NEW YEARS EVE IN TAGANGA, COLOMBIA AND TAGANGA SAFETY
Taganga is a small fishing village turned wild late-night party and crime hideaway in the Santa Marta municipal of Colombia. If you’re keen to visit the Tayrona National Park, get your PADI and drink yourself into oblivion then add Taganga to your must see Colombia bucket list.
Before arriving you’ll want to do your research and get yourself clued up on Taganga safety tips and this little tourist favourite has a scary reputation. Here’s everything you need to know about spending New Year’s Eve in Taganga, Colombia along with some must know Taganga safety tips.
NEW YEAR’S EVE IN TAGANGA, COLOMBIA
Arriving in Taganga for New Year
How to get from Taganga from Santa Marta
To get to Taganga from Santa Marta grab a taxi from one of the main streets or bay in Santa Marta, the 15 minute journey will cost you between $10-$15 dollars depending on how nice our taxi driver is feeling. US Dollar isn’t the official currency for Colombia it’s actually Colombian Pesos. $15 = around 43,200 Colombian Pesos so to avoid confusion I’ll stick to dollars.
Taxis in Santa Marta and Taganga are relatively safe, when travelling Colombia always use a licensed driver and if you are unsure ask your hotel or hostel to book the taxi for you. Cabs are mostly clean, air conditioned and the drivers are professional and friendly.
Many people do the journey from Santa Marta to Taganga by taxi or bus and it is a relatively popular route so if you’re in Santa Marta as a solo traveller you’ll find others doing this journey that you can car share with.
TAGANGA, SANTA MARTA, COLOMBIA
Taganga, to be honest is nothing more than a few rows of unpaved streets littered with bars, restaurants and dive shops all located in a large crescent bay. It certainly lives up to it’s reputation of a ‘small fishing village’ at first glance. The waters of the beach in Taganga are murky and mostly harbour for the boats as despite the large backpacker and party goer presence here life for the local fishermen in Taganga goes on as usual.
I should probably mention at this point that this was the moment Jamie left his rucksack in the back of a cab. Fortunately, I had his passport and was carrying all our money. We lost yet another towel (probably 10th or 11th at this point) and a few other less easily replaced items. We tried to call round a few taxi firms but with little luck at tracking down our belongings.
This loss of property is entirely our fault but its worth noting that if you are as careless as us, you’ll be kissing goodbye to your belongings forever.
Hostels in Taganga, Colombia
Backpackers and locals flock to the shores of Taganga from the surrounding areas of Colombia all looking to experience the notorious nightlife that spreads rumours across Central and South America. Being so popular among South American’s and other groups of inbound tourists there is a big need for accommodation in this small dusty village.
The majority of that accommodation comes in the form of backpacker hostels and dorm rooms. There are a wide range of Taganga hostels for you to choose from with all kinds of price range and level of comfort/luxury. As someone who regularly travels on a budget I’m always keen to find the best backpacker hostel for the right price.
Arriving on the 30th of December right before New Year’s Eve limited our options. As Taganga was always going to be lively and most Taganga Hostels would be full already considering the time of year. It took us a few attempts to find a dorm to fit out group of five prior to our arrival in Taganga, this would have been near impossible on our arrival.
Where to stay in Taganga Colombia
I’d recommend booking ahead during peak times of the year so you don’t find yourself in the same predicament or knocking on doors asking if their is any room at the inn (Christmas joke).
La Masia Summer Hostel Review, Taganga
We stayed at La Masia Summer Hostel. A semi-lively hostel with nice spacious dorms, a bar, computers and even a big clean pool. We were shocked to find out that most of the guests here were actually Colombian nationals spending their holidays in Taganga.
La Masia Summer Hostel is clean and most importantly safe with a 24 hour reception and security. The complex reminds me of a motel in the USA centered around a pull and outdoor seating area.
A standard night in 6 or 4 bed dorm will cost roughly $10-$13 with a private double costing $40 per night.
|Some of the spectacular views out across the bay of Taganga atsunset with the many fishing boats|
TAGANGA, COLOMBIA NIGHTLIFE
As mentioned Taganga is a party town. There’s no denying it, there’s a large party scene and the nightlife in Taganga never seems to stop. Many backpackers who enjoy the party element of travelling find themselves staying in Taganga longer than expected.
Along with reggae themed beach bars and tiki-style surf shacks Taganga is home to Coombian salsa bars and booming nightclubs. Check out Casita del Mar a beach bar with chilled reaggae vibes and froix
TAGANGA SAFETY AND CRIME
Is Taganga safe?
