Reasons Why You Should Visit Palomino at Least Once in Your Lifetime

Palomino is a small, relaxed beach town on the northern Caribbean coast of Colombia
Palomino is a small, relaxed beach town on the northern Caribbean coast of Colombia | © Sonja Novak / Alamy Stock Photo
Chris Bell

The little beachside town of Palomino has grown from an off-the-beaten-track spot to a beloved traveler destination over the past five years, and with good reason: from tubing down lazy rivers to sunbathing on empty golden beaches, there’s plenty to do for active or tired travelers in need of some downtime. So here’s why you should visit Palomino, Colombia, at least once in your lifetime.

Want to experience Palomino with a Local Insider? Join Culture Trip’s eight-day adventure along Colombia’s Caribbean coastline for the chance to visit deserted islands, go tubing in Palomino and discover the historic architecture of Cartagena.

Tubing on the Palomino River

The top tourist activity in Palomino is to ride a tube down the lovely Palomino River from the jungle foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta to the Caribbean Sea. The activity is fun, cheap and a wonderful way to experience the calm and natural beauty of one of Colombia’s most unique and irreplaceable ecosystems.

Don’t miss the chance to tube down the lovely Palomino River

Beautiful birds and animals

The jungles surrounding Palomino are part of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, one of the most important ecological regions in Colombia, and named one of the most important ecological areas on Earth by National Geographic. A visit to these forests can yield amazing sightings of monkeys, toucans, parrots and many more unique and beautiful species.

A Caribbean beach

The beach in Palomino is a long stretch of white sand, fringed by palm trees facing an endless azure sea. The waves are great for surfing, and there are plenty of beach bars and small restaurants dotting the shoreline. Despite the erosion it has suffered in recent years, taking a stroll along this lovely beach, or sunbathing there for a few hours, is a great way to spend some time in Palomino.

The beach in Palomino is a great place to spend the afternoon

It’s the perfect place to relax

There are loads of really active and energetic activities to experience along the Colombian Caribbean coast – such as the Lost City Trek, traveling up to Punta Gallinas in the La Guajira desert or hiking in Tayrona National Park – so you’ll definitely need somewhere to relax eventually. Palomino is perfect for that: with not much more to do than wander along the beach, sunbathe, eat seafood and swim in the pool, it’s the ideal spot to kick back.

Incredible fresh seafood

With its Caribbean location, Palomino is naturally home to some excellent restaurants serving some of the freshest and tastiest seafood in Colombia. The best of them are at the far end of the beach where the river meets the sea: simple little seafront shacks cook up fresh fried red snapper with coconut rice. You may not find a better fish dish in all of Colombia!

Stunning dawns and dusks

With its beachfront location, Palomino is a wonderful place to enjoy sunrises and sunsets. Walking along the beach at dawn towards the mouth of the river will give you amazing sunrise views, while you can just sit on the beach near the main strip of hostels to see unforgettable sunsets over the waters of the Caribbean.

You’ll witness some stunning sunsets

Some of the best hostels in the country

Colombia has some top-notch hostels these days, and you can always find a top-quality spot to spend a night, wherever you travel in the country, but Palomino is home to a few of the best. The Dreamer hostel and Tiki Hut are both right by the beach and have great bars and restaurants and swimming pools. It’s like staying in a luxury hotel at backpacker prices.

Perfectly located

Palomino is perfectly located for traveling on the Caribbean coast: it’s on the same long highway that links Santa Marta, Tayrona National Park and the start of the Lost City Trek and goes on to La Guajira and the northern Caribbean deserts. This means you don’t have to go out of your way to enjoy a few days in Palomino, and you’ll be a matter of hours away from some other stunning destinations.

You can see snow-capped mountains from the beach

There aren’t too many places in the world where you can sip a tropical cocktail on a Caribbean beach and see snow-capped mountains at the same time. The peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta are the highest in Colombia and their glacial heights can be spotted from the Palomino beach on clear days.

On a clear day you can see the peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta from the beach

Horseback riding on the beach

Such a long expanse of sand is the perfect spot for some horse riding, and there are now tour operators who offer the chance to do just that – you can saddle up your horse and gallop through the surf, enjoying the waves crashing around you and feeling the wind in your hair. There’s no more liberating experience in Colombia.

Now is the time to go

Palomino is fast becoming an essential backpacker stop in Colombia, and the little town has grown accordingly. From barely having any hostels five or six years ago to boasting tens of them nowadays, Palomino has grown a lot, but has so far escaped any large-scale hotel developments. But that could change at any time, so now is very much the time to visit.

Palomino is fast becoming an essential backpacker stop
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.