Scuba diving and Spanish lessons
Taganga is a good place to get a diving license or do a refresher, since there are some decent dive sites around there and prices are unbeatable. A two tank dive costs 36 Euro and a PADI Open Water Diver license a mere 200 Euro. Unfortunately, those extremely low prices obviously have led to a lack of investment in modern material and several people in the group, including both of us, encountered unpleasant technical problems during the dives.
Equally cheap are Spanish lessons at a language school that cooperates with Hostel Divanga. It charges 65 Euro for ten one-to-one lessons. There are even packages offering a dorm bed for 10 days plus 20 hours of lessons for 175 Euro.
Otherwise, we see no reason for staying in this rather bland fishing village, 7 kilometers from Santa Marta. The “beach” in the village and the surrounding beachfront is under construction: streets dug up, cordoned off with yellow tape, heaps of concrete, gravel, sand, slabs of stone, trash. A rather unpleasant sight! Some locals claimed that maybe in a few months, the project of constructing a beach front, will be finished. Rumors say it was started in 2003.
Only the tiny stretch between Hotel Ballena Azul and Casa Blanca is fit for bathing. The rest is dust, gravel, construction material piled up and wooden fishing boats. A short walk across a hill takes you to Playa Grande, maybe the smallest Playa Grande in South America, which is an okay beach. A few trees provide shade and set back from the beach is a row of large wooden constructions serving as restaurants. Further on are a few tiny beaches. Despite numerous signs everywhere, the short trek to Playa Grande and parts of the beaches are full of trash, plastic bottles and bags – pretty revolting.
To make it short, to us neither the beaches nor the village itself was appealing. To make matters worse, we arrived here together with hundreds of Columbian families – it was a “Puente”, a long weekend. Well, they did enjoy themselves frolicking in the waters and the “beach”. All weekend long numerous giant stereos were blasting against each other. Only to watch this happy bunch, made us feel better.
Unfortunately, the neighbors of our otherwise comfortable Hostel Divanga were in a similar party mood and sprayed us with violently loud music from all sides. Definitely worth mentioning is the food at Divanga, very tasty. Though the entry in the Lonely Planet is taking its toll, the two people laboring in the small kitchen were twice near a physical break down.