We had decided, by advice of a friend, to check out Palomino after Taganga. Never heard anything about it on my previous trip to Colombia but were told just to take a bus there, and do the “tubes” With that much info as our guidebook we left the Miramar Guest House and headed in that direction.
Walked a few blocks to the “bus station” and hopped on a packed bus, where eventually after giving up my seat to a few older ladies, I was sitting there on the top step of the entrance into the bus, door open, feet dangling just enjoying the breeze as we left the city into the jungle. With some reggaeton music playing in the bus, perfect temperature, and beautiful scenery to enjoy on the ride, I looked at Taylor and said “man, its simple moments like this that we have to enjoy because months from now, back home, and working, you would do anything to be here.” He just smiled and nodded in agreement.
Throughout the journey we stopped here and there, people jumping off and on, some backpackers heading to different locations, but mainly villagers in the area with fruits or fish to carry home and sell in town. Eventually, we stopped in another town, and heard the bus driver yell “Palomino.”
Trees and Caribbean in Palomino, Colombia
Taylor, myself and Bjorn, a Swiss guy we met on the ride, all looked at each other as to say “ guess this is it…?” hopped off the bus and we pointed down a random dirt road when we asked for The Dreamer Hostel. Kilometer or two later of walking through farm land and open beautiful area, we arrived to our surprise at a terrific, new, very quiet but well equipped hostel
called Dreamer Hostel.
Less than 100m to the beach, we strolled down, and jumped up and down the little banks and swam out off the beautiful secluded coastline, later walked up to the town, which is no more than basically one main street, had some rotisserie chicken, and called it a night.
Next morning we woke up early, had a quick jog to the beach, swam around for a little bit, and put down some eggs, rice and beans for breakfast, got together with a group of people, and headed into town to go tubing! Into town we strolled down the street and passed a store that had a few outside. They are literally the bare inner tubes of a giant truck tire, equipped with the stick out inflation valve to try to avoid when jumping in! Nevertheless, for about 6 dollars for the day, we each rented one and headed up the road next to the only gas station.
Walking to the river with our tubes in Palomino, Colombia
After a slow stroll, the walk turned into a hike, up narrow but carved out paths up and over hills in the dense jungle, eventually getting to the top of one of the hills, and looking down through the trees to a beautiful, slow moving river. That was our destination. Seeing that, all of a sudden you get a rush of energy, and we were pretty much jogging down the hill. Getting to the bottom, we all put the little things we carried in plastic bags or on our laps in the tubes and jumped into the water.
Taylor and I reading to jump in the river
One of the most refreshing, enjoying plunges you will ever encounter. The water was about 2 feet to 5 feet deep at most places, and meandered slowly, so you are able to look up at the huge trees, and remember how remote of a location you are in. I felt like I was floating down a mini amazon from what I had seen from travel documentaries. As we floated down you could look on the banks and see movement from birds, animals, and we also saw a few wild boars. The river is quite bare of any trees or anything, but at the beginning where we did enter, there was 1 sticking out from the bottom. Of course, I managed to hit it. I was facing back towards the group trying to take a video or photo, when a few started pointing behind me. Without time to avoid it, I hit right into the middle of this limb, and so central on it that I didnt bounce off and float either side, the water completely flipped me, and I was in the water with my tube heading down the river! I had to grab my things and try and run in knee deep water, my flip flops broke under the water, and I managed to basically fall face first into my tube, flipping it up over me, looking back at everyone just laughing at me. Finally situated comfortably in my tube, we all continued.
Floating down the Palomino River
For about 2 hours, you just sit in an incredibly comfortable position, with good company, all floating at more or less the same rate, with incredible scenery and sounds to enjoy. Then it crossed my mind … “where does this thing end?” As we cruised down, the width of the river started to increase and the jungle started to thin. Eventually we passed under a bridge that I recognized as the one we passed over just before arriving into Palomino. Then, like out of a movie, we passed around a corner and in the distance I could see a sand bank, that had formed a large pool, and the Caribbean sea in the distance. Such an incredible sight. Upon arrival, we all just floated in the natural pool, chatted and headed back to grab lunch back at the hostel.
The Dreamer Hostel Palomino
After a lot of moving around, whatever direction you are travelling through Colombia, I recommend taking a couple days and checking out Palomino. Not only is the tubing hilarious, relaxing, and a great way to see the jungle, but passing through those little towns and Palomino itself is extremely humbling. Tiny towns with barely anything to offer as far as services, so secluded in the middle of nowhere, with such sweet, happy, content people. Really makes you realize how little we need. Bjorn decided to stay in Palomino a couple more days before heading back to Switzerland, so Taylor and I departed and hopped back on a bus to Santa Marta, where we had initially planned on catching a bus to Medellin …