Taganga, Colombia (often mistakenly spelled Taganga Columbia) is a small fishing village located on the Caribbean Coast about 5km north of Santa Marta. It’s a popular backpacker destination, particularly with Israeli backpackers doing the South America circuit. Taganga vacations are not for everyone. It is raw destination, and apart from one new hotel, don’t expect to find anything that’s remotely luxurious – which, of course, is the charm of Taganga.
Although Taganga is beautiful in a natural sense, the streets are crumbling, dogs roam wild, and fishing boats line most of the beach. The area of the beach best suited for swimming is on the south end of the beach. Here hippies lounge all day on the beach, drink beer, and party late into the evening. If you’re looking for something less alternative, and rustic, we recommend heading to Rodadero beach in Santa Marta. However, for those seeking this type of scene, Taganga can be quite an enjoyable destination, and you may find yourself staying a few extra days.
Things to do in
Scuba diving Taganga
Taganga is known for it’s affordable scuba diving. The local dive shops offer some of the cheapest dives and certification courses in the world. You can take a 4 day PADI open water course for around $160 US. Although the diving is only mediocre it’s not a bad place to do at least two tanks. Please note that the equipment at a lot of the Taganga dive centers my be old or poorly maintained, so be sure to check your equipment carefully before you head out.
Taganga Dive Centers:
Calipso – One of the more popular dive shops in Taganga. Calle 12 No 1-40 Tel +57 5 4219146
Other scuba diving opportunities in Colombia:
Santa Marta Diving – There are several dive shops on Rodadero beach in neighboring Santa Marta.
Parque Tayrona diving– located about an hour East in Parque Tayrona where there are a few options for scuba diving. Tayrona diving is a little more off the beaten path so expect to work for your dives (but they are worth it).
Cartagena diving – Located about 300 miles to the southwest is Cartagena with some excellent dive spots. Although not close to Taganga, if you’re into scuba it might be worth the trip.
The beach at Taganga is raw, beautiful, and the water is spectacularly warm and quite clear. It’s possible to rent beach chairs and umbrellas and one local restaurant will bring you drinks and food if you like. Another beach, also raw and beautiful is locate on the other side of the hill to the North East, is called Playa Grande. The beach is lined with thatched roof restaurants serving fresh fish and is quite a beautiful place to spend the day. To get there walk over the hill or hire a boat to take you for about $1 US.
Tayrona – Parque Tayrona is located about 34 km to the northeast and is worth a visit. The nature reserve has some of the best coastline in Colombia. Accommodation in Tayrona is rustic so be prepared to rough it a little.
Most of the hotels in Taganga are hostels or budget hotels:
Moramar Backpackers International - Fairly new. Good vibes, great service, nice views of the sea Costs about c$15.000 pesos for a single room to c$8.000 for a hammock,+57 (5) 4219202 email: email@example.com
Casa Blanca – dirt chap, 10 rooms, private bath, located right on the beach tel: 421 9232
Chalet Suizo – Swiss owned hostel that run about $5 US per night
Divanga – Bed and Breakfast that caters to the Backpacker crowd. Located on Calle 12 at 4. +57 5 421 90 92 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Le Casa de Felipe – One of the more popular hostels offering some rooms with kitchenettes. Carrera 5A 19-13 email@example.com. Tel: +57 (5) 421-9101
La Ballena Azul – The most expensive and trendy hotel at Taganga. Well worth it if it’s within your budget. Tel: +57 5 421 9121