Visit Taganga travel guide: between good memories and bad reputation

Taylor made trip to Colombia

Would you like to travel to Colombia with a travel agency?
Compare the offers of our local partners

Rediscovering Taganga for a second time means rediscovering the marks left behind a few years ago and following in the footsteps of the past.

It’s always risky to return to a place with sweet memories, many years later, and hope to relive moments just as sweet.

Today, Taganga divides hearts, with some decrying its uninteresting beach, dirty streets and insecurity. Others have fond memories of a pleasant moment of tranquillity. Whatever the case, Taganga leaves no one indifferent!

Disclaimer: we apologize in advance for any grammatical or syntactic errors, as our native language is not English (we're a Colombian-French couple), so we hope you'll forgive us and still enjoy the information we share with you! Please note that all the information on our blog is based on our own experience, and is checked and updated regularly.

Taganga, hot and cold

BETWEEN GOOD MEMORIES AND A BAD REPUTATION

Visit Taganga travel guide: between good memories and bad reputation

Back to basics

For this return to my roots, 3 years after my first visit, the idea was to stay in the same hostal as the first time and feel a little at home. Mission accomplished: when we landed at Casa de Felipe, our stay in Taganga got off to the best possible start.

Throughout the day, yellow shirts were everywhere. It’s match day in Colombia! And when the Colombian national soccer team plays, the whole country is behind it! In the evening, we head off to a beachside restaurant to watch the game with the Colombians, drink a cool Aguila and eat a little grilled fish. Local atmosphere, with a splendid sunset over the bay..

Here’s the Taganga I love, here’s the Taganga I remember… here’s enough to make you forget that Taganga, this isolated fishing port, is not the paradise resort some might imagine.

Inhospitable Taganga

Taganga has a bad reputation, and it’s going from bad to worse… First of all, for those hoping for an idyllic spot, let’s be clear: Taganga’s beach is uninteresting, very small and, depending on the tides, can be dirty. The village itself is of no interest either, and many of its streets are dirt. So if you’re looking for a seaside resort that’s clean and tidy, skip it.

To get to the “activities” you’ll have to take the lanchas, which will take you right and left to the bay’s small beaches, go diving or go as far as Playa Cristal inside Tayrona Park.

If these details aren’t important to you, and if you accept the idea that in Colombia, in the villages of the Caribbean coast and elsewhere, poverty is visible and the infrastructure suffers, then perhaps you can spend a few peaceful days in Taganga.

Safety

Over the past few years, Taganga has become a hotbed of partying, drug-taking and prostitution for foreign tourists… according to our local sources, insecurity is on the rise… everything that’s plaguing the country, everything that Colombians want to see disappear, everything that we tourists need to help them fight against, by not participating, by not condoning.

If you come to Colombia to play the fake rebel, do cocaine and play with girls, you’re wiping your feet on the Colombian people. That’s what we want to see disappear from Taganga, so that this fishing village can regain its serenity.

Already on my first trip in 2013, we were warned to be careful at night, as tourists were sometimes robbed on their way back to their hostal. In 2016, the recommendations were still valid.

Today they seem to be even more so, as the situation in Taganga has worsened over the last few months.

For my part, I’ve never felt unsafe, but it’s important to understand that I didn’t go out at night to party. After eating on the beach or at the Casa de Felipe hostel, the evening continued quietly on the hostel’s super terraces, and that was enough to fill us with happiness.

Taganga with two faces

Taganga with two faces, where the best and worst of Colombia rub shoulders… I’ve never come to Taganga to party, do drugs or find prostitutes, and I think there’s plenty of opportunity to experience Taganga in a different way, to enjoy a quiet atmosphere for a few days.

While Taganga may have been the place to stay in the past, it would seem that today, with the renovation of the town center, Santa Marta is once again the preferred option for setting up a base camp and exploring the surrounding area. We’ll find out all about it on our next trip and tell you all about it, of course!

To conclude, I can say that, despite its justifiably bad reputation, my two stays in Taganga leave me with excellent memories.

For the atmosphere of the dirt streets and the chickens running in the puddles..
For the Casa de Felipe ‘s pleasant atmosphere..
For those quiet encounters with the locals..
For soccer matches between two local teams on the village gravel field..
For scuba diving in the crystal-clear waters of Tayrona Park
Beers at sunset..
For all these good times and those I hope to relive one day in a peaceful Taganga?

Best things to do in Taganga

Visit Taganga

Visit Taganga travel guide: between good memories and bad reputation

Playa Cristal

Taganga is the ideal starting point for a trip toone of the most beautiful beaches in the Tayrona Park: Playa Cristal.

Playa Cristal is a paradise for lovers of multicolored fish. If all goes well, the staff of the lancha that brought you here can lend you masks and snorkels to admire the local aquatic fauna. Frankly, it’s worth the detour! The great thing is that it all happens right there on the beach, and the few reefs present are enough to attract a host of fish, each more magical than the last, so all you have to do is put your head under the water!

The sand is white, the water crystal-clear, the palm trees are there to provide welcome shade, the jungle overflows behind us, the spectacle is grandiose, what more can we say?

Playa Cristal only allows acertain number of people on the beach, which, while far from being alone in the world, still guarantees a sense of tranquillity.

When we say Tayrona Park, it’s important to understand that Playa Cristal is not just another entry point into the park. It’s not possible to stay overnight, nor is it possible to continue on foot to any of the paths. This is a one-day round-trip plan.where to sleep in Taganga.

Lancha info

  • Lancha round trip from Taganga: between $70.000 and $80.000 pesos per person. The price includes entry to the park, so please check with the tour operator.
  • Times: Departure in the morning, return around 4 p.m.
  • Meals: You can eat at the park’s only fish restaurant. The fresh fish is perfect.

Scuba diving

What to do in Taganga

Visit Taganga travel guide: between good memories and bad reputation

Taganga is renowned as one of Colombia’s top scuba diving destinations. There are many reasons for this, but unfortunately we’re going to debunk the myth.

One thing’s for sure: the waters of Parque Tayrona are the best for discovering seabeds rich in marine life. The region is one of the top diving spots in Colombia. But we advise you to be careful about the diving center you choose in Taganga .

The tourism boom in Taganga a few years ago has also led to an explosion in the scuba diving on offer. Dozens of dive centers have opened, slashing prices at the expense of service quality and safety to attract ever more tourists.

Where to stay in Taganga

Taganga, the best hotels

Visit Taganga travel guide: between good memories and bad reputation

Hostal

Casa de Felipe Hostal

Dormitory : $25.000 to $50.000/Double room : $0 to $100.000 COP

A great hostal in Taganga, really. The people at reception are super friendly and super helpful, the rooms are clean and pleasant, the atmosphere is cool, the terrace is great and there’s a “French” restaurant inside that’s really good.

How to get to Taganga

By bus

From the Mercado Publico in Santa Marta, take a bus in the direction of Taganga, which runs all day long.

  • Duration: 15 min
  • Fare: approx. $2.000 COP

By cab

From downtown

  • Time: 15 min
  • Fare: $10.000 COP

You may also be interested in

Authors

Angélica & Samuel

We are Angélica and Samuel, a French-Colombian couple, professional photographers and web editors specializing in travel to Colombia. We created this blog to change the image of the country, help you prepare your trip and inspire you to discover Colombia in a different way!

Comment soutenir notre blog

Our site contains forms and links that allow you to use services or get in touch with service providers we've tested and recommend. By using our links and forms, you're assured of a quality service AND you're supporting our blog. It makes no difference to you, but it does to us! Thank you for your support!