The Caribbean Coast of Colombia

Tayrona - Beach

On the Caribbean Coast of Colombia, you can find colonial towns rich in culture, beautiful beaches, green landscape and a National Park with a diverse flora and fauna. My best travel buddy Sarah joined me for 10 days and we made the following route along the Coast: BaranquillaSanta MartaTayrona National ParkPalominoMincaCartagena. We only had limited time, but I would definitely spend more time on the coast because there is a lot to more to explore!

This blog gives an overview of our experience along the coast, if you need detailed information about the different places, please klick on the links to get to my other articles about Colombia!

Highlights along the Coast

  • Sleeping in a hammock next to the ocean in the Tayrona National Park
  • Strolling around the wonderful colonial town in Cartagena
  • Taking tons of pictures of the colorful buildings in Cartagena & Santa Marta
  • Staying in an eco-village in Minca and disconnecting from the world
  • Relaxing on the beach and falling asleep to jungle sounds in an eco-lodge in Palomino
  • Enjoying a little paradise at Posada Villa Margarita, close to the Tayrona National Park
  • Eating the best seafood dishes at La Mulata in Cartagena
  • Exploring the tropical landscape and waterfalls around Minca & the Tayrona National Park

Things to consider

  • Book in advance during main holidays. We made the trip in the Easter holidays (Semana Santa) and it was super crowded because a lot of Colombians were on vacation by that time. Like always we didn’t plan or book anything in advance and we had a hard time finding accommodation for a good price.
  • Take enough cash with you. We had problems with the ATMs, especially during the Easter Holidays and in places like Palomino there is no ATM.
  • Take a Minivan operated by a private bus company for longer distances. We spent a lot of time doing research on the bus connections. Public busses are usually a bit cheaper but the bus terminals are often outside the towns and therefore you need another bus or taxi to get into the city. Especially from Santa Marta to Cartagena it would have been much easier to go with a minivan. They are much faster and usually bring you directly to your hostel. From Santa Marta to Cartagena it took us 7 hours with the public bus, because we spent at least 2 hours waiting in different terminals and the terminal in Cartagena is 1 hour outside the city center.
  • Pack light clothes, drink a lot of water and use sunscreen. For me the Caribbean Coast, especially Cartagena, was one of the hottest and most humid places I have ever been. During the day it was pretty exhausting walking around, especially at midday the heat was stifling. If possible start your trips early, rest at midday and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere starting in the late afternoon.

Transfer along the Coast

  • Minivan Barranquilla – Santa Marta: 2 bus companies in Calle 93, 2 hours, 7 € (25.000 COP)
  • Bus Santa Marta – Tayrona National Park (Posada Villa Margarita): 1 hour, 2 € (7.000 COP)
  • Bus Tayrona National Park – Palomino: 1 hour, 2 € (7.000 COP)
  • Bus Santa Marta – Cartagena: 7 hours, 6 € (20.000 COP)
  • Minca (Finca Carpe Diem): Bus Santa Marta – Bonda: 10 mins, 0,45 € (1.600 COP) & motor taxi to the Finca: 20 mins, 3 € (10.000 COP)

The Caribbean Coast of Colombia has amazing places to explore. My friend and I made many good memories there and we hope to come back one day!