Off the Beaten Track: Taganga

Colombia is one of the most diverse countries in terms of nature and natural beauty. After Bogota, I flew north to the city of Santa Marta to explore this country further. Santa Marta is the oldest European founded city in South America and lies right beside the Caribean coast. Fifteen minutes from Santa Marta is a small fishing village called Taganga; which is where I stayed. This tiny little village has experienced a tourist boom in recent years leading to the growth of some lovely restaurants and hostels. Both Taganga and Santa Marta serve as a good base to further explore Tayrona Park and complete the lost city trek as well as nearby areas such as Minca or Palomino. Taganga is also very popular with aspiring divers as it is one of the cheapest places in the world to become PADI certified. PADI is the Professional Association of Diving Instructors and leading scuba diving training association for those who don’t know because I certainly didn’t!

I flew to Santa Marta airport from Bogota. There are bus options but I would advise checking out airlines too as they can often be cheaper than buses and less time costly. Good options are; Avianca, Viva Colombia, Wingo. From the airport take a taxi to Taganga approx 40 minutes and $15,000COP (€4).

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Stay:

I stayed at Divanga Hostel. This is a wonderful little hostel that is extremely homely due to the amazing owner Ruth, who seems to treat everyone like family! Breakfast is freshly made every morning with a choice of eggs or granola. Everyone is very helpful and any trips or excursions was planned with the help of hostel staff. It has a beautiful pool, a lively bar, and tasty menu options. The rooms are comfortable and would recommend a visit here if you find yourself in Taganga.

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Do:

Tayrona park is a must do. This national park was established in 1969 and covers 12000 hectares of land and 3000 hectares of sea area. The park is a mixture of long sandy beaches and thick rainforest which lie in the shadow of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, the worlds highest coastal mountain range. Unfortunately, I only had time for a day hike but there are options to stay overnight both in the park or outside it in an Eco hostel.

The cost of entering the park is $38000COP (€11). You can get to the park by organising a private minibus which we did through our hostel. This cost $15000COP (€4) per person. You can also take the public bus from Santa Marta for $7000COP (€2).  I recommend bringing a small backpack for this trip. Make sure to pack a rain-jacket as there will be thunderstorms in the afternoon. Hiking boots are useful but not necessary. Bring swimwear if you want to swim in the sea and a change of clothes. I’d also recommend bringing snacks. There are restaurants at various points throughout the park but they are of course overpriced. Mosquito repellent and sunblock are other necessities.

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Relax:

This is a quaint little town with a beautiful beach. This is a place to unwind while soaking up the beauty of North Columbia. While it is not as action-packed as other cities or places in Colombia, it gives a nice insight into the true Colombian way of living.There have been reports of robberies and muggings in Taganga though. While I didn’t experience anything untoward, as with any place I would advise exercising caution and common sense when it comes to your belongings. All in all, though this is a beautiful village so wander the unpaved streets, sit on the beach and just marvel at this wonderful part of the world you have found yourself in.

Happy Travelling,

Elaine

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