Taganga is a small village 5km north of Santa Marta at the Caribbean coast in Colombia.
Taganga is an ancestral fishing village which has grown into a tourist hub/beach town servicing the incredible surrounding attractions of the nearby Sierra & Tayrona National Parks. Many tourists, Colombian and international visit this place every year. It is has a certain loud Caribbean charm, the sunsets are legendary, the diving is cheap and the restaurants serve gourmet food at excellent prices. There are also some spectacular very good value places to stay. It is famous for all that and of course full rumba!
Although Taganga is a popular place to go, like many towns in Colombia it has also its share of problems. Make sure you get cash before you arrive as the ATM is often broken, the roads are terrible and unpaved, but that alone has it's own charm. Like many places on the coast, be careful when you walk alone at night or in remote areas. Do not take anything valuable with you out after dark and use lit streets to return to your hostel.
Late 2013 the town was unsafe, the safety improved a lot in 2014.
Transport to Cartagena
DIVAEXPE office is representing Marsol in Taganga and selling shuttle tickets from Taganga to Barranquilla and Cartagena at COP $43.000 pesos (update 2014). Location: Casa Divanga, Calle 11 No. 3 - 5. Tel: (5) 4219217.
Transport to Tayrona
TayroTaganga on the corner at the entrance to Taganga opposite the police station (Kra 2/Calle 18) run shuttles from your hostel direct to the entrances of Tayrona National Park. You can ask for the service in your hostel, or you can just go see Jose and his family at the agency when you arrive in town. It leaves every morning at 8am from Taganga, and you can return any following day at 5pm from the entrance of Tayrona. It costs 17mil each way and avoids changing buses in the market and at the park entrance. Tel: (5) 421 4825, Mob: 3107218777
- Frequent minibuses (collectivos) go from Santa Marta Busterminal to Taganga for COP $ 1.400 per person (2013 price). It's about 15 minutes to Santa Marta Historic Center and it's a beautiful ride. You can get off at the Mirador of Taganga and walk down to town (25 minutes). You cannot get a mini bus back to Taganga from the main beach in Santa Marta (Carrera 1), because it is one-way. To go back to Taganga you have to take the mini bus from 5th Avenue (Carrera quinta).
- Taxi fare from the bus terminal of Santa Marta to Taganga starts from COP $10.000, but drivers usually charge a little more for foreigners. Be sure to negotiate before you take off. From Taganga to Santa Marta center cost you COP $8.000 and raises to COP $10.000 on sundays, holidays and at night.
- For cruise ship passengers arriving in Santa Marta there are plenty of taxis and mini-buses waiting in a gated police controlled area to take you around town.
Taganga is surrounded by beautiful desert mountains covered in natural flora and fauna. There are millions of lovely fish and corals which can be reached by short walks and snorkeling out to corals. People watching and good mellow times are to be had along the beach road and loads of beautiful tourists.
Bring (enough) money!
There is only one ATM in Taganga and most of the time it is broken. Make sure you bring enough money for your stay since the next ATM is in Santa Marta!
- The main beach is shared with the harbor of Taganga. It's small and simple but good for swimming. It is very crowded with Colombian tourists on weekends.
- Playa Grande is a short boat ride (7000pesos per person) a little better than Taganga's beach but maybe even more crowded. Local police are too lazy/under-funded to secure the path to Playa Grande, so do not take the path here under any circumstances unless you are prepared to be robbed.
You can also take a very scenic speed boat ride to one of the more remote beaches in Tayrona Park like Bahia Concha, Playa Cristal & Cabo de San Juan del Guia from COP $45-90mil per person for a return trip). Real unspoiled paradises. Ask the fishermen.
