09 May 2018

Why Include Palomino in Your Colombia Travel Plans

Posted in Blog

If pristine beaches, natural springs, and a laid-back location are your thing, then it’s a great idea to include Palomino in your Colombia travel plans. A small town located on the Caribbean coast, Palomino is where many artisans, farmers, and fishermen and women make a living from what they create, harvest and catch. Although Palomino has gained some popularity in recent years, it remains an excellent place to get away and enjoy nature at its best. 

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It's Worth the Trip Along the Scenic Coast

The most popular route to Palomino is from Santa Marta, Colombia a historic city in the Magdalena department of Colombia. While some choose to travel by shared taxi or private car, Palomino is also accessible by moderately-priced buses that depart every half-hour so near the Mercado Publico (Centro). Typically, the marquee will show, “Tayrona,” as the buses to popular Tayrona National Park pass Palomino en route. While the winding road along the scenic coast provides some gorgeous views of the bright blue Caribbean Sea and untouched, white-sand beaches, pay attention, as the stop in Palomino may be quick. Once you depart the bus, a moto taxi or car can take you off the main road towards the popular beach area, which boasts a vast shoreline dotted with fincas, homestays, and hostels.

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There's a Vibe of Many Tribes

Palomino is located very close the Sierra Nevadas, a range of lush, tall, tropical mountains where four ethnic tribes once lived in large numbers. Many members of these tribes, including the Arhuaco, Kankuamo, Kogi, and Wiwa, still live in and around Palomino. Along the main road, visitors occasionally encounter the indigenous people from these tribes, with some offering beautiful works of arts and handmade crafts, such as woven bags and musical instruments. While their native language may be difficult to grasp, the tribespeople often sell their wares, which usually make great souvenirs as a purchase will help support their families.

Take a Tube Ride on the Rio Palomino

Tubing down the Palomino River is an adrenaline-inducing adventure and a fun way to spend a day outdoors among nature while enjoying spectacular views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Though it is completely possible to bring your own tube, it's recommended that you go with a group or a tour; at around $10 USD for a guided trip (plus tube rental for the day, around $2 USD each), tubing is an inexpensive way to enjoy the day. While many tubers opt to bring drinking water and snacks, it's advised that everyone use a bit of sunscreen for the extra-bright hours of exposure. Be mindful of your camera or cell phone if you bring it, as the rapids can move swiftly and water + digital devices sometimes = misfortune. Go early to beat the crowds, or opt for a later session, when you may get lucky and catch a few afternoon breezes.

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Hike to Beautiful Springs and Waterfalls

About a 30-minute drive from Palomino, you'll find Quedraba Valencia Park, which features a beautiful-but-secluded refreshing mountain spring surrounded by rich jungle greens and tall, thick-trunked trees. As you hike in from the main road, you'll notice plenty of flora and fauna along the path which will guide you to the popular (only sometimes overcrowded), simple, stunning spot. On extra-hot days, nothing beats swimming in crystal clear water or balancing on rocks next to a stunning waterfall. While the hike from the road to the spring averages 20 minutes and is a moderate grade, it is only slightly challenging for most. For hikers who prefer more of a workout before their cool dip in nature, there is another waterfall located further away, about another 20-minute walk from the first. Sources who have visited say that either spring and the park overall are definitely worth the effort.

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About the author:

Kate Dana is a teacher, writer and traveler with five years' experience living abroad currently seeking new opportunities in coaching and training while staying connected with friends around the world. Find her online at www.katedana.com