In Palomino you chill out. There’s not much to do except going to the beach and drinking (cheap and bad) cocktails during the « happy hours » that last all day long. There are lots of expats visiting at the same time and this may sound horrible but actually somehow all these factors work out really well together making Palomino a super cool spot to spend a few days and rest.
Apart from all this, the experience that we enjoyed the most in Palomino was our day in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta where we walked deep into the jungle and met the Kogui tribe, an autonomous indigenous community. They live in small settlements spread all over the mountains of the sierra.
Our local guide, Alvaro, took us to the first Kogui settlement which is a few hours walking from Palomino. Here we met a family of Koguis that were friends with him. He introduced us to everybody and we spent a nice moment sharing food, thoughts, and experiences. They were really curious about how we had traveled there and how it was to travel from so far away. We asked them about their lifestyle and their daily activities. They offered us fruits and veggies as a present and we corresponded the gift offering them cookies and candies. We carried “Coby”, our drone, all the way up there, so we asked Mr. Alvaro if it was okay to fly it and show them the drone. He gave us the green light and up!! We flew the little machine to take some pictures and videos and to show them how it worked. They were amazed and so happy to see a « plane », how they called it, from so close. Mr. Alvaro was quite impressed as well, but more from the reaction of the locals than the drone flying around the jungle. After spending pretty much all day hanging out with our new friends, the time came for us to hike back down to Palomino. We took some pictures together, said our goodbyes, and departed having one of the coolest experiences in all our stay in Colombia.
How to book a tour to La Sierra Nevada ?
You can find Mr. Alvaro walking around the main street of Palomino offering the expedition himself. You can also ask your hostel to arrange a tour with any other local guide. Anyway, there are not a lot of people offering this tour. It is not a cheap activity, we thought it was an expensive day (100 000 COP / person which includes breakfast, lunch and snacks) but we don’t regret it at all, as it was a fantastic once in a lifetime experience.
Where to sleep in Palomino ?
There are a lot (maybe too many) of hostels around Palomino that look good, but the 2 places we stayed at were really great: Maja y Mijin hostal and La Casa Colibri.
Where to eat ?
There are plenty of options for all the budgets along the carrera 6, which is the main street that goes to the beach. We can recommend la Pataconera, with the simplest menu that you will find in the country. Or the Spanish tapas, which have nothing Spanish or tapas about them but they offer a really good formula for 5000 COP per person including a drink and a big plate of veggies served with rice. Believe us, nowhere in Palomino will beat that price.