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Palomino: A Slow Life Paradise on Colombia’s Coast

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Palomino, with its bohemian and rustic fishing charm, offers a true escape for relaxation without losing its festive spirit. There are no towering buildings along the coast, just a series of small wooden huts, hammocks swaying in the breeze, eco-lodges and charming places to eat. It’s about a five-hour drive from Cartagena and an hour and a half from Santa Marta. It’s a must on your Colombia itinerary if you want to experience the essence of slow living.

My beach hut

A coconut and relaxation paradise, Palomino offers six kilometres of fine sand. Stay at La Sirena, a meticulously maintained eco-hotel with a strong commitment to sustainability, with several rustic yet sophisticated private cabins right by the sea. We immediately fell in love with this eco-luxury. The restaurant serves a sensational vegetarian menu, rich in local produce straight from the owners’ organic farm. With your feet in the sand and your eyes on the sea, the postcard couldn’t be more perfect. It’s also where you’ll find the best yoga classes in Palomino, held outdoors with the waves in the background. Namaste.

The best restaurants in Palomino, Colombia

From the beach, head down the main street into the heart of the village. Our absolute favourite is Suà, a creative and gourmet restaurant that is a passionate advocate of the slow food movement. With bohemian-chic decor and performances of traditional and modern Creole dance, it has it all. It also hosts a monthly local market, initiated by the Slow Food Convivium Palomino, which aims to educate locals about eco-responsibility. Workshops and events are also on the programme. If you’re there at the right time, don’t miss it!

We also found La Frontera, an unexpected pizzeria tucked away behind a souvenir shop on the village’s main street. Well-equipped, the local pizzaiolo makes thin and crispy pizzas that could almost rival their Italian counterparts. Quite surprising!

For one last drink (with WiFi, a rare commodity in Palomino), head to the Dreamer Hostel, an international and festive setting where you can share a local Club Colombia beer with other travellers by the pool.

Back on the beach, enjoy freshly caught shrimp ceviche with your feet in the sand at La Finca Escondida, a must-visit in Palomino, just a few minutes’ walk from La Sirena. The bohemian atmosphere and large communal wooden tables will make you want to meet your neighbours. Bliss!

What to do in Palomino

Ideally located a few kilometres from the popular Tayrona Park, Palomino is an excellent base for visiting the park. For the more adventurous, you can drive to Riohacha, the capital of La Guajira, where you can start exploring the Colombian desert (1 hour 20 minutes by car).

Prefer to enjoy the local area? Choose between relaxing with a good book, swinging in a hammock, or a giant tube expedition along the river that flows into the sea. Palomino is also close to the Sierra Nevada, where jungle walks can be organised. Ask in the main street of the village or directly at your hotel to book a guide or activity.

Don’t wait too long

Palomino, a village the size of a man, has experienced a significant tourist boom in recent years. But as more people visit, the infrastructure hasn’t kept pace. There are no banks or ATMs, for example, and very few places offer WiFi. A tip: make sure you have cash on hand during your visit. As with any rapid development, don’t wait too long to enjoy the authentic and friendly atmosphere of the place.

All photo credits: Laure Juilliard

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