What To Do on a Day Trip to Taganga
Taganga, Colombia is only about a 20 minute taxi ride from Santa Marta. It’s a tiny fishing village with two beaches and lots of shopping. When we got there, we wandered the main street, exploring the area. It looked like during the high season it would be a happening place. There were discos with speakers blasting music, stalls for street vendors, and tons of boats. However, it was a bit dead when we were there. Scattered about were groups of locals, and it looked like it would be a good weekend scene for local families who wanted to escape for the day.
Our boat driver dropped us off at Yaki, one of the many restaurants. He brought us in and introduced us to his wife who worked there. We were allowed to use their beach chairs for the day as long as we purchased some food/drinks from the restaurant. It was a nice place to settle down, needing both beverages and a bathroom. We ordered two new juices that we hadn’t tried yet: lulo and zapote. Both were refreshing and delicious. The zapote juice tasted just like a malted chocolate or fig milkshake. The lulo was almost like a tart and acidic rhubarb and lime juice.
We were able to rend a snorkel mask for $5,000 pesos (or $1.50) and explore the nearby coastline. There were a variety of fish, although not the greatest snorkeling we’ve done. But for only $1.50, it was definitely worth it. We saw a sunken ship, many schools of fish, and even an eel.
The bus ride back to Santa Marta was only $1,600. The bus was slow and bumpy, making several stops along the way to pick up or drop off locals. If you’re looking to save some money, it was really easy to catch the bus on the corner; no hassle at all.
Back in Santa Marta, we were able to explore the town and sample all the delicious street food. On the corner of Calle 5 and 12 streets you’ll find a tamale cart lined with locals. For a rice and chicken tamale and a bag of mystery pink juice, it will only set you back $5000 pesos ($1.50 USD). To learn more about all the street food we ate, check out our article “5 Street Foods You Must Try in Santa Marta”.
As we made our way down to the waterfront, we ended up running into a giant parade. We had no idea that July 16th was Dia de la Virgen del Carmen, the patron saint of transportation. We got swept up in the hustle and bustle of the parade and began following it down to the water. The event had hundreds upon hundreds of locals following the floats through the streets. During the festival you could purchase just about anything your heart desired. From firecrackers to candy/snacks to coffee/beer to these amazing fruit smoothies. The parade culminated in the church courtyard, the Cathedral de Santa Marta, the oldest Cathedral in all of Colombia. The courtyard was filled with people dancing, singing and lighting off fireworks.
After the parade we decided to play tourist and hit up the local Juan Valdez coffee shop to enjoy their free air conditioning and free wifi. It’s always smart to find a local chain coffee shop to take advantage of their amenities, as many cater to the tourists. Finally, we ended our evening by filling our bellies with local street food. Calle 17 street was the place to go, with about 20 carts lined up and dishing out different delights. I think we tried a few things: pizza, empanadas and fresh juice smoothies. You really couldn’t go wrong with any cart, as most had lines and were serving up fresh food made right then. It was a great first day in Santa Marta.