- Mountain Biking, hiking and canyoning eco & community adventures in the pristine Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and Tayrona National Parks can be organised by the only professional mountain biking operator in the local area.Elemento Outdoor Adventure have a growing reputation by providing high quality mountain bikes & equipment, they have established tours for all skill levels and abilities from 1 day tours to 7 day tailor made expeditions exploring some of the least visited, most beautiful locations. There is a distinct focus on very high quality food and breathtaking accommodation options. Elemento has recently grown to include sailing trips into the bays of Tayrona, survival tours in Tayrona, motorbike tours in the Sierra & the Guajira, Freediving & Sports fishing off the coast of Tayrona, kitesurfing in Guajira, jungle paintball and they have contacts with the finest professional yoga instructors in the region. This means you can create your ultimate adventure, well being and chill package in this incredibly diverse area. Elemento has friendly, bilingual guides who are first aid trained, carry first aid kits on all trips, and all clients are fully covered by medical insurance incase of injury.
- Bonito Gordo, Carrera 2, Numero 17a-20, ☎ (+57) 312 510 4791, . A longer walk goes to Bonito Gordo via a steep but rewarding mountain path and from there on the Bahia Concha. Reserve a full day for this and ask around to decide if you need to contract a local guide. You can spend the night at Bonito Gordo or Bahia Concha, but you may need to take your own hammock. Thui Tours organizes a guided walk, in partnership with a local environmental foundation to Bonito Gordo where they manage a protected area of the reef for study. It is possible to snorkel here. For the return journey you are able to retrace your steps, take a bus to Santa Marta, or via boat to Taganga. COP80,000.
- Learn Spanish with a certified, native teacher Ciser Martinez is a native speaker teacher. The schedules can be customized according to your itinerary. For more details you can e-mail to [email protected] or call ☎ (57)320 519 7063 
From Taganga you can get to many area attractions including some of the nicest beaches in the world like Arrecifes and Cabo San Juan. You can also be in the Minca, a small town in the Sierra Nevada Santa Marta in less than an hour. You can get there by bus or taxi. A taxi should not cost from 35.000 to 40.000 pesos.
Brain Coral in Tayrona Park
Taganga turned in to a popular scuba diving spot. Diving spots are usually near the small island "Aguja", a part of Tayrona National Park. The underwater of Taganga has a big diversity of marine life. There are a dozen diving schools in town, but be careful where you do your courses. There are many reports of travelers doing their courses, paying and never receiving any certificate. Be careful for your safety: some diving centers have pretty old equipment, never follow safety rules such as safety-stop and even skip important skills/exams during the course or have dive masters teaching courses, check if you will be with a real instructor. For more information check PADI alerts .
Prices for a half day with 2 dives all equipment included seem about cop $120,000
Available dive centers:
- Reef Shepherd, (Calle 14 n°1-02), ☎ 4219511 ([email protected]). Best quality/price in Taganga, friendly staff, English speaking.
- Oceano Scuba Dive Center, Carrera 2 No. 17 - 46, ☎ (0057-5) 421 90 04 ([email protected]), . is the most experienced in the area with over 25 years in which they have dived with over 40,000 individuals and certified more than 8,000 sport divers. They have three marine vessels equipped with all items required. They are located on the first corner once you arrive to Taganga and their distinctive color is yellow (all they have is on yellow). url="http://[email protected] www.oceanoscuba.com.co fb. oceano scuba taganga Tripadvisor. oceano scuba taganga. Carrera 2 No.17-46 esquina Tel.(0057-5) 421 90 04.
- Tayrona Dive Center, Carrera 2 No. 18A - 22, ☎ (0057-5) 421 53 49 ([email protected]), . Tayrona is the oldest dive center in Taganga. This is where Colombian anti-narcotics policemen take their courses. They also know great sites for diving in the areas of the Tayrona national park. The instructors are very experienced and staff is very nice. They also offer accommodation in very clean rooms with sea view. The founder and owner, known as “muñeco” is one of the best PADI instructors in Colombia. They take great underwater pictures for no extra charge. They also have very good equipment. Courses can be taken in English, Spanish or German.
