9 Awesome things to do in Palomino

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Palomino is one of the best destinations in Colombia to discover. It is located on the Caribbean coast, where you can enjoy magnificent beaches. Palomino is perfect for all types of travelers because you can choose to do nothing and enjoy the Caribbean coast. Or if you like to be active, there are plenty of things to do in Palomino and its surroundings. Palomino is diverse and not touristy, therefore you should definitely visit it.

Do you want to know more about what to do in Palomino. Then you are on the right page. In this article, you can read what the best 9 activities are, where you need to stay, great places to eat, and more Palomino tips.

palomino palm tree

Things to do in Palomino?

Palomino is a small village along the coast. Although it is not large, there are plenty of fun things to do in Palomino. Palomino can be but doesn’t have to be a typical beach destination. You can make it as active as you want by doing one or more activities. Read below our 9 recommended activities to do in Palomino, Colombia.

Tip: before you arrive in Palomino, it is recommended to bring enough cash with you because you can’t withdraw money in Palomino.

Tip: use the map below to see where Palomino’s best things are located. Click on the top right corner to enlarge the map. If you click on the star symbol next to the title, you can save this map to your Google Maps account. You can show or hide different categories on the map. You can use this map to navigate when you are in Palomino.

#1 Go tubing in Palomino

Palomino is located between the Caribbean Sea and the jungle of Sierra Nevada which is amazing. In Sierra Nevada you see high mountains with snow on the tops. The river from the mountain to the sea is great to go tubing because the water flows very fast.

Tubing is an activity where you sit on an inflated inner tube of a tractor tire and let yourself be carried away by the current of the river. Normally floating on the water is not an activity that makes our heart beat faster but in Palomino this is different. Because of the location and speed of the water, you can enjoy a fun activity here.

The nice thing about this activity is that you discover the jungle of Colombia in a relaxed way. First of all, you hike deep into the jungle to the point where you enter the water. Once on the water, you can see various animals such as monkeys and snakes.

You must start this activity at least before 07:00 am because in the early morning you have a better chance of seeing an animal. Another important point is that the sun is not so strong in the morning. If you go later in the day, the sun is very strong so you will burn quickly.

When you are in Palomino you can arrange an excursion to many local agencies. We booked the excursion at the accommodation Casa Colibri (this was also the place where we stayed). You can choose from three different excursion options:

  • Option 1: 2 hour excursion with few rapids | 60,000 pesos ($15 per person)
  • Option 2: 4 hour excursion with some rapids | 80,000 pesos ($20 per person)
  • Option 3: 6 hour excursion with many rapids and a visit to an indigenous village in the jungle of Sierra Nevada | 100,000 pesos ($25 per person)

We did the 6 hour tour because we wanted to see an indigenous village. We could ideally combine this with tubing. It is interesting to see how the original people live by following the old traditions. You also go the deepest into the jungle with the 3e option. During the tour, you pass the starting points of the other two. Finally, at option 3 you don’t see other travelers. The majority choose option 1.

We do not recommend option 1 because it is boring. It is very busy, you see almost nothing and the water is slow. Option 2 is fine but for just a little bit more money you can see so much more.

Tip: bring water, sunscreen, and snacks with you.

Tuben Palomino

#2 Go hiking on the Palomino beach

Traveling to Palomino means enjoying the Caribbean beaches. You can do this by lying on the beach with a towel or by walking on the beach. The best thing about hiking on the beach is that you will discover places where you are all alone.

If you are staying in Palomino for a few days, we recommend that you walk west and east once. In the west, you see sandy beaches and it is great to relax. The best area to walk through is to the east where you see untouched nature and where you hardly see anyone.

The hike to the west takes +/- 90 minutes. The walk itself is easy, walk all the way to the rocks at Coco Beach Palomino, when you arrive here you cannot continue. It is recommended to find a place at this point and enjoy your time.

The hike to the west can you make as long as you want. We recommend walking to the San Bernardo River. This hike takes +/- 80 minutes. You can walk further, you should then turn into the road at the end of the beach and follow this road for 400m. Then turn left at the t-junction. Here you walk 600m on the road and eventually you arrive at the beach. From this point, you can continue walking on the Palomino beach. If you make the walk up to this point, it will take you +/- 120 minutes. The nice thing about this hike is that you see very few people and that nature is untouched. It is also impressive to see the impact of the sea on the coast, at some points you can see the erosion.

Beach walk Palomino

Where to stay in Palomino

Option 1 the beach: location and an awesome experience
During our stay in Palomino, we enjoyed a few drinks at Makao and can tell you that this is a great place to stay. The rooms are very big and decorated beautifully. If you want to relax on the beach this is the best place to go looking at the price. Check prices and availability for Makao here.

