When you read blog posts about traveling to Colombia, you will come across a recommendation of Palomino. Where is it, what is it, and if you are not going further east, is it really worth it? The answer is: it depends on what you are looking for. Here’s what Palomino is all about.
Palomino is this small (very small) village on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. It’s about 1,5h drive from Tayrona Park and more or less two hours from Santa Marta. It became nowadays a backpackers paradise with shops, restaurants and hostels along the main street and near the main entrance to the beach. But that’s it. It is still incredibly calm and very local.
The oasis of Zen
The few restaurants and hostels that you will find along the main street (that is not really a street, it’s a path in the sand) are very calm, not overcrowded, and definitely not aiming for parties. During the day there is a bit of life, but after dark, the village goes to sleep. Entirely. There is no noise, maybe besides the waves and some frogs from a lake nearby. It’s extremely peaceful.
Since the place is so calm and, let’s be honest, deserted, the beach is incredible! As long as you don’t stay next to the main entrance, you can be completely alone and that, nowadays, doesn’t have a price. It’s a perfect place to sit back, relax, read a good book, and gather some new energy before the ongoing travel.
The village has two small shops that will sell you basic things like a toothbrush and rice, but don’t expect to shop here. If you are cooking, bring food with you. If not, there are a few restaurants to choose from. There are no ATMs in Palomino, and you should know that cash is king in Colombia, so bring a lot of it.
Colombia in general is very underdeveloped. On the one hand, this is amazing, because a lot of places are still incredibly pure and unique, although there are some cons to that. For example, in Palomino, the electricity is a luxury, and even those who have it, might occasionally find themselves without it. And by occasionally, I mean every day for a few hours. If you spend a day on the beach, that’s fine, but when you are trying to sleep in a 34 degrees heat and your aircon just won’t work, it’s another story. Not to mention those that need wi-fi for work. So if you work and travel, consider bringing some back-up.
Where to stay
Casa del Pavo Real
It’s a hotel that has one dorm. It’s very close to the beach and a short walk from the “main street” of Palomino. The swimming pool is very refreshing after a day at the beach. The breakfast is delicious and the space is decorated with style. Super nice, and, I think, more comfortable than other hostels in the area.
Price: 17$ USD for a dorm bed
Address: Calle #10 / Km 72, Palomino. Map
Where to eat
Since Palomino nowadays is really just for tourists, it is difficult to find local eateries. But I can recommend this small fruit bar by the end of the main street. They have fresh fruit juices all day long (and they are so big that you might not need to eat afterward) and a large choice of Arepas. Try the coco lemonade, it’s amazing!
Address: Right after El Tropico on the right side coming from the beach. Map