Taganga is a small fishing village on the coast of Caribbean sea, to the east of Santa Marta, Colombia. Taganga is not as famous among international beach tourists as San Andreas or Cartagena, but people who are into diving know about this village very well. Here is the complete guide to Taganga village with many useful tips.
Before going to Taganga you might have doubts if this place is worth it or not? That is why I want to explain a little bit more about what to expect from this fishing village.
Taganga is a very small, but cute place with a beautiful beach. There are not that many things to do here other than diving and relaxing at the beach.
In Taganga you will find mostly local tourists and just a few international tourists, 90% of which came to Taganga to go diving.
The village itself looks a bit rundown with many unfinished buildings along the main street. Here you will not find a “city vibe”, this is the place where you should forget about fast internet, big groceries or air conditioned restaurants. Taganga is a place to enjoy simplicity and diving of course. If after that you think that this place is for you then I hope that my guide will help you figure out your logistics.
Since Taganga is a small village, there is no airport, but don’t be upset. There is a newer airport in Santa Marta where you can fly in, and then take a taxi (30 minutes and 40000 COP) or a bus (4000 COP per person) to Taganga.
Taganga village is pretty safe for tourist if you follow this instructions:
So the conclusion is that Taganga is pretty safe during the day, and at night try to stay in the center of the village.
For such a small village Taganga has many decent choices of restaurants.
Pachamama is located right on the beach. It is a very cute place with a relaxing vibe.
Pachamama has a very wide selection of dishes among which are burgers, pastas, seafood, traditional Colombian food, and others. Since we visited this place three times in a big group, we tried most of the menu there and everything was quite good.
My recommendation: seafood pasta, spinach ravioli, shrimps wrapped in bacon, fish of the day in lemon butter or coconut, burgers, mango juice is great as well as the alcoholic cocktails.
Price: main dish is between 30 000 COP and 40 000 COP; juice – 8000 COP, alcohol cocktails are around 20 000 COP
Babaganoush is a restaurant I particularly like for its location. It overlooks Taganga beach and faces the sunset. The food is good as well. On the menu you will find a decent selection of dishes and they also offer a set menu that includes a starter, main, and a dessert (for about $12).
My recommendation: croquettes, tiradito, pork ribs, fish of the day
Price: set menu costs around 45 000 COP, mains separately between 25 COP and 40 000 COP, starters – around 20 000 COP
El Muelle is the place to get seafood. As well as Pachamama, El Muelle is located along Taganga beach. The place might not be as vibrant or upscale as Pachamama, but the food is quite good.
My recommendation: fried fish, fish with shrimp sauce, fish soup
Price: we payed for a whole fried fish with two sides 25 000 COP, for fish (filet) with shrimp sauce – 40 000 COP, a pitcher of lemonade – 25000 COP
Location: Cra. 1 #18-95, Santa Marta, Magdalena
Taganga village is built on the coast of a beautiful beach. This beach is the first thing that you will notice and one of the places you should visit.
Taganga beach is a main attraction for local tourists (for international tourists – diving). The beach itself is quite long and wide. Most of the time there during the day the beach is not crowded at all, however in the evening (4PM until sunset) Taganga beach can get super crowded. Same with weekends, since many locals are coming from Santa Marta to spend a day on Taganga beach.
Local cafes and restaurants install tents with chairs on the beach that they rent to tourists. One tent costs between 30k COP to 40k COP for a whole day (there is no half day price).
Along the beach you will find many good cafes and restaurants, and stores with stuff like sunglasses, hats, and towels. There is even a pharmacy right next to the beach, which is very convenient if you forgot your sunscreen or want to buy drinks.
Taganga village is quite famous among the divers or people who want to learn diving. The reason is that Taganga is one of the cheapest places to get your scuba certification. To get PADI “open water” certificate you will pay around $300, which includes 6 dives. For example I got my “Open Water” in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt last year for $350 (6 dives), and my friend got certified in Roatan, Honduras for $400 (4 dives).
If you already have a scuba certificate you can do fun dives in Taganga. The prices are: 250k COP for two fun dives on a ‘yacht’, 210k COP for two dives on a regular boat.
Note: you cannot do just one dive, the package always includes two fun dives. If you are planning on diving a lot, you probably can negotiate a discount. For example, for the 10 dives package I got a 10% discount on those prices.
There are a lot of scuba shops in Taganga and they are probably all good, however I can recommend just the one we used – “Oceano Scuba Dive Center”. After thorough research we went with this scuba center and weren’t disappointed.
Tayrona National Park is a big national park with quite a few beautiful beaches. It lies right next to Taganga and there are a few ways you can visit this park.
If you are planning on diving in Taganga, chances are that you will dive along the park and visit one of Tayrona’s beaches. We visited Playa Bahia Concha, a cute almost empty beach with super clean water and soft sand.
One of the best beaches of Tayrona park is considered to be Playa del Cabo. You can get there by boat from Taganga (around 100000 COP round trip) or by bus.
Babaganoush is one of the restaurants that I can recommend to you. They have pretty good choices, but the best thing is that the restaurant has a great view, which makes it a perfect spot to watch the sunset.
Babaganoush is an open terrace restaurant that reminds me a lot of Balinese style. The whole restaurant is decorated with bamboo and it feels like you are sitting in the tree house. This restaurant is great for romantic dinners during sunset.
Since Taganga is a fishing village, seafood is a very popular option on the menus. There are plenty of decent places that offer you fish of the day, seafood rice, fried calamari and shrimps, and many other dishes. I, for example, even got a fish covered in shrimps … it was absolutely delicious.
You also can imagine that the prices on seafood are very reasonable in Taganga. So why lose this opportunity when you can get fresh seafood for a good price.
Santa Marta is the city that you fly into on the way to Taganga. It is actually a big city and nothing like Taganga. Here you will find many ways to entertain yourself besides the beach and scuba. Santa Martais also a bit cheaper than Taganga.
Many tourist’s favorite places to hang out is the historical center of the city with cute bars, cozy cafes, and cobblestone streets.
You can of course stay in Santa Marta, or just visit it as a day trip by taxi or a bus.
Minca is a small mountain village that is located 30 minutes drive from Taganga. It is a nice relaxing retreat in the jungle with cooler weather than in Taganga.
Minca has plenty of good hostels and hotels (read my review of Colors of the Sierra Eco Lodge in Minca).
Minca is a place where you can stay for a few nights, enjoy nature, go on hikes, visit a few waterfalls, and just relax among the thick greenery.
The best way to get to Minca from Taganga is by taxi. It will cost you around 70 000 COP door to door.
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