I've spent three weeks in Palomino and now I answer the question of whether it is worth visiting.
Sup Travellers?! Welcome to another article in the segment Trinikid Travels. As most of you know, Trinikid is most well-known as an entertainment blog. But as an entertainment blogger, I have been able to work and live in some of the most amazing destinations around the world. And the craziest thing about it is, that I'm only just getting started.
I am writing this article from the small backpacker community of Palomino, Colombia. It's a popular destination but a lot of people aren't too sure if it's worth the trip, especially with places like Cartagena and Santa Marta only a few bus rides away. So is worth it? Before we get into the final consensus and rating out of five, let's first explore the good and the bad of this Colombian vacation destination.
1. Palomino is small
Palomino gives off a very small-town vibe. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, but I love it. You see the same people every day, you go to the same restaurants and the same bars and clubs. When you're in Palomino, you are not really a tourist but a member of a budding community.
2. Palomino is a backpacker community
As mentioned above, Palomino isn't much of a town or a city. It's a community. But it isn't a regular community. It's a backpacker community. It's mainly one long street filled with hostels, hotels, restaurants, and bars stretching from the main road to the beach. There are a ton of hostels and most of the people there aren't rich tourists throwing their money away like in Cancun or Tulum. The tourists in Palomino are 90% backpackers, living on a budget and eager to meet as many people as possible. You can pop into any hostel you want to get a drink and mingle or go to a bonfire at the beach. There's always someone to meet, regardless if you speak Spanish or not.
3. Palomino has a fun nightlife
I was told, before going to Palomino, that it was very quiet with little to no nightlife. I love a good party so this discouraged me a bit. However, now I believe that the person who told me that was probably in the village on a Monday or something. Yes, on a Monday and Tuesday, there is usually nothing to do at night. However, from Wednesday onwards the small village gets "turnt up!" Nomada Bar and Prada become littered with humans, music, and alcohol. Then, when the lights shut off at the bars, the party continues on a bonfire at the beach.
4. Palomino is surrounded by other amazing places.
Palomino is lovely in itself but it's a great place to base before visiting many of the amazing attractions around. Tayrona National Park is less than an hour away. Flamingos Flora and Fauna Sanctuary is less than an hour away and it's the middle point between Santa Marta, Riohacha, and the deserts of La Guajira. If you're in Santa Marta and don't want to spend a million years on a bus to the desert, Palomino is a great place to stop out for a few days before continuing on.
5. Palomino is very relaxing.
There isn't much to do in Palomino during the day, so FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) doesn't really exist. Everything there is to do is muy Tranquilo, such as laying by a pool, chilling in a hammock, or tubing down the river. I compiled a list of things to do in Palomino. Check it out here.
6. Palomino has good food
Looking for some good cooking? Palomino has got you. It has all types of restaurants from Italian to Colombian to Middle Eastern. And they are all well done and taste amazing.
7. Palomino is super safe
A dark dirt road in the middle of the jungles of Colombia does not sound very safe, on paper. And if you tell your parents this there will surely think you're going crazy. However, I, along with many other people said they felt completely safe there. I haven't heard any stories of tourists being robbed or attacked. The locals go out of their way to keep the community safe as tourism is their bread and butter. Without tourists, the village will crumble and surge into even more poverty. So, to keep the tourists happy, they keep the place safe and it seems to be a sentiment shared by everyone in Palomino.
1. Palomino's beaches aren't very beautiful
The beach in Palomino is definitely not up there with the best beaches in the world. The waves are big and dig up a lot of the sand, making the water seem brown. It also has a very high shoreline with very little sand to walk on, in a lot of the places.
2. Palomino's beaches are actually quite dangerous to swim in
Palomino is safe in general but the beach is very unpredictable. There are actually multiple warnings about swimming in the water. There are rip currents in the water which is a drowning hazard. I have heard that people have died in the water, especially those who decide to take a drunken night swim after a party. People do still swim in the water and are fine at the end but there is the probability that you get caught in a riptide.
3. Palomino is super small
There isn't much in Palomino. It's an incredibly tiny place that could barely even be called a village. You can see most of Palomino in one 10-minute stroll. This could get boring very quickly.
4. There isn't really anything to do in Palomino
This is connected to the last point. Because it is so small, there isn't a lot to do in the village and gets boring after a day or two. The best way to have fun in Palomino is to meet as many people as you can.
5. Palomino's power supply is unreliable
This is the thing that got me the most, especially as I work online. The power supply is very unreliable and can be randomly cut for hours at any time. This was incredibly uncomfortable and just plain annoying. If you don't work online and don't necessarily need your electronic devices then Palomino is great for a detox. Some places have generators so it's not all doom and gloom.
6. Internet in Palomino is also unreliable
The wifi in the hostels and hotels is connected to the power, so once the power goes, the internet goes. Phone data also doesn't work very well in these parts.
7. Palomino's water isn't very clean and not suitable for drinking.
When I first got to Colombia I landed in Medellin. The water in the taps there is completely safe to drink. However, in Palomino, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT drink the water. There is a high probability that you would get sick if you do.
Palomino isn't the best place in Colombia and I can think of a million places in the world that are much better. However, the small village provides you with a relaxing experience and an opportunity to mingle and mix with the budding backpacking community in Colombia. It's an ideal place to meet backpackers who aren't big spenders and lavish living like they do in Tulum, Cancun, and Cartagena. In Palomino, almost everyone is budget traveling, eating cheaply, and enjoying the finer things in life that money can't buy. I recommend visiting Palomino for at least 3 days but staying for more than a week could get boring if you're just on vacation and have nothing to fill your days with. For me, I fill my days with work but if you don't have work then boredom will definitely start setting in after about four days.
All in all, Palomino isn't one of the must-see places in Colombia. You can skip it and not miss out too much.