Palomino in Colombia. Visiting Paradise.
This little piece of paradise will take you back to another time.
Although Wi-Fi is accessable, the atmosphere and vibe of the place is so different from the modern tourist towns we have become used to.
No hi-rise, Little traffic, no traffic lights, , and secluded B&B’s .
This place is a breath of fresh air for any traveller over visiting the same old, same old tourist towns.
Santa Marta, if you have no car, Is the gateway to this part of the Caribbean.
Buses run at set times throughout the day to Palomino.
Make your way to the Mercado Publico de Santa Marta, the best way to get there is to grab a taxi, and tell your driver you are going to Palomino, and he will drop you in the right area.
The buses from Santa Marta only goes as far as Riochaca, costs are about $10,000 – $20,000 COP ($8.00 – $20.00), Torcoroma and Unitransco bus companies run hourly services.
Copetran goes once a day and Rapido Ochoa runs 4 services a day.
To go further up along the coast you need to hire a taxi, which should only cost you between $50,000 – $70,000 COP, return. The better option would be to hire a car or motor bike in Santa Marta and travel to your own timeline.
From Santa Marta, it is an easy drive, less than 4 hours.
Our Starting Point.
Our preference was to stay a couple of days in Santa Marta and link up with Germain ( who runs Kashi Moon accomodation), in Palomino.
We had also arranged for him to take us on a tour of the region around and North of Palomino.
Try to Go Prepared
As well as taking in the sights , sounds, and nightlife of Santa Marta, it was convienent for buying what ever we needed. Beach towels, hats and sunscreen. Board shorts. if you left yours at home, these can be bought here.
Palomino is the perfect place to use as a base for further excursions along the Northern Caribbean coast and experience something truly unique. .
So lets begin at the BORA BORA beach club, which is above Palomino and right on the Caribbean sea.
It is totally unlike the other Bora Bora club shown in the photo below.
This BORA BORA is the popular Beach Club on the Isle Del Rosario, where on weekends boatloads of people travel from Cartagena to relax and party.
The Other Bora Bora,
IS Above Riohacha in the La Guajira department in Northern Colombia. Long inhabitated by the Amerindians of the Wayuu ethnic group.
In the past Riohacha was a place where it was easy to find pearls in the harbour, and the city was a magnet for English, pirates (Sir Francis Drake being the most famous ), who would raid the place looking for Pearls and Gold.
The landscape above Riohaca becomes almost desert like. Mostly Inhabited by goats ( and a few people), you are off the main tourist track.
Although this is changing as more people expand their horizons on their visit to Colombia.
Like the other Bora Bora it is situated along the Caribbean coast, with one difference, this one is accessable by vehicle.
But why come here?
- Uncrowded Beaches
- Clear tropical waters
- A changing Desert Landscape
- Flamingo Sanctuary
- Sand Dunes that meet the sea
- Wind Surfing
- Beach Parties
- Family fun
- Seculed Beaches
- Original Traditational Handcrafts
- Friendly People
- Historical Sites
- I never looked for boat hire and diving.
- I think this is enough to start.
A typical tropical beach, with the remenants on life washed ashore by the high tide. Seashells which were (are), homes to critters and sea grass lay along the tidal reach.
The water is clear but like all open water that is offering an invitation, if you cannot swim be careful and stay near the shoreline.
This is basically the end (or it could be the beginning), of what is becoming a popular backpacker trail. Starting at either Cartagena or Santa Marta.
Unlike the other Bora Bora there is more to do here than layabout, drink alcohol and swim.
And you can still get refresments.
There is more to see and do along the coast line above Riohacha.
Coming back towards Santa Marta there is the Flamingo Santuary. Located in a huge tidal lagoon near Camarones
Getting out to view them is by sail boat. Not your average sail boat, but a dugout sail boat.
The Flamingos comingos coming into view.
They are passing us.
Why Towels on your head?
Someone forgot the hats and sunscreen.
Actually that is another story.
Note: the people who live in this harsh enviroment are the poorest of the poor, If they approach with items to sell, be polite.
The items they sell are handcrafted and colorful, all done in the traditional manner. For what they are asking you are getting a bargain.
An esky with ice comes in handy if you like prawns.
Germain somehow managed to produce one and we bought enough to fill a small esky and take back home with us where we had Prawns Colombiano, Prawns Australiano, and curried prawns.
Palomino is a must visit. For the past 5 or 6 years it has been slowly developing, as more tourists realise the uniqueness of the area. Only100klms from desert you are in rain forest, from where you can see snow capped mountains.
From Wikipedia. Palomino’s paradise attracts a low number of tourists even though the jungle landscape is exotic, there is vast biodiversity, and the beaches are white and uninhabited.
Palomino is close to the entrance to Sierra Nevada National Park and close to the Resguardo Indigena, or Indian Reserve area. Especially popular is tubing down the Palomino River.
The Kashi Moon Hostel is at the end of a lane way away from the noise of the main street.
Photo from inside the gate. It was Senor Germain’s cat that encouraged this shot.
Why Stay Here?.
No Car?, No problem. Host Snr. Germain runs ( no rush), tours in his 4×4
Car Parking inside the Hostal grounds
New spacious units, seperate bath and shower. Seperate Showers to wash the sand and salt off before going to your unit.
Personalised friendly service
Very Competitive rates
Suitable for visitors of all age groups
Visit the indigenous people of Tuquenca and learn more about their culture (about 45minutes away).
There are 4 tribes ( Kogi, Arhuaco, Wiwa and Kankuamo ), who have seperate tribal areas in the Sierra Nevada. Not all are able to be accessed by tourists. We were lucky as Germain has permits from the tribes that allow him to enter some tribal areas see video below.
Tubing in the River.
A Go- Pro is useful here, as you could see monkeys or Toucans in the trees along the river bank as you meander down the river.
Waterproof bags to carry your things can be purchased in Palomino if you forgot to get one in Santa Marta. Generally you can buy one from who-ever you hired a tube from.
Excellent Photography Opportunities
Kids can be Kids.
Adults can relax on the beach, or, surfboards can be hired and surfing lessons given
Santa Marta (Again)
Santa Marta is South Americas oldest European Town. As well as being a busy working port it is also the gateway to many of the best destinations in Colombia.
- Tayrona National Park and its excellent beaches and lanscapes
- Lost City of The Sierra Nevada
- And of course the Caribbean Coast to Riohaca and beyond.
You can contact Snr. Germain here.
Or by Phone. +57 300 2028810
For Planning your Itinerary go here
As usual, I am at :- firstname.lastname@example.org
Santa Marta and Palomino are often tagged as unsafe because of there past. I have not had any problems in either of them. ( I have visited Santa Marta 3 times over 4 years ), One small issue with a Canadian near the beach this year, but that was a no issue really.
I met some Venezulean youths in Santa Marta this time and I enjoyed their company for a short while. I do not think it any more unsafe than many other cities / towns in the world.
Do a google search if you are unsure. My eyeballs tell me backpackers and retirees are increasing, even with all the trouble next door in Venezuela.
I did learn, that Venezuelans speak an older style of Spanish than other South American countries.
The night life in Santa Marta is more on the scale of a large town than a big city, and with many party hostals popping up all over the place, you have lots of choices as to where you party.
The markets and out door dining scene around Parque de los Novios is a great place to visit on Friday and Saturday nights and the street performers are always worth listening to, or watching. Don’t forget to put some pesos in the hat or tray.