Palomino is a town with a special character. The town itself is mainly a collection of houses near the main road. Here is where you can find the shops, bakeries, drugstores and restaurants in town. This is connected to the beach by a road filled with hordes of hotels, bars and restaurants. The real beauties of Palomino are the beaches, rivers and mountains. During your stay in Palomino, you may encounter indigenous people and local fishermen doing their daily work. This makes it an interesting destination for people who want to see the customs of the indigenous cultures of the Sierra Nevada.
As of December 2017, the town seems completely overrun by tourists, with hotels nearly outnumbering houses in the village. Guide books from just a few years back paint a picture of an almost untouched fishers' village, and image far from the current reality of a village with more tourists than locals.
Palomino has a long (approx. 5km) white beach with an average temperature of 28°C. You can also see the snow peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta from the beach. The ocean is very rough and swimming is practically impossible, or at least very dangerous.
Please practice responsible/low impact tourism when you visit this place. Or any other place.
You can arrive by public transport (bus, minibus and taxi) or private car.
Take the main highway (90) from Santa Marta towards Riohacha. Palomino is located at KM72, about 1 hour.
Buses from Santa Marta to Palomino cost COP 10,000 (March 2018). They leave from near the "mercado" at the intersection of Calle 11 and Carrera 11. The approximate travel time is 1 hour 45 minutes. There are also buses running directly from the "Terminal de Transporte de Santa Marta" and passing by Palomino. Companies like "Copetran", "Expreso Brasilia, etc. for 15,000 COP (September 2015). You can wait for one of the buses at "La Bomba" if coming from Minca, but since they usually only leave when full there might not be space and it would have been quicker to just catch a bus back into town. You shouldn't have this problem if trying to get on from the highway outside Tayrona, since passengers get off there, leaving vacant seats.Marsol has a direct door-to-door service from Cartagena (75.000 COP - about 5 or 6 hours depending on traffic) which you can book in some hostels, ask around.
Taxis can be up to COP150,000 (Nov 2014) - be prepared to bargain - but the trip takes only 1 hour.
It is about a 20 minute walk to the beach from the highway, there will be plenty of mototaxis waiting at the bus stop to take you down for COP3,000.
The snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains while lying on the beach.
There are many restaurants along the beach, along the road to the beach and on the highway. The general rule is like anywhere - the closer to the beach you get, the more expensive. The Restaurants on the mainroad offer mostly local dishes for reasonable prices.
A beer or a coconut on the beach will both cost you about COP3,000.
There are many hostels that offers dorms, camping and hammocks (use their tents/hammocks or bring your own). Most of these are not on the main booking websites. The cheapest options are on the mainland-side of the main road, and thus a bit further form the beach.
Once in Palomino, tell the bus driver to drop you off at the TIENDA DE LEOPOLDO and take the road in front of you which is the main road to the beach (carrera 6) . Walk 3 blocks on direction to the beach until you see pizzeria LA FRONTERA, then turn left. Tribe is the first door you'll see once you turn left. (IN CASE YOU ARE LOST, YOU CAN ALWAYS ASK THE PIZZA PARLOUR FOR DIRECTIONS)
Buses leave frequently back to Santa Marta from the opposite side of the road to where you were dropped off. You can also get out at one of the entrances to Tayrona. Marsol has a direct door-to-door service to Cartagena for 75.000 COP and takes about 5 or 6 hours depending on traffic. You can make reservations at the small Christo es Amor shop located at the beginning of the street from the highway to the dreamer hostel.