Palomino, the village up Colombia's Caribbean Coast
Palomino is small village along the Caribbean coast, just a 2 hour bus ride from Santa Marta. The bus stops you on the Riohacha highway at the main road junction of Palomino. Locals offer you a moto taxi to the beach area for just COP3000. Driving along the dirt road, Paolmino doesn’t look like much. Yet, when the motorbike dropped me off I discovered the gateway to a perfect long, white sandy beach with palm trees hanging over the ocean. With a scenic view of the Sierra Nevada Mountain on the other side, I knew Palomino was a great place to be.
Palomino is a great rest stop after doing the challenging Lost City trek and trust me you will need it! It is a spot where you can chill out on the beach at night and enjoy the vibe of the fire dancers and music; while chilling out at the bars on the beach. During the day, you can enjoy a relaxing lazy river tubing for just COP20000, where you get to go down a river in a floating ring for around an hour and a half. Or perhaps, if you feel like being more adventurous then you could opt for activities like rafting kayaks, trekking, canyoning and also mountain biking.
Being a relatively new backpacker area, most of Palomino is still under construction, many of which are going to be hostels. The beach area is by far the best spot to stay. You can find great hostels with a backpacker vibe like The Dreamer hostel and Tikihut which have beautiful gardens with a nice pool. They offer dormitory beds for COP40000. The pool is great to have, as the perfect looking beach is not so perfect after all. The currents are very strong and it is not recommended to swim, especially when the red flag is flying, which unfortunately is most of the time. However this makes it a great surfer destination. If you are on a very tight budget Tank’s hostel just opposite the Dreamer hostel offers hammocks for COP15000 or dormitory beds for just COP25000, it has no wifi unfortunately but is still good value for money.
The streets have no electricity and it is pitch dark at night while you are walking up the road searching for a restaurant to dine in, hence a torch is very useful to have. By day the roads become alive with simple grocer shops, fresh fruit stalls, accessory booths as well as street food stalls. No wonder why the streets smell of deep fried empanadas! If you have had too much empanadas, visit Leda, the name of a new restaurant and the person running it. Serving freshly made, healthy homemade food, Leda offers healthy breakfast options for just COP5000-7000 and lunch or dinner for just COP9000 including a fresh sugar cane juice. Make sure you try her saucy meat balls, definitely a dinner that makes you feel at home while away from home.
If you are planning a trip to Tyrona Park, Palomino is in a perfect position to do so as it’s only a 30 minute bus ride away for only COP8000. Make sure you stop in Palomino for your well deserved break after the lost city because Tyrona Park involves another 2 hours trekking, something you would be too tired o do!