If you want to stay in a resort and have some luxury, then Aite Eco Resort is something for you. You can see the sea from the pool. The private beach is nice because you sit almost alone. You can stay in a bungalow on the beach, it can be better than this.
Check prices and availability for Aita Eco Resort here.

Option 2 the village: affordable and close to the restaurants
We stayed at Casa Colibri and recommend it. This hostel is run by a Belgian who is super helpful. The breakfast is very extensive, rooms are neat and not expensive at all. Don’t expect luxury but a place where people do their best to make you as comfortable as possible. This is one of those hostels where you can experience a great atmosphere. Check prices and availability for Casa Colibri here.

If Casa Colibri is full and you prefer to stay in the village, Villa Eden is a good option. A hotel with nice rooms and a swimming pool. The architectural style is cool because they use beach elements. Breakfast is included and due to the lobby, it is easy to meet other travelers.
Check prices and availability for Villa Eden here.

#3 Enjoy the sunset from the beach

A fun activity where you don’t have to do anything and only have to enjoy nature is watching the sunset.

Bring a drink and some snacks and enjoy this moment. You can buy these items at one of the supermarkets in the village on the main road. The sunset in Palomino is colorful and therefore very beautiful. The rough waves in the background and the music that the locals play ensure that you completely relax. You will not forget this moment!

It is recommended to walk on the beach to the east and find a spot that you like. Because this part is less visited, you can sit here more intimately. The beach near the main road (the center) is a lot busier.

palomino sunset

#4 Go surfing in Palomino

The coast in the north of Colombia consists mainly of long sandy beaches. This is no different at Palomino, besides relaxing on the beach you can also be active by surfing. The waves in Palomino are powerful making the surfing conditions excellent.

If you have surfing experience or if you want to learn this, this is your chance to do so. You can take a surf lesson for 70,000 to 90,000 pesos ($17 – $22 per person). If you walk on the beach you have a couple of people sitting on a chair with boards beside them where you can book a lesson. If you have surfing experience, you can also rent a board. It is recommended to walk a bit to the east from the central beach, where fewer people swim. Here you can surf better because you don’t have to constantly pay attention to others.

If you don’t have any surfing experience, don’t be stubborn by renting a surfboard and try to do it yourself. Because there are strong currents that you cannot see, it can be dangerous to do this without experience. It sometimes happens that a tourist tries this and ends up being carried away by the water, so be careful and use common sense.

palomino surfing
palomino surf lesson

#5 Visit Tayrona National Park

Tayrona National Park is one of the national parks in Colombia, the special thing about this park is that it receives the most visitors every year. This of course has a reason. The jungle of Sierra Nevada and the Caribbean coast come together in this park. You have mountains and sandy beaches close together in this park.

You can make great hikes in this park where you can walk between the rocks at one moment, have to climb some meters and the other moment you have breathtaking views over the jungle and one moment later you walk on the beach. All these experiences so close together make this park so unique.

You can visit Tayrona as a day trip or choose to stay one night in the park. In our article about Tayrona National Park, you can read in detail what the advantages are for a day trip or staying in the park. If you want to visit Tayrona as a day trip, it is best to do this from Palomino because it is conveniently located. You can relax on the beaches of Palomino after a day of hiking.

How to get to Tayrona National Park from Palomino: Palomino does not have a bus station, but you need to wait at the main road upfront at the gas station and sign when a bus passes towards Tayrona. Indicate to the bus driver that you are going to Tayrona National Park. You have to pay 6000 pesos ($1.50) per person in cash. Travel time is +/- 90 minutes.

Tayrona National Park

#6 Taste different sea-dishes at Los 7 Mares Restaurante

When you love to eat fish Colombia is the place to be. Especially if you are in Palomino because this is located by the sea so you can try plenty of different fish. When you arrive in Palomino you probably don’t expect much from the restaurants but we can assure you that there is enough choice and that the quality is also good.

Our favorite place to eat in Palomino is Los 7 Mares Restaurante. The menu is well composed with an emphasis on local fish and cuisine. The decor of the restaurant is well done because of the beach elements.

The staff is very kind and are willing to help you choose the best dish. They have an English menu which is useful if you can’t speak Spanish. We found the home-style octopus and sunshine granola delicious. They also have different smoothies, tamarind margarita is a must to try!

If you order food and drinks you will spend around 20,000 – 40,000 pesos ($5 – $10).

