A few days ago my cousin and I headed off on a vacation within our vacation to Costeño Beach. Costeño is a hostel on an amazing beach close to the famous Tayrona National Park. It’s located on what used to be a coconut farm, and now serves as an eco-lodge and surf camp, owned by two Canadians (woot!). We enjoyed a relaxing stay of two days there, enjoying a wide variety of activities that are offered. Here is a brief guide on the hostel, our stay, and what there is to do there.
We first hopped on a van from Cartagena to Santa Marta, a four-hour journey. In Santa Marta, we walked over to the main market, and caught a bus heading to Palomino. The Costeño Beach stop is about an hour away, just 7-10 minutes after the stop for Tayrona National Park.
You can then get a ride from the awaiting motorcyclists for 3000 COP, or you can walk about twenty minutes to get there. Make sure to turn right once you get to the big palm tree forest. We opted to walk but were fortunate to have someone who was headed there in a car offer us a ride.
There are a variety of sleeping options for every type of traveller. You can book various types of private rooms, located in pretty huts/cabins right on the beach. There are also large dorm-rooms, some with hammocks, and some with regular bunk beds. All beds and private rooms come with mosquito netting – a very useful addition considering the quantity of mosquitos there! We booked pretty last-minute so only had the option for beds, but we were happy with it.
There are lockers available for you to use, and a power outlet and little light within each one. Shared bathrooms are also close-by, and there are lots of spots to dry wet clothes and towels.
Food & Drinks
The food at Costeño Beach is delicious. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all offered during specific time slots – breakfast 7:00-10:00, lunch 12:00-2:00, and dinner 7:00-8:00. Upon check-in, you’re given a bracelet with your account number, so if you want to eat their meals, you just tell the bartender your number and the meal will be charged to your bill.
All meals are quite affordable – all under $8 USD – but they are also optional if you’d rather eat your own food or go elsewhere. We saw some guests eating cans of tuna, for example. Plus, about a twenty-minute walk down the beach will lead to a row of mini-restaurants. We ate an amazing arepa de huevo (arepa with egg) at one of them, along with a coconut drink.
At the bar, you can also buy snacks throughout the day if you’re feeling peckish – brownies, banana cake, and olives are some of the options we had. Drinks are well-priced. A bottle of beer will cost you between 4000 and 6000 COP, and a cocktail is between 10000 and 12000 COP. Juices and sodas are under 5000 COP.
There’s lots to do at Costeño Beach. For included activities, there is a fitness area and a slackline right in the main hostel area. I learned to slackline just this past summer so I was excited to find a large one sitting there, between two palm trees. It took a while to get into the motion but I quickly got back into it, slowly making more and more steps forward.
If you’re willing to pay a bit more, there are fitness and yoga classes on offer. My cousin and I took a refreshing 8 a.m. yoga class one morning, and were impressed with its quality. It was just 15000 COP ($5 USD) for each of us, and we left feeling stretched out and rejuvenated.
You can also pay to have a massage for half an hour, or one hour. We definitely considered it – how tempting to get a massage right by the ocean (!) but in the end we didn’t do it. Relaxing in the many beachside hammocks was enough for us.
On one of the nights, someone had started a bonfire as well that we enjoyed before dinner. A few hours later, it had faded significantly but we revived it and took refuge from the mosquitos beside it for a while. If only we had had some marshmallows to roast!
Costeño is also first and foremost a surf spot. You can take a 2 hour, 30 minute surfing class for about 60000 COP ($20USD), or you can rent a board for two hours, half a day, or a full day. I rented one for two hours and it only cost me 20000 COP ($6-7USD).
I had taken a surf class back in late August in Tofino, Canada, and was eager to try it out again. It was way harder this time around. The waves were different from the ones I’d learned on, and just entering and exiting the water for me was a challenge! I got thrown around pretty impressively; as it turned out, I definitely could have used another lesson. Beginners beware! 🙂
Additionally, while I was waiting to rent my board, I saw a family of about ten large monkeys swinging by in the trees. It was way too cool to feel like reality! Make sure to look for them in the palms.
Close to Costeño, there are also lots of cool places to go. My cousin and I went to a nearby river, called Mendiguaca, just about twenty minutes away walking. It’s just a bit beyond the restaurants, if you walk to your left along the ocean from Costeño Beach.
It’s a popular local spot, where there were families swimming and hanging out in the sun. You can rent a tent or some chairs to have a shady place to sit. We even saw some people getting on and off boats so I imagine you can take a ride down the river as well.
Tayrona National Park is also just 5km away – a must-visit in Colombia. We didn’t have time to go this time, but it’s definitely in my plans for later this year. There, you can take a day hike, or do more adventurous multi-day journeys like the Lost City trek.
Farther away, you can visit Buritaca River and the town of Palomino, as well as the city of Santa Marta.
Costeño Beach was overall an awesome mini-vacation. Whether you just go for a bit, like us, to enjoy the location, or whether you go for longer to use it as a base for nearby places, it’s definitely worth the visit. To learn more or book your stay, you can visit the website here: http://costenobeach.com/en/.
And for more inspiration, Costeño Beach is featured in this music video by the Colombian group, Bomba Estereo. Check it out; it’s a beautiful video, plus a great song!
If you’re still debating, just go! You’ll have a great time. 🙂
Til next post,