Palomino is a lovely little beach town, still pretty unknown to the tourist community in Colombia. Life here is quiet, slow, and local! I loved my time in Palomino, there is not a whole lot to do, which is great considering it is far too hot here to want to do anything. However, one pretty spectacular thing to do here is tubing down the Palomino River! Tubing in Palomino is certainly what drew me to the town.
The run down
Tubing in Palomino is the thing to do. Everywhere you turn, you will see towering stacks of inner tubes outside small shops and roadside stores, offering the tubing experience. The process is simple:
- approach a store, pay 20,000 COP;
- You will then be driven on the back of a motorbike with your tube under your am, down (and up) a rough dirt track. They drive you to where they drop you off to the start of a walking track;
- You will then walk about 40mins up and down a dirt track until you reach the point where the small strem meets the river. You will cross the small stream and reach the big river;
- Jump on your tube, and enjoy the ride!! Try not to fall asleep, it is very relaxing;
- The journey takes about 2.5-3 hours to reach the sea. Once you reach the sea, walk back down the beach with your tube.
- Make sure you ask where to drop off your tubes, or ask whether they come to pick them up from the beach. Some of the companies will tell you to leave your tube at the main beach entrance and they will come pick them up.
- Tubing in Palomino does not require a guide. I don’t see how you could get lost. The walking track is very clear, and once you are on the river, you just go with the flow! The river is actually verrrrry shallow in most places. Most of the time you will be trying hard to not get beached due to how shallow it is in places. However, if you do want a guide, this normally costs extra, or you will be required to tip.
- In some places the current is quite strong and it will take you into the trees along the sides of the river bank, but just duck through them or start paddling your way out! You will make it out eventually 🙂
- Only take things with you that you can get wet, because let’s face it, you are on a river and you will get wet.
- Take beers with you! Sometimes there are 1 or 2 people selling beers on the river bank, but I wouldn’t count on it. I took 4 beers in a bag and something to tie the bag to the tube with.
- Don’t go alone. When I went, there were 4 of us, and we only came across 2 other people. The river would be pretty creepy if it was just yourself. Tubing in Palomino is much more fun with a group of you!
- The only part of the river that is truly dangerous is the end. When you get near the beach, make sure you swim to the right hand side. Do this well before you reach where the waves meet the river. This part has a very strong current and it is much deeper. My friends weren’t paying attention and started getting pulled out to sea. They had so much trouble getting out of it, they had to be helped back in, and they were very exhausted. I had no trouble at all!
Cost:20,000 including tube and motorbike transport (excluding guide).
How to get to Palomino
From Santa Marta:
wave down any bus with ‘Palomino’ on the window. This will cost 9,000 COP
From Tayrona Park
Wave down the bus with ‘Palomino’ on the window. I’m unsure of price, but it will be less than 9,000 COP, as this is the same bus taken from Santa Marta, but 1 hour into the journey to Palomino.
From Consteña beach
Wave down the bus with ‘Palomino’ on the window. This should only cost about 2000 COP as it is not far at all from Palomino.