Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona is a magical slice of Colombia's Caribbean coast, with stunning stretches of golden sandy beach backed by coconut palms and thick rainforest. Behind it all rise the steep hillsides of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the world's highest coastal mountain range. The park stretches along the coast from the Bahía de Taganga near Santa Marta to the mouth of the Río Piedras, 35km east, and covers some 12,000 hectares of land and 3000 hectares of coral-rich sea.

The park gets extremely crowded in high season (December and January), and vicious currents mean that most of the gorgeous beaches aren't suitable for swimming, though you can take a dip and snorkel (with great care) at a select, safer few. Despite these issues, Tayrona is an immensely attractive place and one that's rewarding and exciting to explore.