Palomino is Colombia's secret tropical paradise.
If you like chilled hippie vibes, lots of vegetarian and vegan restaurants, wild tropical beaches and jungle adventures, then Palomino is the place for you!
This lovely little village on the coast of Colombia was once the capital of marijuana trade, but today it is one of the most relaxed and cool places in the country.
We spent three carefree days in Palomino eating great food, enjoying the breathtakingly wide beaches and having fun floating down the river on tubes immersed in the jungle. It was our first taste of the picture perfect Caribbean coast, with its long stretches of golden sand flanked by tall, thin palms and a carpet of coconuts.
Where to sleep in Palomino
Sofia and her daughter Jenny run the most wonderful hostel in town. A peaceful space on the main street, a short walk to the restaurants and to the beach. The rooms are tastefully decorated with a minimalist, unique style and have a private bathroom. Included in the stay is a delicious breakfast with homemade arepas, fruits and eggs.
Where to eat in Palomino
Lunch on the main road
Along the main road that takes you down to the beach you will find several small restaurants perfect for lunch. You will find doner kebab and falafels, little outdoor cafes and several small restaurants offering lunch specials.. Continuing towards the beach you will find several food trucks offering on the go meals, such as vegetarian hamburgers, empanadas, fruit juices and more. You will also see a colorful poster advertising vegan ice creams being sold in one of the hostels. Make sure to try them (even if you are not vegan), as they are sensational!
Dinner at Los 7 Mares
For all seafood lovers, Los 7 Mares offers the best menu in town. Fresh fish directly from the shores of Palomino, prepared with originality and care. The restaurant itself is a beautiful open space, built in bamboo, ending in an open kitchen. On the menu there are also plenty of vegetarian dishes.
Dinner at Juntos
Another beautifully decorated restaurant and cafe built in bamboo, run by a french couple. They offer salads, fish and meat dishes and obviously crepes! In the back there is a stage were often you will find local bands playing in the evening.
Top 3 things to do in Palamino
Floating down the river immersed in the jungle is one of the best things we have done while in South America. You drive on the back of a motorbike for twenty minute, holding your doughnut floatie and afterwards walk for half an hour to get to the river. Jump on the floatie and make your way towards the ocean, carried by the slow current. The view is incredible. Thick lush jungle, birds flying around and if you are lucky also monkeys jumping on the tree branches. The ride lasts roughly two hours, so make sure to buy some beers to enjoy it at its best!
Spend a day at the beach, enjoying the wavy Pacific ocean, sipping on fresh coconut and basking under the sun. Along the beach you will find several places where you can rent a sunbed or buy a drink. If you are looking for something more active, you can rent a surfboard or a body board and take on the waves.
Visit Quebrada Valencia, a beautiful waterfall where you can swim and enjoy the jungle setting around you. Easily reachable with a half an hour local bus ride and a twenty minute pleasant hike in nature.