Palomino is a town with a special character. The beauty of the town are the houses on the main street, the river and the mountains. It is also considered a site of high cultural value. Palomino is a strategic point to enjoy a unique landscape in Colombia and the world. While it might have been an unknown destination a few years ago, the masses have discovered Palomino. During Christmas/New year High season expect to have a lot of company and massive competition for accommodation.
In Palomino can see the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Meanwhile your stay in Palomino, you may encounter Indians and fishermen doing their daily work. You can find the indigenous groups down to Palomino for sale and purchase products. This also makes it an interesting destination for people who want to see the customs of the indigenous cultures of the Sierra Nevada.
As of October 2021 Palomino has become a destination of somewhat alternative backpackers.
As of Feb 2021, there are no ATMs in Palomino, so you may want to bring cash.
You can arrive by public transport (bus, minibus and taxi) or private car. You should take the main highway of the Caribbean via Santa Marta - Riohacha. Palomino is located at kilometer 72.
From Santa Marta you can go:
- From the Terminal de Transporte. Prices are COP$17,000–29,000 (Sept 2021). The serving intercity bus companies are for example Expreso Brasilia, Unitransco and Rapido Ochoa. You can ask if your desired departure is with air con. The approximate travel time is 1 hour 45 minutes.
- From the Plaza de Mercado. These are the medium sized white buses. You can enter and exit them anywhere on the route. From Santa Marta to Palomino is COP$10,000 (Sept 2021) and without air con. They run every 15 min and depart from both Santa Marta and Palomino until around 18:00. If you want to enter the bus in Santa Marta en route, it goes from the Plaza de Mercado on Calle 11, then Carrera 16 and then along the Avenida del Libertador.
From Riochacha and Barranquilla buses depart from the respective Terminal for around COP$23,000 (Sept 2021) or COP$48,000 (Sept 2021) respectively.
- Tubing on the river Palomino
- Surfing and bodyboarding
- Ecological walk into the heart of the Sierra Nevada
- Visit to indigenous communities as Seiviaka, Gumake, Kasakumake among others.
- Relax in a hammock overlooking the sea.
- See the snow-capped mountain top at the western town exit or at the bridge over the River Palomino. It's mostly snowy in the early morning at 5 and 6 o'clock.
The beach in Palomino itself is mostly gone. Walking up the Carrera 6, there is a small accessable beach.
You need to take Carrera 8 for a bigger variety of beaches. From there you can have a somewhat adventurous walk to the Rio San Salvador. The river is famous for its virginity and exotic wildlife.
There is also a small beach at the mouth of the Rio Palomino. You can get there by tubing down the river or by walking along the Carrera 1. Take care of the strong currents where the river flows into the Caribbean sea.
There is no ATM in Palomino (Feb 2021). In Mingueo 20 km east there is a Bancolombia with ATM. You can make a round-trip with a Mototaxi for COP$10,000 (Feb 2021) or with a taxi.
As of Oct 2021 the meat quality in the small shops is not that good. On the Highway 90 is a butcher's shop.
In the center along the Carrera 6, there are restaurants with dishes from COP$10,000 (Oct 2021).
1 Local simple restaurant. It's good tasting and offers dishes with meat for COP$6,000 (Oct 2021). With fish it's COP8,000 (Oct 2021). Adding a soup and drink is COP$2,000 extra. They serve until 15:30.
On the Highway 90 is a 2 food stall until noon. It sells a good tasting rice dish and drink for COP$3,000 altogether (Oct 2021).
On Carrera 6 you find empanadas and cheese sticks for COP$2,000 (Oct 2021).
A good amount of street food you find in the evening along the Highway 90 between Carrera 2 and 7. It's for the usual Colombian prices, for example empanadas and cheese sticks for COP$1,000 (Oct 2021). The street food is especially good at 3 two food stalls in the evening. They are in front of the Tienda Punto Frio until 22:00.
On the Highway 90 is a 4 King of Kings. They serve:
• Salchipapas from COP$7,000 (Oct 2021)
• hamburgers from COP$9,000 (Oct 2021)
• hot dogs from COP$5,000 (Oct 2021)
• a whole pizza from COP$10,000 (Oct 2021)
• and more.
They have a menu card with prices, so it's easier to choose. It's open until 22:30.
On the Highway 90 you can find a 5 bakery with delicious pizza. One slice is for COP$1,500-2,000 (Oct 2021). They also have a very good cheese braid for COP$2,000 (Oct 2021).
The tourism infrastructure is being rapidly developed to meet the demands of the high season crowds, so you should be able to find plenty hostels offering cabanas, rooms and hammocks along the road to the beach.
- 1 The Dreamer Hostel. Reservations should be made in advance. A few meters from the beach, with a pool, pool table.
- 2 Tiki Hut Hostal. Cabanas opposite the "Dreamer Hostal" in second row with a small nice pool.
- 3 La Sirena Eco Hotel & Yoga. A little further along the beach the famous yoga hotel offers decent rooms.
Along the ocean road
Hostels and private rooms are available in all these places:
- Riohacha – a town at the beach and surrounded by a desert. 90km in the east.
- Tayrona National Park — an unspoilt natural paradise of jungle, birds, ocean, and absolutely gorgeous beaches.
- On the Highway 90 that goes south of the national park, you can stay in El Zaino, Calabazo, Los Naranjos and Las Tinajas. No entry fee is needed along the highway and in the villages there.
- Santa Marta
- Taganga - a backpacker and hippie haven in a one-time peaceful little fishing village
- Minca – less hot as it's 580m above sea level towards the mountain top Cuchilla San Lorenzo
- Guachaca – less touristy and at a river 32km in the west. The beaches near Guachaca are still intact.
- Buritaca also at a river 25km in the west.
- Dibulla 36km and Camarones 72km in the east