- Centro de Buceo Poseidon (Poseidon Dive Center), Calle 18 No. 1 - 69 (First street when you get to Taganga, turn left, big red door with the diving flag.), ☎ (0057-5) 421 92 24 [email protected] ([email protected]), . Every Day: 7:30am - 7:00pm. German-owned diving center. Price for OW+Advanced COP $1.300.000 (COP $ 670.000 for OW). One of the most professional diving centres, headed by a well known PADI course Director. Has a swimming pool inside and well-maintained equipments, also are very strict about safety local regulations. This is the place where instructors from Colombia, come to take their course, as they are a PADI 5* Instructor Development Dive Resort. Even some divers from the Colombian Navy come to take courses here. Without any doubt has the best boats in town, 2 well maintained very comfortable Catamaran boats. And there for the only ones that could take you to the furthest dive sites on the Park. They also let you dive until your tank reaches reserve, no time policy (as some others in town do). Courses could be taken in different languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German and some others. Could be pricey compared to other dive centers in town, but the price is still way below average worldwide, totally worth it if what you're looking for is safety, comfort and a good experience. You also have the option of getting accommodations on their facilities.
- Calipso Dive Center, Calle 12 No. 1 - 40, ☎ (5) 421 91 46 ([email protected]), . Calipso is the only center that offers a Tayrona Park Safari, where people can spend 2 nights in hammocks on a beautiful beach in the park and dive. People have raved about this experience. The diving is good. They are also pioneering a project to restore coral, which is rapidly degrading worldwide. In conjunction with the C-Force Foundation they are growing coral in a coral nursery. They are the only agency doing this in Colombia and one of the only ones doing this in the world. You can even take a coral growing/ gardening course. The people are really kind and you can stay at the center before your safari. (note per http://www.calipsodivecenter.com.co/en-us/secpages/voluntariado_EN.php it is "4 weeks full program $2.000 U.S. Dollars") Calipso is a member of NAUI, the second largest Scuba Diving Association in the World. Any certification between NAUI and PADI is mutually recognizable. NOT a PADI facility according to the PADI website. Prices for OW or Advanced Tayrona Park Safari with 2 nights 3 days sleeping in the park are COP $680.000 or for both is COP $1.100.000 with safari. They offer cheaper courses if you don't want to do the safari. For a 3 day and 2 night Safari with 7 dives it's COP $550.000.
- Fundación Calipso Dive Center Calipso Dive Center and Tayrona National Park in Taganga Colombia are running a midwater marine nursery to recover species of corals around the marine area, control lion fish, educating the local fisherman and monitoring the coral reef. This is a opportunity for volunteers to enjoy scuba diving and support conservation. Volunteer in Coral Conservation Program Santa Marta - Taganga, calle 12 No. 1 - 40 Tel. (0057-5) 421 9146.
- Private spanish teacher Paola Mendoza is a private spanish teacher who offers you spanish lessons one to one in Santa Marta o Taganga. More information [email protected] see 
- Casa Divanga Language Center, Spanish courses, had basic course for one week with a nice teacher. She built up her own method, helps you to learn fast. Also got special rate for accommodation in Casa Divanga.
- Learn Spanish with a native teacher is a native speaker teacher. The schedules can be customized according to your itinerary. For more details you can e-mail to [email protected] or call ☎ (57)320 519 7063. See 
- Spanish Teacher Santa Marta (Amira Paola Melo), (Santa Marta & Taganga), ☎ +57 3014928766 ([email protected]), . Certified and experienced teacher offers flexible lessons in a one-on-one setting.
Get homemade seasonal sweets and delicious frozen fruit treats at Kelly seasonally. And check out the handmade Wayu and Kogi shoulder bags. Excellent crafts and very Colombian!
- Republika Taganguera, French Restaurant/Bar. Tel. (0057-5) 421 90 92. Located in hostel Divanga, with nice swimming pool and just 4 blocks straight up from Delfin Hostel on the beach. Good vibes. A plus: they take all credit cards from $10.000. you can see the menu 
- Café Bonsai, Calle 13 No. 1 - 7 (by the beach, a block from Taganga Xtreme), ☎ (0057-5) 421 94 95, . 08.00-22.30. Great breakfasts (freshly baked breads, wholegrain or rye sour dough, creamy yogurt with homemade jams and granola). Lunch with excellent sandwiches, big, fresh and tasty with some extremely nice sauces. At night great BBQ with pork chops, ginger chicken, balsamic rosemary skewers of tenderloin. Also available: Colombian excelso arabica coffee or tea from India, tasty brownies, cocktails including martinis, daiquiris and a really fresh variant of mojito. AC, Wi-Fi and great music. 2-8 USD.
