Palomino, Colombia

Somewhere along the high road between the busy port city of Santa Marta and backpacker central, Riohacha, lies the small town of Palomino. Choose your view - and excursion level - based on the time of day; as the sunset turns the sky a dreamy purple haze, turn your back on the Caribbean Sea to catch a glimpse of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains behind you. Spend your days horseback riding on the beach and in the evening, sample some of the Caribbean Coast's best fish dishes at seafront bamboo shacks. End your day sipping on aguardiente cocktails from a choice of beach bars and pat yourself on the back for finding this slice of Colombian paradise.

Don't miss…

Tubing down the Palomino River. Arrange a tour guide to drive you up to the Sierra Nevada mountains; there, you will disembark and hike up the steeper trails before reaching the river. Hop into your tube and swiftly float back down to the Caribbean Sea. Listen to chattering monkeys, squawking birds and a cacophony of other forest animals as you admire the mountain's jungle foothills along the way.

Who to take with you

A twitcher. The forests and jungles surrounding Palomino's beaches are filled with incredible wildlife and ecosystems. Go for long hikes to try and catch sight of toucans, parrots and other exotic birds perching amid the branches.

When to go

Go in September to have the beach to yourself while avoiding crowds.

Most likely to bump into…

The Caribbean Coast is a notorious surfing hotspot. Make friends with surfer dudes - you'll need some motivational guidance as you clamber back onto your board for the hundredth time.

Essentials to bring with you

Sun cream.

How to get there

Fly from Heathrow direct to Santa Marta Airport. Hop on a bus or get a taxi from the airport to reach Palomino in under two hours.

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