This is a question we found ourselves thinking about a lot and had wondered endlessly about our safety in Taganga before arriving. We had heard stories about violent muggings, drug lords and prostitutes luring tourists down dark alleys late at night to rob them, but didn’t directly witness any of this in Taganga.
Although there is an undoubted dodgy vibe in Taganga it is worth mentioning that there is always a large police presence in the town. This police presence is especially noticeable during the festive period when it gets busy and at night when some of the local no-goods come out to drink and take drugs by the beach. This are is to be avoided if you are cautious of your personal safety in Taganga.
From my experience New Year’s Eve in Taganga, Santa Marta was safe enough and therefore I didn’t really question my safety in Taganga although I was always aware of the towns reputation.
Its worth noting that there are many stories online of muggings and assault in Taganga and I can very much confirm that I suspect this kind of thing happens in Taganga frequently. If you are a solo traveller or solo female traveller and feel conscious of your safety I would perhaps suggest that due to the rumours and not my personal experience that Taganga may be a town you want to consider skipping.
Taganga Safety Tips
Taganga safety and whether Taganga is safe or not for backpackers and tourists is not something I can say. During my visit we didn’t experience any crime directly but there were a couple of late evenings down by the beach where locals and drunks got into altercations and a few glass bottles went flying.
Like most places famed for their party scene you can expect to see your regular drunks, druggies and dealers on the streets after dark. If you plan to visit Taganga but have concerns over the reputation you’ll want to read the below Taganga safety tips;
- Never arrive alone late at night. Time your arrival to ensure you arrive in a large group through the day.
- Never brag about money or valuables. Be modest and keep your valuables locked away in your hostel.
- Female solo travellers shouldn’t spend time alone at night by the beach or exploring the streets of Taganga.
- Avoid drugs, prostitution and getting into any kind of fight whilst you are staying in Tagnaga.
- Be cautious and aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoid getting totally out of it when you’re out partying as it makes you too vulnerable in a town like Taganga.
SAFETY IN COLOMBIA AND SOUTH AMERICA
There is crime in Taganga , just like any tourist filled destination. This is the same for all of Colombia and South America and just because a destination may feel welcoming and touristy on the outside doesn’t mean it is safe. Just because we had a positive experience here doesn’t mean the horror stories and ghost tales about Taganga aren’t true and they should serve as a warning to all visiting this area.
Drugs in Taganga and Colombia
|The dry beach of Taganga in early evening, just before sunset|
|The beach in Taganga by day – Colombian’s and tourists enjoying the weather|
DIVING IN TAGANGA
Other than the party scene and Taganga nightlife that lure backpackers to this coastal Colombian town Taganga is also home to a big dive scene. Many people take the trip from Santa Marta to Taganga to either learn to dive or enjoy some dives just outside the Tayrona National Park.
Heaps of backpackers head to Taganga and this region of Colombia annually to get their PADI Open Water Dive certification or those who already have one of their PADI certifications choose to exploit the great possibilities to dive the reefs in and outside of the gorgeous waters of the Tayrona National Park.
The streets of Taganga are filled with dive promotions and dive centre’s making Taganga diving a very popular pastime. As Taganga diving is very popular there are multiple worthy dive centres for you to check out in Taganga;
- Oceano Scuba Dive Centre
- Nautilius Dive Centre
- Calipso Dive Centre
- Under Pressure Dive Centre
Read more about where I got my PADI in Utila, Honduras.
NEW YEAR’S EVE ITINERARY TAGANGA, COLOMBIA
What to do in Taganga on New Year’s Eve
TAGANGA, COLOMBIA – SURVIVAL GUIDE AT A GLANCE
ATM’s in Taganga
Taxis in Taganga, Santa Marta, Colombia
Things to avoid in Taganga
Drugs and prostitution top the list of things to avoid in Taganga. Like always whilst in Latin America it makes sense to stay clear of drugs for both safety, sustainability and ethical reasons. Remember the impact the production and sale of cocaine has on peoples lives.
Accommodation during the Holidays
Eating in Taganga, Colombia
There are plenty of food options in Taganga especially for veggies, with an abundance of fusion Mexican and American style restaurants and also your typical array of Italian options Taganga is a bit of a melting pot of cuisine. Being on the coast you can also eat great fresh seafood in Taganga. Vegan’s may struggle a little more but options are available.
A 20-something travel blogger based in Liverpool. Covering all things from Latin America to Liverpool local guides and everything in between.