Situated around the headland to the east of Santa Marta, Taganga has risen to become the caribbean coast's backpacker capital.
The seafront has had a recent makeover, with the old pot-holed and dirt streets being attractively paved over. Along the short seafront are numerous eateries (also recently renovated) offering freshly caught fish with cocunut rice, and still at reasonably prices. You can also buy a variety of delicious freshly made juices served in very generous quantities.
The beach is nice for a stroll, but doesn't benefit from the golden sands present at most other places in the region. That said, the hot weather tempts many to strip down and take a dip in the calm warm water.
A large part of the beach is used by fishing boats and diving craft so most people congregate at the Santa Marta end of the beach near the Casa Blanca Hostel.
There are now many dive shops offering day trips and longer excursions. Most of the dive shops are located in Taganga, but there are also a few reputable shops in Santa Marta. Prices are pretty reasoanly compared to other countries.
Pretty much all tours take you into Parque Tayrona, situated just along the shore to the east.
La Casa de Felipe: Tel. (5) 4219101, Cel. 3163189158 website
One of the town's original hostels and still one of the best. Located about a 5 minute walk from the beach.Includes internet, Cable TV, laundry service, breakfast and kitchen, plus lots of tourist info. Recommended.
Bayview Hostel: Cra 4 No. 17B-57, Tel. (5) 4219128, Cel. 3174342292 website
Another popular choice is Bayview Hostel. Internet, kitchen, laundry service, tourist info, and shuttle to and from Parque Tayrona.
Hostal Techos Azules: Sector Dunkarinka Cabaña 1-100, Tel. (5) 4219141 website
Situated up on the hill just outside town, Hostal Techos Azules affords great views over the bay. Ideal if you want to distance yourself from the hstle and bustle of the toursits.
Casa Blanca: Tel. (5) 4219232, Cel. 3008054968 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Casa Blanca Hostel is conspicuously located at the eastern end of Taganga right on the beach and another of the backpacker favourites. Kitchen and social areas including balconies. And the ocean is about a 10 second walk!
Hotel Pelikan: Cra 2 No. 17-04, Tel. (5)4219057
Located just one block off the beach, friendly Hotel Pelikan contains comfortable rooms and includes kitchen, breakfast and laundry service.
Taganga is located just a 6 or 7 minute-ride from Santa Marta. Taxis charge about 7000 pesos. Mini buses run regularly to and from Santa Marta and can be caught from Carrera 1 in Santa Marta and at the entrance point to the village of Taganga.
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