- Babaganoush Restaurant/Bar, above dive center tayrona (Cra. 1 No. 18 - 22), ☎ 318-868 14 76. 17.00-23.30. A new restaurant opened by the previous (Dutch) chef from Casa de Felipe. Beautiful place with nice sea view, lounge area and terrace. International cuisine: pumpkin soup, beef carpacio, vitello tonato, curries, tikka masala, pastas, fresh fish fillet, Filet Mignon with red wine or blue cheese sauce and homemade desserts. Sunset Happy Hour 17.00-21.30.
- Taganga Xtreme, Nice place on the beach front. Have (beach) clothes as well. Great coffee but bad service.
- Che Luis, Usually very crowded with locals and Israelis. Mostly an Israeli place and very loud as well. A lot of food for little money, but not the best quality though.
- El Reef, Cra. 1 No. 15 - 09. Near the beach. Great panini sandwiches and good salads. The speciality: good waffles with ice cream and nutella.
- Bitácora, Nice place on the beach front. Looks always crowded. Try the "Pescado Marinero" for an excellent dish (comes with a colorful side salad and self made fries. Maracuja juice (con leche) is also recommended. This may be a seasonal advice (true for September): beware of small (and not eatable) but nevertheless painful fruit falling from trees above if you get a seat not covered by the roof.
- PachaMama, Nice tapas restaurant near the church. French chef.
- Baguettes de Maria, Maria is a nice lady who makes great baguettes. Located near the soccer field.
- Pomodoro, Small local restaurant near the soccer field. They offer pizza and local food.
- Cactus, A kiosk on the beachfront. Very local.
It would be good idea to take a couple of "Stubbie Coolers" (Australian vernacular for an item which keeps the beer in your bottle cooler or longer) as the heat in Taganga will have you drinking warm beer by the time you are at the end of your drink.
- Divanga B&B, Calle 12 No. 4, ☎ (0057-5) 421 90 92 ([email protected]), . Great hostel bed and breakfast. Includes a beautiful swimming pool that creates a great social area. The staff is friendly. Comfortable and clean rooms most of it with aircon all with private bathroom at only COP $52.000 per person, in dorm COP $37.000 pesos including internet and a generous breakfast. The view from the roof is fantastic, especially at sunset and a roof top bar plays excellent music. There is also a comfy TV room with cable TV and DVD player, an internet room with free high speed internet and Wi-Fi access and a restaurant inside serving excellent food. Free luggage storage. Discount for Hostelling International (HI) members. All credit cards accepted without any overcharge.
- La Casa de Felipe, Carrera 5A No. 19 - 13 (behind the football field), ☎ (0057-5) 421 91 01 ([email protected]), . Popular hostel. Several apartments some with kitchen, dormitory and hammocks if everything else is full. There is a communal kitchen, internet facilities, free wifi, laundry service, nice terraces and a friendly staff. Always crowded by backpackers. Located 15 minutes by walk from the beach. Prices between COP $15.000 and COP $45.000. Breakfast COP $6.000.Discount for Hostelling International (HI) members..
- Casa Divanga, (diva[email protected]). Divanga B&B's little sister at one block down. You get access to divanga's pool. Shady patio with hammocks and communal kitchen. Includes a tourism information point with Taganga's map and full information about Tayrona park. Free WiFi and two decent computers for free use. French run. Dorm : from COP $19.000, Double w/bathroom: COP 60.000.
- Casa Blanca, ☎ (5) 421 92 32 / 300-805 49 68. Opened in 1998 by Colombian/Swiss team Carlos Botache and Bernard Gusten, Casa Blanca has become a favorite amongst beach-loving travelers and provides an excellent base for those taking dive courses in town or those wanting to make the most of their time by the sea. Prices are COP $18.000 p.p. with a COP $2.000 single supplement. Double rooms are COP $40.000.it is a run down dump it may have been nice 10 years ago but it has gone backwards with new owner Heavy drug influence on beach in front, so be careful at night.