#7 Stay at the beach

If you want to do something unique, staying on the beach is something for you. If you want to walk straight into the sea when you wake up is this possible. On many places in the world staying on the beach is very expensive, in Palomino this is not yet the case. Here you can stay on the beach for relatively cheap.

If you are going to stay on the beach, you have several choices. You can rent a cottage or bungalow on the beach, or take a hotel room with a view of the beach. In this article under the heading: where to stay in Palomino, you can read our recommended accommodations.

It is important to know that you have to book in time for the places on the beach because the accommodations are very popular.

Looking for a Colombia itinerary? Continue reading here.

Beach Palomino
Boats Palomino

#8 Visit Punta Gallinas

From Palomino you can visit Punta Gallinas. This is usually a two-day excursion not done by many travelers due to time constraints. This was also for us the reason that we didn’t do it. However, during our stay in Palomino at Casa Colibri, we spoke to several travelers who went here and liked it.

During your trip to Punta Gallinas, you visit some of Colombia’s top sights. The tour begins with a visit to Manaure, a salt complex where the process of extracting salt is explained. After this tour, you will visit Cabo de la Vela, a desert with a beach. The environment should be very magical because you don’t see anything around you except sand and the sea. Here will you also stay for the night in a hammock.

On the 2nd day you visit Punta Gallinas, the special thing about this area is that the nature is beautiful. With a beautiful sandhill, big waves, and strong wind, it seems like you are in another world. After this, you return to Palomino.

Our impression of this excursion is that it gives a good picture of the immense Caribbean sea and Colombian landscape. If you want to see more of Colombia and want to discover a part that is visited by a few other travelers, this is a must. If you don’t have much time, it’s better to skip it. If you would like to get more information, it is best to go to Casa Colibri.

#9 Visit the waterfalls Cascada La Cristalina

Just outside Palomino in the middle of the jungle, you can see one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Northern Colombia, called: Cascada La Cristalina. This waterfall is best visited with a tour because it is too far to walk. With the tour, you only have to walk uphill for 25 minutes. Once you have arrived at the waterfall, you will be treated to an impressive environment.

The waterfall consists of 5 levels and has clear water because it comes directly from the jungle. You can swim in the water. Be careful when walking on the different levels because it is easy to fall.

This activity is recommended for people who want to go deep into the jungle and enjoy visiting waterfalls. You can book a ticket at one of the agencies in Palomino.

Palomino sea

How many days do you need for Palomino?

Palomino itself is small, but there are plenty of fun things to do. Palomino is especially the place in Colombia to relax during your trip to recharge and process the impressions of the beginning of the trip. We recommend staying at least 2 days (3 nights) in Palomino.

In 2 days you will have enough time to relax and do some activities. If you want to visit Tayrona National Park from Palomino you need to extend your stay to 4 nights. If you love beaches you can of course stay longer.

Where to stay in Palomino?

When you are going to choose the accommodation in Palomino, you must first determine whether you want to stay on the beach or in the village. Both have their advantages. Staying in the village is cheaper and you are close to most restaurants. Staying on the beach is not expensive, given the location, plus the view from your room is of course breathtaking.

We recommend two accommodations per area. We recommend those because of their price-quality ratio. Please note: accommodations at the beach are quickly fully booked. So book immediately to secure a spot.

Recommendations for the beach

Palomino v1

During our stay in Palomino, we enjoyed a few drinks at Makao and can tell you that this is a great place to stay. The rooms are very big and decorated beautifully. If you want to relax on the beach this is the best place to go looking at the price.

If you want to stay in a resort and have some luxury, then Aite Eco Resort is something for you. You can see the sea from the pool. The private beach is nice because you sit almost alone. You can stay in a bungalow on the beach, it can be better than this.

Recommendations for the village

Palomino v2

We stayed at Casa Colibri and recommend it. This hostel is run by a Belgian who is super helpful. The breakfast is very extensive, rooms are neat and not expensive at all. Don’t expect luxury but a place where people do their best to make you as comfortable as possible. This is one of those hostels where you can experience a great atmosphere.

If Casa Colibri is full and you prefer to stay in the village, Villa Eden is a good option. A hotel with nice rooms and a swimming pool. The architectural style is cool because they used beach elements. Breakfast is included and due to the lobby, it is easy to meet other travelers.

Where to eat in Palomino?

At activity #6 you read that our favorite place to eat is at Palomino Los 7 Mares Restaurante. The menu is well composed with an emphasis on local fish and cuisine. The decor of the restaurant is well done due to the cool beach elements.

The staff is kind, the menu is in English which is nice if you can’t speak Spanish. We recommend the home-style octopus and sunshine granola + the tamarind margarita smoothie! It will cost +/- 20,000 – 40,000 pesos ($5 – $10).

