Continue going east from Santa Marta and you’ll stumble across the gem that is Palomino — a small, laidback beach town situated on Colombia’s north coast.
Colombia can be a hectic place, but Palomino is a much welcome escape from that. As soon as you start walking down the dirt road, you feel the change in atmosphere and vibe.
Palomino feels safe, ‘tranquillo’ and a place where there’s nothing to worry about. A place where your days are spent eating delicious food and relaxing on the beach.
Get your bucket list ready. In this guide, we’ll show you the best things to do in Palomino and how to experience them.
Need help planning your trip? Check out our guide to visiting Palomino — you’ll find the best restaurants, where to stay, how to get around and more!
#1 Chill on Palomino’s beach
We’re going to put it out there straight away, Palomino’s beach probably isn’t going to be the best beach you’ve seen in your life. Due to erosion, the beach is slowly getting thinner and thinner.
That being said, it’s still a wonderful place to soak up the sun, relax and read a book.
Where to go on Palomino beach
With your back to Palomino town, head right along the beach. When you first enter the beach from the town it’s likely to be pretty busy with locals, vendors and sunbeds.
If you want to enjoy the true tranquillity that Palomino has to offer, then walk 10 minutes right along the beach.
Here, you’ll find some of the nicest stretches of beach with fewer people, more sand and plenty of shade.
#2 Take on Palomino’s waves
Palomino can be the perfect place to stay for a few weeks, learning how to surf. All throughout the year, but particularly in autumn, you’ll find some great waves in Palomino — whether you’re a pro-surfer or a beginner.
Dreamer Hostel offers surf lessons with a professional and experienced teacher. (It’s also an amazing hostel to stay in).
You can check out what they offer and send them a Whatsapp message to organise a lesson.
#3 Go tubing down the Palomino River
One of the most popular activities to do in Palomino has to be river tubing. You won’t struggle to find a tour, as the main street in Palomino is lined with tour agencies offering tubing day trips.
Tubing down the Palomino River is a wonderfully relaxing way to spend a few hours and take in the beautiful scenery of the Sierra Nevada.
What makes this tubing more special than other places is the grand finale… The Palomino Rover connects with the sea, so you’ll finish your adventure on the beach!
We’d also recommend bringing a few beers with you for the ride.
Which tubing tour should you choose?
There are two options available — 1.5 hour and 3 hours. The length you choose simply depends on how long you want to spend floating down the river.
Tours cost around 50,000 COP ($12.50) for the 3-hour tour and 45,000 COP ($11.00) for the 1.5-hour. Though with some strong haggling skills, you may be able to get the tubing for less.
#4 Make your own Palomino food tour
Palomino is a foodie’s heaven, something you probably wouldn’t expect from such a small town. Being so close to the sea, you can get some incredible seafood.
It also has a surprising range of cuisines. You can have everything from Colombian, Italian, French and Middle Eastern to Mexican.
For this reason, one of our favourite things to do in Palomino is simply eating our way through the town. Why not organise your own little food tour along the main street?
What are the best restaurants in Palomino?
In our guide to visiting Palomino, we recommended our three favourite places to eat. But here are a few more.
Head to The Paradise Fruit Juice for some fresh and delicious juice from the friendliest lady. Bikini Hostel Palomino has the best pastries. They go so fast, you sometimes have to reserve one if you want it in the evening. La Panderia Francesca is another great place for pastries — it almost makes you feel like you’re in France.
#5 Catch the best sunset at the mouth of the San Salvador River
Sunset anywhere along Palomino beach is beautiful. The sky lights up a vibrant orange and a peacefulness enfolds across the sand.
If you want to find the perfect spot for sunset then head down to the mouth of the San Salvador River. It’s likely that there won’t be many people here, so you can get the sunset all to yourself.
The walk to the mouth of the San Salvador River takes around 50 minutes. It’s a stunning and relaxing walk along the beach.
Top Tip: Bring bug spray! As soon as the sun begins to set in Palomino, the mosquitos come out in full force.
Rounding it up
Now you’ve picked the best things to do in Palomino, it’s time to start ticking off that bucket list. Not sure how to plan your trip? Our guide is here to help! You’ll find out how long to stay in Palomino, where to eat, how to get around and more. Happy planning!
For a small beach town, Palomino offers some incredible accommodation options. Lots of them are situated right on the beach, so you can wake up to the sound of waves.
The most popular hotels do get booked up quite quickly, so if you find somewhere you like, better book it straight away.
Let’s check out some of the best places to stay in Palomino:
Senda Casalina Ecolodge - Treating Yourself
When you think of luxury, a place like Senda Casalina pops into your head. The huge canopy bed, waking up to the sound of waves and nature all around you. You can have that at Senda Casalina!
The onsite restaurant serves some of the best food that you’ll try in Colombia. They even make their own homemade bread every morning for breakfast. Make sure to book this place in advance because it’s pretty high in demand.
- Moments from the beach
- Outdoor bathrooms in beach bungalows
- Incredible onsite restaurant
- Delicious breakfast included
Double rooms cost $80+ per night
Casa Chapolin - Mid Range
Staying at Casa Chapolin feels like more than just sleeping in a room, it’s an experience. Whether you stay in a beach-front bungalow or a luxury double room, you won’t want to leave.
The hotel is only moments from the beach and also has its own restaurant and fitness centre. The owners add a personal touch to the hotel, instantly making you feel at home. This is a must-stay in Palomino!
- Minutes from the beach
- Beachfront bungalows
- Fitness centre
- Exceptional breakfast included
Double rooms cost between $40-$80 per night
Villa Eden Palomino - Budget Friendly
Book Villa Eden in advance and you can get an incredible deal to stay here. Rooms start from $30 per night if you book early.
The whole hotel oozes tropical vibes, with the thatched roofs and natural decor. The refreshing pool and garden area are the perfect places to spend the day relaxing.
You’ll be excited to return to your room each night because they are so beautifully designed and tranquil.
- Stunning outdoor pool
- Less than 1 km from the beach
- Beautiful rooms
- Delicious breakfast included
Double rooms cost between $20-$40 per night
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