If you’ve never heard of Taganga, Colombia, you’d be forgiven. This small town on the north coast of the country is not a well-known destination in Colombia.
While traveling there, you’ll usually only see locals and backpackers hanging around Taganga. As we found out during our time in this part of Colombia, Taganga seems to be the spot for budget-conscious travelers and those looking to get off the beaten path and away from the busy hub of Santa Marta.
True, there’s not a ton of sightseeing to do here, but it’s the perfect place to relax in the sun and enjoy the feeling of local life in Colombia.
Things To Do in Taganga, Colombia
Enjoy The Beach
In general, the beaches in Taganga are stunning, but they do have very strong currents that can sweep you out to sea if you aren’t careful. Make sure you’re a confident swimmer and know what to do in case you get stuck in a riptide.
Playa Taganga (Taganga Beach)
The main beach in town is Playa Taganga (Taganga Beach). Since it is so easily accessible, this beach is the most popular one in the area. Playa Taganga is picturesque, with tall hills rising up behind it in all directions. However, do expect crowds, especially on weekends.
Playa Grande, Taganga
Since the most beautiful beach in the area is Playa Grande, Santa Marta and Taganga visitors often come here to enjoy the sun and sand. Although its name means “big beach,” the Playa Grande, Taganga is of quite a modest size. In order to reach the beach, you’ll need to walk on a short trail that overlooks the ocean. This trail actually connects Taganga Playa with Playa Grande, so you can visit both in one day.
Explore Tayrona National Park
To the northeast of Taganga, Colombia you’ll find Tayrona National Park, a lush green jungle with long stretches of warm sand, magnificent peaks, and bright blue waters. It also holds a great deal of cultural significance, being the home of the indigenous Tairo people for centuries.
Once in the park, you’ll have a few hiking trails to discover, as well as beaches that are even better than the Taganga Playa and Playa Grande. Taganga makes the perfect home base for exploring the depths of this fascinating national park.
It came as a surprise to us that diving in Taganga, Colombia is a popular activity. Taganga is said to be one of the cheapest places to go diving in the world. Diving trips operate from Taganga and take you to a couple of dive spots within Tayrona National Park.
We dove at two different dive spots near Aguja Island and had a great experience. Although there weren’t any pelagics to be spotted, we did see angelfish, lionfish, scorpionfish, moray eels, lobsters, octopuses, and more! There are also options to go snorkelling and freediving nearby.
Trek to the Lost City
Many people come to Santa Marta and Taganga, Colombia to start their trek to the Lost City. When we visited, we did just that and spent five days in the dense rainforest hiking to one of the most strange and wonderful archaeological ruins in the country.
The Lost City is said to have been built in the 14th century and was a large commercial hub at the time. When the Spanish arrived, the city and its inhabitants mysteriously disappeared. Today, the ruins make for an incredible hike into both nature and history.
Explore Santa Marta
If you’re spending time in Taganga, Santa Marta should also be on your agenda. The town is funky and historic, with quite a bit to discover. Visit the beach of Rodadero, stroll through the historic centre, visit the sugar cane refinery La Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, or explore the Santa Marta Public Market.
Where to Stay in Taganga, Colombia
- Jaba Nibue: This truly stunning hotel is right on the Playa Grande and features a stunning pool overlooking the ocean. Each room at Jaba Nibue has its own view of the sea, and it’s easy to get down to the beach and to the rest of the town. This is one of the best hotels in all of Taganga, Colombia.
- Minca Ecohabs: If you’re hiking to the Lost City, this is a great option for an eco-hotel nearby. The Minca Ecohabs hotel is a jungle hideaway on the side of a steep hill that has incredible views. The buildings are all constructed with natural materials, making it blend into the rainforest around it.
- Haba Eco Hostel: If you’re on a budget but are still looking for someplace eco-friendly to stay, consider staying at Haba Eco Hostel. Right in the heart of Santa Marta, you’ll enjoy an excellent location as well as clean dorms and private rooms.
We truly loved our trip to Taganga, Colombia as well as the time we spent exploring the surrounding area. Hiking and diving in Tayrona National Park and trekking to the Lost City are some of our favourite travel memories of all time.