- La Tortuga Hostel, Calle 9 No. 3 - 116, ☎ (0057-5) 421 90 48 / 320-258 96 77 ([email protected]), . Clean and comfortable en-suite dorms and privates, a roof bar, tour info, private diving instructor, Lost City treks, jenga tournaments, friendly staff, 24 hour reception, free storage, internet access, free Wi-Fi, book exchange and laundry service. This hostel is located pretty far up and in an "not-so-nice" area. Be careful when you are returning after dusk or at night. When exiting the hostal, do not walk the street straight to the beach, but make a left asap and avoid that street. From COP $22.000. www.tortugahostel.com
- Taganga GuestHOUSE, Calle 10 No. 5-129 (Near the mountain), ☎ (0057-5) 421 58 35 ([email protected]). Nice farm place with beutiful garden, to 600mt from the beach. Clean and safe with friendly staff. Some rooms come with air-conditioning (AC). Breakfast included, free fast Wi-Fi and free luggage storage. Laundry service. All credit cards accepted without extra fee. In.
- Moramar Backpackers International, (In front of the football field), ☎ (0057-5) 421 92 02 ([email protected]), . New. Good atmosphere, great service, nice views of the sea and the Sierra Nevada. COP $15.000 pesos for a single room to COP $8.000 for a hammock,.
- ReyMARIn (used to stand for Miramar backwards when it was a Miramar hotel, now, it is the sea king). Manager Chichi has 50 years of fishing experience. Family serves nice food next door.
- Techos Azules, Sector Dunkarinka Cabaña 1 - 100, ☎ (0057-5) 421 91 41, Cel. 316-648 07 31 ([email protected], [email protected]), . Nicely placed at the entrance of the town, it has hammocks, private rooms with bathroom, "cabañas" (two rooms, sitting room with kitchen, shower with toilet). Beautiful views of Taganga and the bay. Around COP $20.000 per person, discounts can be contracted if you are in a group or staying for a longer period..
- Bayview Hostal. Located next to hostel Moramar, in front of the football field. Very friendly Colombian staff. Private rooms and fan/AC dorms available, all quite clean. Prices as of December 2012 (high season) Fan dorm 20,000 COP, AC dorm 28,000 COP. Plus if you buy one night you get the next free. Large communal kitchen, small lockers for valuables, Free Wifi, and computers you can use for a small fee. Nice pool in the back. They organize many after parties in the pool..
- Hotel Oso Perezoso, Calle 17 No. 2 - 36, ☎ (0057-5) 421 80 41 ([email protected]), . Hotel Oso Perezoso is a three-story structure, perfectly designed to catch the cool breezes of Taganga and enjoy a chill atmosphere amid a 360 degree view. The first floor has three rooms and a store, free bag storage, and a book exchange. The second floor has four bright guest rooms with views of the ocean that open onto a breezy open-air corridor. The third floor is a gorgeous rooftop Tsunami bar and cafe with Wi-Fi internet (COP $5.000 extra), a 800GB jukebox, plenty of room for hammock chillin' and a sassy parrot. From here you can watch the sun rise over the mountains, watch the sun melt into the Caribbean, sip on a cold beer, and order something from the full-service restaurant. Restaurant and bar are open to the public. Room prices range from COP $15.000 a night per person (hammocks), to COP $20.000 a night per person (first floor), to COP $28.000 per person per night (on the second floor). All rooms have private baths, excluding hammocks. Big breakfast is included with each room rate.
- Another option is to ask around for an apartment or room to rent. There are gringo shacks and rooms for rent all over town. But be carefull; most of those places to stay do not have running water and you never know who has another key. Taganga has a long history of people's belongings disappearing as everyone in town often have keys and people lose stuff the day they are scheduled to leave. There is always the option of find a person who's renting a room in their house, or seeing who's out of town and turned their home into a temporary guest house. If you do this, be sure you trust where you are staying, and bring your own locks as a precaution. Also, Taganga has no water due to political issues, so there are times where water can be an issue. Most of those renting places are ilegal. They do not have permision to rent out those rooms.
