Palomino in La Guajira
Road trip!!!….No, a road trip it was actually not supposed to be but it then kind of turned out to be one anyway. Actually I only wanted to spend some relaxed days on the Colombian coast, what at first worked out perfectly fine. My destination on the Caribbean coast this time was not as usually Santa Marta, Cartagena or the Tayrona Park but Palomino in La Guajira a small village a little further up North.
The Departamento La Guajira starts right after the Tayrona Park im Parque Nacional in the Natural Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and stretches up to the top of Colombia. Northeast it borders with Venezuela. La Guajira is inhabited by plenty of different indigenous tribes. The most famous due to their handcrafted bags are the Wayhuu. The colourful bags, backpacks and hammocks made by the Wayhuu cannot only be bought in La Guajira but in almost entire Colombia
How to get there?
Plenty of different flight companies go from Medellin to Santa Marta. You can go for the cheap flight Airline Vivacolombia, Avianca or for example LAN. The same arrives for a trip starting from Bogota. From Santa Marta you can take the same bus like the one going to Tayrona Park. The costs for the bus are 8.000 COP. The journey to Palomino takes just a little more than 2 hours. On the way to this lovely piece of paradise you will most likely get amazed by the beautiful landscape. The sea palm tree, banana plantations, mountains and the jungle make this trip a beautiful experience. When you arrive in Palomino you can either take a Mototaxi for a few Pesos in direction of the beach as there are almost all the hostels located. Or you can just simply walk. I wanted to try different hostels when I was there hence I will give you three different type of hostels to choose from. One hostel for each budget:
For Budget traveler: Finca Escondida
For all travellers and Backpackers that live on a budget and dont want to spend too much money on accommodation I would suggest the very beautiful, relaxed and directly at the beach located Finca Escondida. The Finca Escondida offers dormitories and double bedrooms in Cabanas. There is also the possibility to sleep in either a tent or a hammock. The food is cheap and good. If you don’t want to over bend your budget this is your place. When I was there a hammock cost 15,000 COP and a double bedroom 50,000 COP
Mid-price: Tiki Hut Hostel
The Tiki Hut Hostel is a detailed and wonderfully planned hostel located only few meters from the beach. The little Cabañas are made of bamboo and are equipped with an open bathroom. As additional luxury the hostel has a pool for people who can’t find the beach anymore after too many beers on the day before. The owners are very friendly and helpful and made my stay as pleasant as possible. Maybe the price is even a little above the mid-price range a Cabañas with space for 2-4 people cost 140.000 COP and a bed in a dormitory is at 35.000 COP
Upper price class: Playa Mandala
3 days I stayed in the beautiful Hotel Playa Mandala in a Cabana right at the beach. A great vibe, the friendliness of Luca`s the owner and his friends that invited me for Tequila the last day, so that I could continue my journey with a hangover and Diana’s incredible cooking skills made these 3 days simply perfect. Additionally they recommended me to go to Cabo de La Vela and eventually my road trip started….to be continued.
Beach, Attractions and Things to do
Palomino itself is just a small village and not really worth to mention. It is the incredibly beautiful beach that makes Palomino a great place to spend some quiet days. The beach is wide and stretches over kilometres mounted with palm trees. Here you can spend beautiful hours sun bathing, surfing or enjoying some drinks at the lovely little beach bar. If you want to relax this is definitely the right place.
Palomino is not very well known especially among the Colombians compared to other tourist attractions on the Caribbean coast like Cartagena, Tayrona and Santa Marta and this is how it happens that you will most likely find more backpackers here than Colombians. Only during High season in January and December you will find a few more Colombians as well.
Right at the end of the street at the beginning of the beach where most of the hostel can be found is a very chilled beach bar owned by a lovely couple from Bogota. At this relaxed place you can get nice cocktails and a surprisingly good Pizza. I personally spent a all my night at the bar and enjoyed my time with plenty of Mojitos and rum.
The beach of Palomino is located between two river outfalls, the Rio Cañas and the Rio lagarto which end in the sea and create picturesque scenery. For the adventurers you can also let yourself drift down the rivers with inflatable hoops.
Just few minutes from Palomino after the capital of La Guajira Rio Hacha you can watch some pink Flamingos which unfortunately weren’t there due to drought when I was there.
Quebrada de Valencia
Just 20 minutes in the direction of Tayrona is the waterfall “Quebrada de Valencia” located. When you are lucky enough which I wasn’t (due to drought, 6 months no rain) you can take a swim in the small pool in the jungle of La Guajira.
Cabo de La Vela/ Punta Gallina
Book a trip to the end of Colombia to Cabo de La Vela. Beautiful dunes, crystal clear water and cheap lobster are only some of the reasons why you should definitely visit this place