An Escape from Santa Marta
Just a short collectivo ride from Santa Marta, Taganga is a place to relax post Ciudad Perdida trek Glimpsing Taganga for the first time as you come around the rocky promontory and leave the decaying suburbs of Santa Marta behind is a breathtaking scene. From above the setting is paradisiacal, the sun’s beams hitting the rippling Caribbean, palms lining the beachfront and swaying gently in a cooling breeze, colourfully painted fishing boats anchored in the bay, what more could you ask for?
This being the Caribbean coast you could be forgiven for such thoughts of soft white sand, welcoming fishermen and the perfect coastal setting. So grateful will you be for the respite that all the bustle and intrusion of Santa Marta are behind you even though it remains a mere five kilometers to the south that initially Taganga’s flaws will be overlooked. Taganga resembles a Caribbean hamlet, idly going about its business.Despite the plethora of mangy yet harmless dogs that lie everywhere and the state of the boulevard, this is an ideal place to relax after a long bus journey and a popular haunt for those who have just completed the exhilerating and not to be missed Lost City trek. Be warned, Taganga has long been a destination for backpackers seeking to sway idly in hammocks, enjoy an ice cold beer at sundown and dabble in other illicit Colombian products. If this is not your scene then you would be better placed heading five kilometers in the opposite direction to the more upmarket Rodadero.
While the barrio of Taganga is not the most scenic, certainly rustic, there are many quality guesthouses catering to the crowds. So comfortable and welcoming, tourists often stay a few days longer than intended, beguiled by the fine weather, warm gentle ocean and that lethargy that strikes when in a comfort zone at the beach.
Should you tire of doing nothing, then there are a host of scuba centres with varying levels of efficiency and equipment. Shop around and bargain as this is one of the cheapest places in the Caribbean to get certified, but be certain to check the equipment thoroughly. Another option would be to stroll 40 minutes around the point to Playa Grande.
With a population of roughly 3000, Taganga can cater to most needs with a few basic markets, a pharmacy and internet cafe, but if you plan to stay longer than a couple of days, be sure to stock up on suncream and other essentials in Santa Marta or you will be found wanting.