Another recommendation is Bitacora. Here they have a varied menu with our favorite being saltado de vegatales con pollo. This is a stir-fry vegetable mix prepared in the wok with chicken. The nice thing about this place is that they have a large terrace where you are not cramped together. It is good to know that before you choose a table, ask how long it takes before they serve. If it is busy you may have to wait a long time here. We, therefore, recommend that you only sit here when there are not a lot of people.

Another nice place is Juntos Palomino Restaurant Bar. Here you can eat the best burgers in Palomino. The nice thing about this place is that you can put together your burger. You can choose meat, fish, vegetarian and vegan variants. The burgers are served with fries. A nice place where you don’t have to wait long for your food.

How do you get to Palomino?

Palomino is easy to get to as it is located between the big cities Santa Marta and Riohacha. There are regular buses that you can use between these two places. Palomino cannot be reached directly by plane. It is only accessible by car or (shuttle) bus.

The easiest way is to take a bus from Santa Marta towards Riohacha (bus stop Palomino). Tickets can only be bought on-site on the bus. The bus ride is 2 hours and costs 9000 pesos ($2) per person. There is no official bus station in Palomino, however, you will be dropped off on the main road. On arrival, you can choose to walk to the accommodation or use a motorbike taxi (2000 pesos / $0.50). Another possible option is to travel from Tayrona to Palomino, which takes 90 minutes and costs 6000 pesos ($1.50) per person.

If you are staying in Minca, Santa Marta, or Tayrona you can also choose to travel to Palomino by using a shuttle bus. The advantage is that these are a lot faster. You can often arrange this at an accommodation. The accommodations where we stayed offered this service.

If you want to fly to Palomino, you must first fly to Santa Marta or Riocacha and take a bus to Palomino.

If you travel by car, you can easily reach Palomino. The roads are good. If you come from Minca (90 km), Santa Marta (80 km) and Tayrona (42 km) you are within two hours drive in Palomino.

If you travel to Colombia by plane and you are looking for a car to rent, you can rent it through Rentalcars. We use Rentalcars when we want to travel by car to discover new destinations. They’re easy to use and book with.

palomino sunrise waves

When is the best period to visit Palomino?

In the north of Colombia, it is usually very hot, if you enjoy nice weather Palomino is a perfect destination for you. Palomino has a tropical rainforest climate.

The months of June to September are the best months to travel to Palomino because then there is the least rainfall. The average temperature is 26°C.

September is the hottest month with an average of 32℃, dropping to 14℃ at night. December is the coolest month with an average of 24℃ and at night up to 13℃.

Tip: Keep in mind that during the US and Europe school holidays in July and August, it will be busier than usual, causing prices to rise.

Palomino what to do FAQ

1. Is Palomino worth a visit?

Yes, traveling to Palomino is without a doubt worth visiting because it is one of the nicest destinations in Colombia. Most travelers start their journey in Bogota and travel via Salento, Medellin, Cartagena to Palomino. Often you have already traveled 10 very intensive days. It is then great to enjoy some time off by relaxing at the beach.

If you would like to relax on the Caribbean coast, discover nice places in Sierra Nevada and recharge yourself to continue your journey, Palomino is the place to visit.

2. How much cash should you bring to Palomino?

It is not possible to withdraw in Palomino, so it is important to bring cash with you before you travel to Palomino. As a guideline, we recommend that you bring the amount of the accommodation + $40 per day per person.

3. How much does it cost to visit Palomino?

This depends on what activities you are going to do, where you are staying and how long you are staying in Palomino. On average, a traveler for Palomino spends +/- $180 per person if you stay 2 days / 3 nights in Palomino:

  • Accommodation: $100
  • Activities: $45
  • Food: $30
  • Transportation: $5

As you can see Palomino is not expensive to stay and do fun things.

Do you want to see more of Colombia

We hope this article helped give you a clear idea of ​​what to do in Palomino, where to stay, and more helpful tips for Palomino.

After your stay in Palomino, you can discover many more great places in Colombia. If you follow our Colombia itinerary the next destination is Tayrona. Read our Tayrona travel guide here.

If you don’t follow our Colombia itinerary, you can visit Minca or Santa Marta. Minca is located in the mountains and is a great place to visit because you can make some awesome hikes in the mountains. Santa Marta is a city that is popular amongst the Colombian society to travel during vacation. This is the place to start the Lost City trek.

A little further away from Palomino is located, Cartagena and San Gil. Cartagena is a city with a colonial historic center and San Gil is the village from where you can do adventure activities. Enough options to continue your journey from Palomino.

What do you think of Palomino? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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