The top 5 most impressive national parks in Colombia

At WeDesignTrips local experts of tour operators help you to plan your individual Colombia trip without obligation.

You want to discover the breathtaking nature and wildlife of Colombia? Tapirs, sloths, jaguars, spectacled bears and Andean condors cross your path here. Colorful coral reefs, the dense Amazon rainforest, snow-capped Andean peaks, the home of indigenous tribes or the arid desert landscape are just waiting to be discovered by you. Which national parks you should not miss, our local experts have summarized for you.

1. Tayrona National Park

Beach in Tayrona National Park in Colombia

Beach in Tayrona National Park in Colombia

If you ask a Colombian for the most beautiful national park of his country, about 90 % of the people will answer with Tayrona National Park. The 150 km² national park on the Caribbean coast is probably the best known and most visited nature reserve in Colombia. The combination of beautiful beaches, undiscovered jungle and the breathtaking flora and fauna make the park an experience of a special kind.

Swim in crystal clear water in front of beautiful beaches and discover the diversity of the Caribbean underwater world while snorkeling and diving.

Follow the cultural footsteps of the Tayrona Indians who once lived in this area (the park is still home to some of their descendants).

Hike through the majestic jungle, marvel at coconut trees and giant cacti, and watch toucans, monkeys and coatis in the wild.

Enjoy the view of the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

by bus from Santa Marta or Palomino ca. 1 hour

Best time to travel

all year round; to protect nature the park is usually closed for a month (best to inform before your trip)

on the Caribbean coast near Santa Marta in the north of Colombia

Explore this and other national parks on your Colombia trip:

Travel idea Customizable – Colombia

Colombia intensive: 3 weeks active trip

Travel idea Customizable – Colombia

Colombia Round Trip: Pure Nature

Travel idea Customizable – Colombia

12-day round trip through Colombia's nature

2. SerranIa de la Macarena

The Serrania de la Macarena National Park, Colombia

The Serrania de la Macarena National Park, Colombia

In this national park the Amazon rainforest, the Andes mountains, the scrubland and the wet savannah meet and together they form the most biodiverse landscape on earth. Certainly the most famous part of the park and a must-see is the Cano Cristales or the River of Seven Colors. The water nymph, a plant found only here, transforms the river into a color explosion of red, yellow, green, blue, pink, black and white. To experience the National Park in all its facets, we recommend to book a guide.

Cano Cristales: See one of the most beautiful rivers in the world, which at certain times shines in all the colors of the rainbow.

2000 plants, 550 birds, 100 reptiles, 1200 insects and numerous other animals like anteaters, jaguars, deer and monkeys will cross your path here.

best starting point is the place La Macarena, which you reach via flight

Best time to visit

June to December for Cano Cristales

In the department of Meta in central Colombia

3. Los Nevados

Los Nevados National Park in Colombia

Los Nevados National Park in Colombia

Among the highlights of the nature reserve in the Andes are undisputedly the 5.300m high, snow-capped and still active volcano Nevado del Ruiz and the famous Cocora Valley. But also the surrounding landscape is not to be sneezed at. Colombia's third most visited national park also boasts seven other volcanoes, hot springs, the glacial lake Otún and endangered bird species such as Chapman's pygmy Amazon, Yellow-eared Parakeet and Violet-throated Hummingbird. Here you also benefit from guided tours.

Climb Santa Isabel (one of the seven other volcanoes besides Ruiz) and reach your limits hiking through the Andean highlands. Not for the faint hearted!

Visit the famous Cocora Valley and walk past giant wax palms sprouting from the ground like toothpicks, mystical cloud forest and green mountains.

Relax in the hot springs of the national park.

Hike past the picturesque floral landscapes characterized by mountain vegetation to the glacial meltwater lake Otun and observe endangered bird species.

Get your fill of sports like mountain biking, ice or rock climbing.