Palomino is the kind of place where you could easily spend two weeks: a sleepy coastal community beloved by backpackers and travelers, with a gorgeous beach and the majestic mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Manta. However, many people traveling on the Colombian Caribbean coast don’t have time to hang around, so here’s a quick guide on how to make the most of 24 hours.
The best way to maximize 24 hours in Palomino is to arrive in the late afternoon, at around 4pm. Make your way from the main street where the buses drop you off, down towards the beach where all the hotels and hostels are located. The Tiki Hut and Dreamer hostels are highly recommended. While they cost more than the average, they have excellent swimming pools and quality facilities, with the beach just a stone’s throw away.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer a more secluded retreat, Playa La Roca Ecohotel is an excellent option just outside of town. Head there for a pool, wellness center, private garden and direct access to the beach. You can stay as part of Culture Trip’s specially curated eight-day Colombian Caribbean adventure, led by our Local Insider.
Once you’ve unpacked and settled in, wander down to the beach to enjoy the beautiful Caribbean sunset. You’ll find plenty of other travelers doing the same thing, usually with some beers or cocktails. Head back to your hostel for dinner – the Dreamer’s pizzas are particularly good – and a few bottles of local beer produced in the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains. The Happy Toucan ale is especially drinkable.
The next morning, make sure you wake up bright and early to enjoy your main activity: a tubing trip down the gorgeous Palomino River. Rent a tube from one of the many vendors outside the hostels, and head up into the Sierra Nevada on the back of a motorbike taxi (also included in your tube rental). Once the bike drops you off, you’ll need to hike for another 30 minutes, then jump into the cooling waters of the stunning mountain river and float back to the sea.
The whole trip usually takes between two and three hours, but you can easily stretch it out a bit longer by stopping at one of the many little river beaches and spending time sunbathing and swimming. Keep an eye out for monkeys and toucans in the towering trees overhead as you meander down the river.
Once you reach the end of your tubing trip, it will be around lunchtime. Head for a table at one of the shacks alongside the river mouth, and take your pick from the plates of fresh fish on display. Enjoy your lunch with a cold beer just meters from the sparkling blue Caribbean waters.
When you’ve finished eating, walk back down the beach towards Palomino. There will still be time for one more excellent experience before you leave: a massage organized through your hostel or hotel. Our advice is to book one in the morning before heading out on your tubing trip. There aren’t many more relaxing experiences in Colombia than lying in the warm Caribbean sun enjoying a massage, especially after spending all morning lying in a rubber tube on the river.
Once your massage is done, it’ll be almost time to go, but you will definitely have made the most of your time in Palomino.
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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.
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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!
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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.