- Kool Koala Hostel, Calle 13 No. 3 - 139, ☎ 57 (5) 421 9196, . A clean hostel with a nice courtyard area, hammocks to hang out in, flat screen tv. Only a 5 min walk to the beach. Free wifi, fastest in town (in a sample size of comparing to three other hostels, the wifi in town is generally a little slow). Friendly staff. If you're going to do the Ciudad Perdida, it is recommended to book through them. Six bed dorm COP 15,000 fan room, six bed dorm with AC COP 20,000 (cheap for AC). Double room from COP 30,000 per person. Single private COP 35,000. Hammocks are an option for the very budget traveler. You're sleeping exposed outside, but you have access to the hostel facilities, costs COP 12,000.
- Casa Caluca, Cl. 1, Taganga, ☎ +57 312 510 4791, . A Loft apartment, in a brick building, Casa Caluca is a comfortable and quiet place to stay, and with sea views from the balcony, you can relax in the hammock or arm chair to watch the sunset. The apartment has fully equipped kitchen (fridge, stove with integrated oven), bedroom with a double bed, and bathroom, with a shared balcony, garden and patio area. Short and long term rentals are available
- Clarisima, Cra 5, Taganga (Behind La Casa de Felipe hostel), ☎ +57 312 510 4791, . Furnished studio apartments with bathroom, balcony with a beautiful view over the bay of Taganga, fully equipped kitchen (fridge, stove with integrated oven, fridge) and rocking chairs, sunny double doors that lead to the terrace and to the exit. These apartments are enclosed have four different spaces in the same location but with their own area of privacy. Short and long term rentals are available
- ocean reef guesthouse ([email protected]), Cra 4 # 17B-109 (rigth behind futbol pitch), ☎ ++57(5) 4219523. checkin: 10:00 am; checkout: 1:00 pm. hostel in Taganga, clean, safe, cheap and family run, friendly and helpfull staff, big outdoor area, comfortable dorms with fan or A/C, double room with A/C, hammocks and camping site, car park for caravans and motorbikes, communal kitchen full equipped, lockers, cable TV and DVD, lots of movies, free internet and fast Wi-Fi zone, book exchange and laundry service. Located reasonably close to the main areas in the bay, treks and tours can be booked at the reception, so don’t be afraid to ask: Lost city trek, Tayrona Park, diving schools, Shuttle service to Cartagena and Guajira. prices from COP $10.000 for hammocks and camping,.COP $15.000 for dorms and COP $50.000 for private room with A/C,TV and Bathroom. Breakfast COP $5.000. Free coffee.
There is a great little internet cafe a block to the west of the police station and ATM, which adds little friendly touches like the occasional cup of water.
Taganga has recently become notorious for mugging and robbery, so regular precautions should be taken.
There are quite 7 small beaches outside of Taganga (15 minutes walk), which are connected by walking paths covered by vegetation. These paths are used by local robbers, especially on late hours when there are not many people walking to and from. Do not walk there by yourself. Wait for a small group. If you carry valuables with you and don't feel adventurous, it's better to take a boat (3 minutes; COP $3.000). None of the trails to the other beaches near to taganga are safe anymore to walk. Also don't walk out of the center at night. Especialy not to the right side of the beach into 3th street. Gangrobbery's with 7-8 robbers with nifes and guns are very common. The size of your own group does not realy matter, if a robber has got a gun, and they will defenitly have at least one.
If you consume illegal/recreational drugs be careful of getting shaken down/searched/harassed by the local police. If they find anything on you be prepared to be taken into custody and threatened with jail unless you pay an on-the-spot fine (in cash, of course). Anyone traveling with you is also subject to harassment and could be made to contribute to your "fine" as well. So, better not using drugs in public.
- Ciudad Perdida — Taganga, even moreso than Santa Marta, is the main jumping off point for the famous trek, and you should be able to arrange a trek on short notice with any of the hostels or tour companies dotting the main road. The agency created by memebers of indigeneous community "Wiwas" offers the most original tour visiting indigeneous village and sharing cultural traditions, guides and cooks are Wiwas (represented by Divaexpe at Casa Divanga 
- Tayrona National Park — an unspoilt natural paradise of jungle, birds, ocean, and absolutely gorgeous beaches. A boat leaves for the backpacker beach haven of El Cabo every morning around 10:30AM.
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