Taganga is a small fishing village only 10 minutes from Santa Marta, a place where beautiful lush green covered mountains meet a beautiful horse shoe shaped bay. Regardless of what you may have heard, there is a ton of things to do in Taganga.
The unpaved roads, old concrete houses and friendly street dogs create a very relaxed vibe and I felt like I could’ve been in Southeast Asia while walking the streets. Unfortunately, many travelers miss this small town, instead many travelers choose to stay at places like the Dreamer Hostel outside of Santa Marta and skip this hidden gem.
Taganga was perfect for relaxing in a place where nothing is too far and wearing thongs (flip flops for anyone not from Australia) is the only footwear required so do yourself a favour and check it out.
Getting from Santa Marta to Taganga
Getting from Santa Marta to Taganga is easy, first you will need to get yourself to Santa Marta and from there a taxi will only cost COP12,000. However there are direct buses from Cartagena COP30,000, now I recommend getting a shuttle for about COP45,000 as the bus station in Cartagena is 40 minutes from town and taxis are COP20,000 (and thats not in peak hour as it can take 1.5 hours in peak times).
Hostels in Taganga
There aren’t too many options for hostels in Taganga, however we found a great place, Hostel Nirvana Taganga. Our stay was perfect, the hostel had a pool which came in handy with the heat, the wifi was good and the vibe of the hostel was awesome for meeting people. The aircon ran nearly all day which was really needed in Taganga, the location was great (although Taganga is so small it doesn’t matter where you are you’re only 5 minutes from the beach.)
Things to do in Taganga
Visit Tayrona National Park
Not many people know this, but Tayrona National Park is accessible by boat, however it can only be done from Taganga. The boat ride will save you alot of time getting to the best beach and hence give you more time in the park, this is highly recommended if you are only staying for the day. Otherwise, the bus to Tayrona is only 10 minutes away by taxi and will cost COP10,000, you can read our complete guide to Tayrona National Park HERE
Learn to Scuba Dive
Taganga offers some of the cheapest dive courses in South America and is very similar to Asia prices (I did my open water and advanced in Asia). Expect to pay around COP700,000 for an open water course. There are loads of dive shops in town that offer all sorts of courses to intro dives, so no matter what your level is there something for everyone.
This beautiful town is located in the mountains around Taganga and Santa Marta and day trips are a good way to visit! Check out our Minca blog post HERE.
I wish I had found out earlier that they had fishing tours as on my last day in Taganga three backpackers came back to the hostel after fishing and had managed to catch loads of big fish! So if your like me and love heading out with a few beers and bring home a tasty dinner, I wouldn’t pass on this opportunity.
Enjoy the Sunset on the Beach
Taganga is located perfectly for watching the sun go down over the water, I’ve not met anyone that doesn’t like a good sunset. Head down to the local bars on the beach (the cheap ones are to the left facing the beach) grab a beer and take some amazing photos.
Visit Playa Grande
Only a 20 minute walk from Taganga or COP6,000 by boat is Playa Grande, a beautiful beach to spend the day, just don’t go at night if your walking.
Where to Eat in Taganga
Taganga has surprisingly good food and it doesn’t cost much to enjoy it either, the beach is lined with street food and the Empanadas are amazing. Make sure you have a fruit smoothie from the ladies on the beach and for a little extra head to the French cafe called Cafe Bonsai for a Peanut Butter Banana smoothie! They are so good!
Number one on trip adviser is Babaganoush, our budget was a little tight and we didn’t go, however some friends of mine did and said it was the best food they have ever had in South America, so if you can afford it check it out!
Pachamama is also a good choice for dinner and we ate here one night, the portions are big and the food is delicious. I recommend the burgers, the patties where huge! A main is as little as COP20,000.
-We had been told Taganga can be dangerous at night however we wandered the streets late at night and not once saw any suspicious behaviour and locals were really friendly all round. For some general safety tips while in South America click HERE.
-If you are getting a taxi to Santa Marta the price is fixed and all cabs have a chart in them with the prices so have a read and don’t get ripped off.
-There is a Bank of Colombia in town but we have been told that sometimes it doesn’t work so to be safe get cash out in Santa Marta.
Where to Go Next
-San Gil, read our blog about the adventure capital of Colombia HERE.
-Cartagena, blog coming soon.
-Medellin, get all of the information HERE
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