Tayrona National Natural Park is located in the Caribbean natural region along the northern coast of Colombia. Situated in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta as they meet the coast of the Caribbean Sea, it is Colombia's second most visited National Park.
Tayrona National Natural Park
Tayrona National Natural Park is located in the Caribbean Natural Region along the northern coast of Colombia, in the jurisdiction of the Santa Marta municipality, Department of Magdalena. It is Colombia's second most visited National Park after San Bernardo Corals National Natural Park.
Established in 1974, Tayrona National Natural Park has an area of 150 sq km (15,000 ha) or 58 sq mi (37,000 acres) and is situated in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta as they meet the coast of the Caribbean Sea. In addition, the park covers approximately 30 sq km (12 sq mi) of maritime area. Elevation ranges from sea level to 900 m (2,950 ft.
Tayrona is named after the ancient Tairona people who settled here thousands of years ago. While the park is managed by the Colombian government, it is still under the purview of the Kogi people, direct descendants of the Tairona, which still reside in traditional thatched-roof huts nestled deep in the Sierra Nevadas. They subsist off the land and trade with outsiders when necessary.
There is archaeological evidence of ancient human settlements in the area of the park up until the 16th century.
Tayrona National Park's main beaches include:
- Playa Cristal
- Playa Cañaveral
- Playa Arenilla
- Playa Arrecifes
- Playa Cabo de San Juan
Bays and coves include:
Snorkeling, scuba diving, and trekking in the mountain foothills are popular activities.
The biodiversity found in Tayrona National Natural Park is endemic to the area of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range. Colombia has over 340 endemic species and 44 of those are located here.
Wildlife in the park includes over 105 species of mammals, 15 species of amphibians, 31 species of reptiles, 15 species of amphibians, 202 species of sponges, 471 species of crustaceans, 96 species of annelids, 700 species of mollusks, 110 species of corals and 401 species of sea and river fish.
There are over 70 species of bats. Mammals include the Mantled howler, deer, and the oncilla.
The park's 300 species of birds include the montane solitary eagle, the military macaw, the black-backed antshrike, the white-bellied antbird, and the lance-tailed manakin.
There are more than 350 algae and more than 770 species of plants.
The marine part of the National Park protects the country’s Caribbean coral reef. There are two other protected coral reefs however, Tayrona is the only national park. The coral reef features 110 species of corals, 202 species of sponges, 700 species of mollusks, and over 400 species of sea and river fish.
The variety of climates and geography present in Tayrona National Natural Park range from arid sea level to 900 m (2,950 ft) above sea level. Temperatures in the park and surrounding area range from 27 to 35 °C (81 to 95 °F) at sea level.