Hotel Makao Palomino

Palomino, Colombia playas and hipster beach village

In the north of the Colombian Caribbean Coast, there is a beautiful village called Palomino. It has a hipster vibe and a laid backflow and an excellent stop when your traveling on the northern coast of Colombia.  

Why is Palomino a popular destination?     

It is a popular destination among backpackers, tourists, and travelers. The area is in excellent progress of growing and getting more known for tourism, and as many other tourists are exploring and finding the way to this beautiful idyllic beach village.  For the local community, this brings economic development. It is a peaceful village to visit.

Hotel Makao Palomino

This village located about one hour from the north of Santa Marta, and you can go by bus, taxi or car. Palomino is an excellent place to visit for a lovely time at a beautiful beach, to enjoy the chilled nightlife, and to have good food and sweet drinks in a relaxed atmosphere. It is also a good resting point in the exploration of more of Colombia’s La Guajira region.

We stopped at Palomino for a lovely weekend when we left Valledupar on Friday evening for a lovely weekend. It was a nice respite from the heat and warmth experienced in Valledupar. I was in Palomino a month before with my two friends from the Netherlands, and I knew I would come back in the future to this place.

Hotel Makao Palomino

Palomino has, in many ways, the same flow as in Taganga, a beautiful village for travelers and backpackers. It is a quiet beach village that is turning into a destination with trendy hostels and lovely restaurants/cafes/bars.

Palomino has a laid-back-relax vibe and excellent cool restaurants and bars surrounded by nature, and it is a unique way to spend days in a friendly atmosphere. The village and the vibe felt for me like the north of Bali, Indonesia, it has positive energy, and at the beach, in the night, you can hear the waves from the sea.

Is Palomino in Colombia safe to visit?

I can say one-of-the-best-places to stop, relax, and enjoy good food and cocktails if you are traveling Colombia’s north coast between Santa Marta and La Guajira. 

Palomino Colombia Playas

The surrounding scenery, in addition to the beach, is one of the main attractions on a visit to Palomino, and you can go tubing down the river.

How to visit Palomino?

You can reach Palomino by bus from Santa Marta or Riohacha. From the market in Santa Marta, some buses leave every 15 – 60 minutes.

How to get the Bus from Riohacha to Palomino? Get them at the terminal in Riohacha. The cost should be approximately 15,000 pesos and visit website for more information

How to get from Cartagena to Palomino?

You have different options to get from Cartagena to Palomino.

You can get a bus from the terminal on Berlinas or Marsol to Santa Marta, then catch a bus from the market to Palomino. Berlinas Tour was 45.000 pesos from Cartagena to Santa Marta. I stayed a few days in Santa Marta and Barranquilla.

Santa Marta is a must to visit for a day or two or longer, and if you have more time, you have to visit The Lost City / Cuidad Perdida. Visit my blog about Cuidad Perdida on this link.

Can you Fly to Palomino? You can fly to Riohacha, Santa Marta, Cartagena, or Valledupar, then take a bus is the cheapest way from the terminals there.

Palomino Colombia Playas

Tubing on the Palomino River

One of the most popular of the things to do in Palomino. Tubing on the Palomino River is an adventurous way to have a lovely time. You can leave the hotel and go with the motorbike into the forest and hike up the mountain for an hour. The cost is around 40.000 pesos depending on which point you want to go into the river.

Rio Palomino

The Palomino river is calm, fresh, and clean throughout the float down; the guide makes sure your going great.

Tubing down the river is an excellent way to spend pleasant hours in the jungle while getting some great views of the nature and scenery of the beautiful forest of the Sierra Nevada. You can see and hear different birds, and the scenery floating down is impressive. The best moment is to plan in it early in the morning, then it is still fresh, and after that, you can chill at the end of the river at the beach for the rest of the day if you like.

Tubing down the river is one of the top things to do in Palomino.

Relax on the Beach

The beach in Palomino is lovely. You can go left to the south while leaving hotel Makao, or you can you right. If you go left, you will come to the Palomino river where also the Tube ride ends. If you go right ( north section ), this is a lovely walk for an hour. The beach is magnificent, and after an hour, you will see the San Salvador river coming in the sea from the Sierra Nevada. Nature here is fantastic, still most untouched you can walk for an hour and see only five persons, in the beginning, it can be a bit crowded, but how deeper you go along the beach to the San Salvador river in the north the crowds get thinner, and nature takes over. It is good advice to take drinking water, sun cream, camera, a cap and a white shirt with you.

Rio San Salvador

Surfing in Palomino

Bear in mind that the waves have a strong undercurrent, and you have to be a good swimmer. Always bear in mind that nature does not know pity and always respect nature and the sea. There are proper surf lessons on the beach, and it was fun to go surfing.

Palomino Surfing

Where to have dinner in Palomino

If you like Cazuela de Langostinos, Limonadas de coco,  delicious local craft beers from the Sierra Nevada Brewery, good meat, or fresh fish, all this is there in Palomino. I think you are getting thirsty and hungry reading all things, yes, they have it all.  Good to know is, take enough cash with you, there are no banks in close proximity.

Excellent Pizza Restaurant in Palomino is Restaurant Prima Luna

In the restaurant, Prima Luna is thé best pizza you can eat in the area. I came here back many times. The pizza prepared in an original stove, which gives it a rich, delicious flavor. You can try to explain the taste of water, but the best way is to drink it.


In the vibrant hippy scene, there are nice bars and restaurants with live music and DJ’s depending on the evening. Some bars close at 11, but then everyone goes to the beach if they want to the after-party.

There are several options for places to stay in Palomino. There are several hostels in town as well as in the forest outside Palomino. My feeling is the best way to visit is in town so you can access the beach and restaurants that are on walking distance, instead of taking a tuk-tuk-taxi or the foot vehicle every time.

Where to stay in the best place in Palomino, Colombia?

The second place for me to choose is Dreamer hostel; it is a popular hostel in Palomino where my friends stayed.

The Dreamer has a pool, bar, and restaurant.  There are also private rooms available, and it has the perfect location in town, just off the road close to the beach.

My first choice was to go to a hotel instead of a hostel. I’m more a traveler then a backpacker, and I would instead – if possible – choose a hotel before a hostel. 

So after searching on and different websites, the best one that came out was :

Hotel Makao Palomino

Hotel Makao –  a unique beachfront

If you want to stay straight on the beach for a friendly price, then you have to go to Hotel Makao. The rooms are gorgeous, beautiful bathrooms and good beds, and there is a lovely private beachfront with a sitting area and bar.  There are a restaurant and surfboard/bike rental available for guests.

Trust me, Hotel Makao is an excellent place for couples.

Hotel Makao Palomino

The rooms upstairs have no airconditioning, but ventilators, but the wind breeze is lovely, and you can hear the sea, and you will sleep perfectly relaxed and wake up with new energy. I preferred the room personally downstairs with the air condition, because after a long day, busy night, it is nice to have a fresh-cool down.

Hotel Makao is the perfect place for a romantic getaway in Palomino. If you do decide to want to stay straight on the beach itself, treat yourself to staying here.

At night, you can hear the waves of the sea, and the air is fresh.

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