wish to avoid the excessive online fees for using foreign based credit cards.
- I used Ecolombia Adventours in Rodadero – (57) 301-705-5809 / (57) 314-521-8235 / email@example.com. They are located right next to the Santander Bank office and ATM located at Calle 9 No. 1-51 local 2 / Edificio Excalibur.
- The price for the trip to Parque Tayrona was $50,000 per person at the time (excluding park entrance fee – $35,000 for foreigners). The owners name is Guillermo Valencia Ramirez and he speaks perfect English after living in Miami for many years.
Day 9 – PARQUE TAYRONA:
The mini-bus stopped by at my hotel at 9:00 a.m. and picked me up. The ride to the entrance of Parque Tayrona took about 45 minutes including some traffic time getting out of Santa Marta. There was also another wait in line at the park entrance of about 30 minutes. After entering the park, the bus traveled about a half mile before we came to the parking area. The 1.5 hour walk into the park is a small adventure in itself as well as some medium level exercise on the often muddy trails. Horses do a lot of damage to the trail as they haul tourists and supplies in and out of the beach areas. Often times only a small sliver of a trail exists as you try not to walk through the muddy parts created by the horses. A few streams must be crossed as well during this hike into the park. Good foot gear is recommended. I saw a lot of Colombian tourists wearing aqua socks for the hike, which seems less than adequate for the terrain.
- It takes approximately one hour to get to the ocean at an area known as Arrecifes Beach. From there it takes another 30-45 minutes to reach Cabo San Juan. The trail is marked along the way with wooden sign posts that indicate your progress. There was a time or two when I was unsure of which way to go, but was quickly helped by the many people who are accessing the beach areas daily.
- There are many places to eat within the park. Prices are range from a little expensive to very affordable. Snack items and empanadas, fresh juice, etc are priced fairly. The main restaurant at Cabo de San Juan was on the high side, but the food looked excellent.
- TIP: There is a place to lock up your items at Cabo San Juan. However, you must have your own lock. This is a convenience when accessing the water.
- TIP: I also found out a boat service left at 10:30 a.m. every morning at Taganga and takes 40 minutes. However, it can be a rough ride if the weather is not optimal. The price was $40,000 one way, but could be had for $70,000 after bargaining for a round-trip.
- TIP: If you carry a cell phone into the park, it will have limited connection. However, you might want to pre-pack a quick seal plastic bag as it tends to rain in the park at times. Sunblock and a liter of water/Gatorade is also recommended. If you are camping and/or staying overnight, a strong insect repellent is advisable.
This article article is an excerpt from a longer travel report that included multiple destinations including Cabo de La Vela, Santa Marta and Parque Tayrona.