The village of Palomino seems a rather jumbled, disorganized affair, catering to a growing backpacker crowd, but along the prime beachfront low-key yet gorgeous resorts–-usually just cabins scattered under tall palms–-are growing in popularity along the beautiful beaches.

The sea here is tricky at the best of times, so check for flags indicating whether or not you can swim. Take the time to explore the beach, as it's particularly beautiful at the far end where the Río San Salvador meets the ocean at a small lagoon. Here you can peer down the river and see palms give way to ever denser jungle, which climbs inland and, eventually, up towards the peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in the distance.

If you need a break from the beach, try tubing down the Río Don Diego or visiting the Taironaka reserve, which is home to some Tairona ruins and a small museum.

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