A destination that was actually not on my list before, but was regularly recommended by other travelers in Colombia is Costeño beach. Here you’ll find a whole stretch of beach without hundreds of tourists or vendors and without boats coming and going at the beach. Costeño beach is located on the tropical Caribbean coast between Tayrona National Park and the backpacker village of Palomino.
It is not part of a village, just exists of one dirt road with a handful of hostels on a beautiful stretch of beach. You won’t find any stores, supermarkets or ATMs, but that’s what gives Costeño beach its charm.
How to get to Costeño beach
It is a place to really escape the crowds, cities and bustling towns, without having to travel for several hours. Costeño Beach is located only an hour’s drive from both Santa Marta and Palomino and only fifteen minutes from the Tayrona National Park. So that makes it a perfect destination before or after your visit to the national park.
From Santa Marta: Take the bus from Terminal de Transportes de Santa Marta in the direction of Palomino. Tell the bus driver that you need to get off at Costeño beach. The bus driver will drop you off here after about 1 hour of driving. Then you can choose to walk (about 20 to 30 minutes), or take a motorcycle cab.
From Palomino: Take the bus in the direction of Santa Marta and ask the driver to drop you off at Costeño beach. The bus ride from Palomino takes about half an hour.
Where to stay at Costeño beach
In Costeño beach, you can’t really go wrong when it comes to accommodations. They’re all situated on the beach and there’s a lovely laid back atmosphere at all places. Listed below are the most popular options/my favorite places to stay in Costeño beach:
Costeño Beach Hostel
One of the most popular hostels is the Costeño Beach Hostel, located almost at the beginning of the road. From the moment you walk in, you can feel the relaxed atmosphere in the beautifully decorated hostel. It has a lovely pool and super fun public areas with a bar and a great restaurant.
Since there are no stores or restaurants nearby, you will eat all your meals at the hostel. There is a specific menu for set times of the day. I can definitely recommend ordering something from the grill between 3pm and 10pm!
Despite its popularity among backpackers, you will find a variety of people staying at the hostel. From international travelers, to Colombian tourists, groups and solo travelers of all ages over 18 (children are not allowed). Parties are absolutely fun on the weekends!
Both dorms and private rooms are available in cozy bungalows and huts.
At the end of the road is Bohemia Beach. This is also a great place to meet others and only a maximum 10 minute walk from other hostels with fun parties. They have both private rooms/cabins and dorms.
El Rio Hostel
A little further down the Buritaca River, is another popular destination: El Rio Hostel. With its own beach on the river and plenty of outdoor activities like tubing, this is also an ideal destination for anyone looking to escape the crowds. The beach is a 30-minute walk away, but there is also plenty to do at the hostel including paddleboarding, volleyball and pool.
They offer both dorms and comfortable private rooms.
To make sure you don’t miss out on these fun hostels, it’s advisable to book on time. Most hostels are regularly fully booked far in advance.