Taganga backpacker village

Trip Start Jan 07, 2013
Trip End Aug 01, 2013

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Flag of Colombia  , Magdalena,
Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Taganga is a small fishing village in the cliffs above Santa Marta that has transformed into a base for backpackers traveling in the nearby parks. It's also apparently the cheapest place in the world to take scuba certification classes. The vibe is extremely laid back, most everyone is dressed in board shorts and is in no hurry to get anywhere in particular. I met many who are well into their first month here when their original plans called for only a few days.


We were here off and on for a few weeks between trips to tyrona and carnival. From rodadero it was cheaper to take a cab from our "penny" hotel room than get a new hostel room, so for 3 days Greg and I made day trips to relax on the beach and party in an atmosphere that wasn't just Colombian families. After carnival we stayed another two nights in a giant hostel in the cliffs that resembled an adobe castle. Amazing that its been a month into the trip and this was my first hostel. I saw more travelers in two days than the previous 5 weeks.

The whole area reminds me of home, but with an ocean. Dry and hot during the days but perfect at night. The common activity is to scuba dive, but for novelty we opted for spear gun fishing. We met a local fisherman on the beach and took the two of us to some nearby reefs. The guns were simple, a harpoon and giant rubber band. After getting used to avoiding getting tangled in the rope when reloading it was a blast to use. Fish are really fast, especially big ones. An hour of failed attempts and I finally got the strategy down. In the end I hit two with Greg finishing the second off. I was extremely excited to finally eat a fish I caught in the ocean and equally disappointed when we told they were too small to bother. I should have gotten out my stove (still unused) and tried anyways but we were both exhausted after a few hours of straight swimming.

As the sun sets the towns assortment of beachfront fruit stands and thatched restaurants are much appreciated. We grabbed a table right on the sand and watched as the cook pulled out our fish from a bucket next to the water. As the night progresses everyone moves to a number of rooftop bars or salsa clubs. A mix of desert heat and ocean breeze makes it literally the perfect temperature. And with a great view.

After actually staying in taganga, rather than cabbing from rodadero, I can definitely see how travelers end up staying here for weeks. Although we have 5 days left until we fly to Ecuador, we chose to spend our time doing the lost city hike instead. More updates on that later!
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