This small fishing village has become a go-to spot for people looking for a laid-back destination. Unpaved streets, hostels and bars abound. Tourism as an economic activity is relatively new in the history of Taganga but has taken great importance since it began 35 years ago with the construction of the road linking the city to Taganga.
Historically, people have depended on artisanal fisheries, but the tourism boom changed the town radically, and with it came new businesses, diving schools, kiosks, hostels, clubs, restaurants, and shipping between beaches. Taganga is a destination comparable to some Southeast Asia beach towns, where tourism has grown rapidly (with its ups and downs) where a large majority of the economically active population works directly in tourism and many more benefit in some way in the industry.
Although Santa Marta is the place where most travelers stay, Taganga is the preferred option among backpackers and people looking for a quieter and more natural beach place. Its cheap prices and accessibility to nearby beaches and some of the city’s best viewpoints and one day trekking, make it the perfect place for longer stays to thoroughly explore the region or become a certified scuba diver. In addition, it is closer to the Tayrona Park, making it an ideal point from which to go on boat trips.
Taganga is just a 20-minute cab ride away from Santa Marta. Most taxis don’t use a meter, but a ride from the city center or bus terminal comes in at 12.000 COP.
Things to do:
Visit Playa Grande: this is one of the most visited beaches around and with good reason, you will find pristine waters and white sand surrounded by picturesque mountains.
A hiking trip to Playa Grande gives you some of the best coastal views of the city and makes for a stunning sunset spot as well. Although it tends to get busy during holiday season and weekends, early treks are well worth it.
A round trip on boat costs anywhere between 7.000 – 12.000 COP.
Taganga has become one of the most popular places in all South America to get a scuba certification. Over 2- dive centers offer courses and day trips year-round. The shallow sites are sheltered from strong currents which provide calm waters that make it easy for beginners descend.
Daily spots are chosen upon departure according to wind direction, but usually head out to Tayrona National Park where coral can be found in great conditions and plenty different sizes. Barracudas, trigger, angel, and lionfish; eels and squids are amongst some of the possible sightings.
On top of that, it is one of the cheapest Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) open-water diving courses in South America.
Around 40% of its people engage in artisanal fishing activities. Although fishing has always been the backbone of the economy of the region, productivity has declined sharply, causing some to fisherman to diversify their activities and offer short and informal sailing and fishing trips. Multiple efforts to develop formal touristic products and experiences are taking place, so expect new touristic alternatives soon.