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Taganga, Colombia – If I wasn’t in Taganga to go diving then I wouldn’t have been there at all. Most here are taking advantage of the cheap rate to get their PADI Open Water certification. The prices here compete with Utila, Honduras and Bocas del Toro, Panama as far as bargains go. All three places [...]

Taganga, Colombia –
If I wasn’t in Taganga to go diving then I wouldn’t have been there at all. Most here are taking advantage of the cheap rate to get their PADI Open Water certification. The prices here compete with Utila, Honduras and Bocas del Toro, Panama as far as bargains go. All three places offer certification for between $200 and $250 and your not going to find it cheaper than that anywhere else.

Like I said though, if I wasn’t here to dive there would be nothing else holding me here. The better beaches start an hour to east and the town doesn’t have anything else. The town itself looks as if it was done with a half-baked plan in the name of expediency for the sake of tourism. I can’t put my finger on it but the whole place has a dumpy feel to it. Maybe its the washed out, rutted streets. Or the large chunks of asphalt and concrete piled up next to the streets and houses. Or the trash strewn beach. Whatever it is I knew when I had arrived I was going to be diving and then I would be gone. Looking at the beach I had grown pessimistic about how great the diving and coral could be here. The beach didn’t inspire much confidence. As per usual the town was built directly on top of the beach leaving little actual space for a person to say they were on the beach. What little there was used by fisherman or covered in garbage.

The garbage beaches are a problem though made through the lack of a street sewage system in Taganga or the much larger city of Santa Marta next door. All that trash in the street (which is compounded in Latin America by peoples propensity to throw trash on the ground) gets swept right out to sea and washes up on all the beaches. I’m not sure how the people of Santa Marta and Taganga don’t realize that they are killing a major industry that they are simultaneously trying to promote. Tourism will die quickly once people realize that the once nice beaches are now covered in trash. SCUBA diving and seeing a plastic bag float past me 45 feet below water was a sad sight. Overall the diving isn’t terrible but it’s not spectacular here either. The coral is more healthy and colorful than I thought it would be and is and faring better than the beaches.

Taganga Beach - Even the most mediocre of places can look great at times

I know Colombia has more to offer than this for diving but I just don’t want to have to pay three times the price and have to travel to the far west near the Darien Gap to see it. Especially not when I have plans to travel to the far eastern part of the country as well. I’ll take my dive experience in Taganga and be grateful for the one last opportunity I had in the near future to enjoy the under water world. For those wanting more diving certifications or just want to get back under the water Taganga is your spot. If you want memorable dives or to spend some time on the beach there are better locations for both.

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Filed under: Colombia, Cubicle Ditcher

About the Author:

Sam Langley left a comfortable and profitable job with an insurance company in the USA to travel the world. He has been going for years, and has not stopped yet. Keep up with his travels on his blog at Cubicle Ditcher. has written 147 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.