Palomino, Colombia

One Santuario Natural

Price per night from$240.30

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (COP889,991.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Hobbit-hut hideaway

Setting

Private Palomino perch

A couple of miles out of Palomino in northern Colombia, boutique hotel One Santuario Natural​ is a romantic riverside retreat where Kogi shamans occasionally stay for supper. This labour of love is a hotel with a whole lot of heart: the owner takes his role as a custodian of the land seriously, protecting the indigenous Kogi community and its traditions as he welcomes travellers to this increasingly accessible part of the country. Each of the thatched circular palapa huts has a hot tub, hammocks and local handicrafts like embroidered pillows. The Palomino River winds all the way down to the Caribbean Sea, with the snow-capped Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range in the background. If you don’t know what tubing is, you’re about to find out (luckily, here it involves ice-cold beers).

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A hike, followed by a tubing excursion on the Palomino River with a local guide down to the Caribbean Sea

Facilities

Photos One Santuario Natural facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Six suites.

Check–Out

Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £229.83 (COP1,059,089), including tax at 19 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of 19% per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates usually include all meals.

Also

Yoga classes can be arranged on request for an additional cost.

At the hotel

Riverside beach, library, free WiFi. In rooms: air-conditioning, minibar, tea and coffee kit, and beach bags.

Our favourite rooms

Each thatched, Bilbo Baggins-approved bolthole has a similar design, with ceiling fans, a circular shape, and a mosaic-lined hot tub, shower, and some hammocks and sunloungers outside. The main difference is whether you want one king-size bed or two queens. For the most privacy, book the room at the furthest end of the plot.

Poolside

There’s no pool but each palapa has its own hot tub that can be filled on request. Staff will also gladly set up sunloungers on the banks of the Palomino River, where you can spot the howler monkeys swinging between the trees and follow the steps down to the water for a dip.

Packing tips

You’ll need tubing-appropriate swimwear, and a whole series of magical-realism literature to work your way through.

Also

The jungle-surrounded, riverbank setting means that the hotel is not easily accessible for wheelchair users.

Children

All ages are welcome, but there’s not a lot for Little Smiths to do. Extra beds (445,000 pesos a night) can be added, and rooms with two queen-size beds are available. The chef can cater to children in the restaurant.

Eco‐friendly

Almost all of the fruit and vegetables used in the kitchen are grown onsite, the hotel has solar-powered water heaters, and use upcycled local materials in the design. Lots of the staff are Colombian and Reserva contributes to education-funding schemes in the area.

Food and Drink

Photos One Santuario Natural food and drink

Top Table

There are private tables available (in twos and fours), but you’ll be missing out on the fun at the communal one (in fact, you’ll probably want to hang out with the staff who seem to be having the best time in the kitchen).

Dress Code

Bust out your boldest patterns and prints to have a Hawaiian-shirt-off with the colourfully clothed chef, Cható.

Hotel restaurant

Chef Cható and his team cooks up a different set menu each day, taking into account any dietary requirements and preferences. Breakfast follows this pattern, with a full English on the agenda once a week, and other options, such as pancakes with roasted mango, pomelo, mint, local honey and toasted quinoa for the other days, including, of course, as much Colombian coffee as your heart rate can manage. The open-plan kitchen lets you watch the team at work as they cook produce from nearby suppliers (when it’s not straight from the grounds) on the fire. Lunch and dinner might be strawberry gazpacho, followed by a whole roasted fish with tomatoes and potatoes (and some punchy house-made habanero and mango salsa), and banana bread and coconut cream; all served on pretty black ceramic plates from Ráquira.

Hotel bar

There’s a bar in the longhouse, which serves an especially good take on the classic Colombian limonada de coco (a sort of coconut limeade) and cocktails made using fresh fruit juice, to a banging-beats soundtrack (which manages to successfully avoid panpipes).

Last orders

Breakfast hours are 8am to 10am; lunch is 1pm to 4pm; and dinner is served between 7pm and 9.30pm. Drinks are available until 11pm.

Room service

Anything on the daily set menu can be served in your room.

Location

Photos One Santuario Natural location
Address
One Santuario Natural
Palomino km 2 vía la sierra
Dibulla
Colombia

On Colombia’s northerly Caribbean coast, One Santuario Natural is a small string of thatched huts on the southern banks of the Palomino River, between the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains and the sparkly sea.

Planes

The nearest airport is Colombia’s Simón Bolívar International Airport along the coast in Santa Marta. The drive should take an hour and a half. Hotel transfers cost 220,000 pesos each way (you can drop those eyebrows; it’s around £50).

Automobiles

Palomino is the nearest town, a 10-minute drive away. It is considered one of the safest spots in Colombia, but it’s still probably not that wise to drive after dark; plus the highways here are often hogged by huge trucks, so keep that in mind if you’re hiring a car. There’s free parking when you arrive.

Worth getting out of bed for

This coastal Caribbean paradise has some of the best beaches in Colombia, with lively bars along the shore and seafood shacks serving up simple-but-superb, just-caught fish. You’ll even be able to see snow-capped peaks from the sand, thanks to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains (with all of their hiking-to-waterfalls promise) looming in the distance.

If you like your activities inflatable-based, you’ve come to the right place: Palomino is a premier spot for tubing and you can coast along the river towards the sea, with a floating bar accompanying you if that’s how you roll (/drift). You’ll also be able to coast along on a paddle-board if your core’s up to it. It’s not always possible, but the hotel may also be able to help guests meet some local Kogi people – and even a Mamo (shaman) if you’re lucky. Experienced surfers can ride the riptide on Palomino Beach. 

Forget Machu Picchu: Colombia’s Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) is thought to be 650 years older than Peru’s famous Inca site. It’s deep in the Sierra Nevada, and not quite doable in a day trip – unless you fly over in a helicopter with Galavanta Helitours. The Riohacha region on the Venezualan border does have day-trip potential, especially good news if you’re a flamingo fan: there’s a colony of the pretty pink birds in the Los Flamencos Sanctuary near Camarones in La Guajira, on the coastal road between Santa Marta and Riohacha. For twitchers, there’s plenty of bird-watching opportunities within the rainforest as well, especially helpful if your preferred avians are parrots and toucans.

The Tayrona National Natural Park is about an hour’s drive away from the hotel. Here, hikes through golden, palm-lined beaches, dense rainforest, mangroves and more of that towering coastal mountain range await.

Local restaurants

All meals at One Santuario Natural are included – plus, Palomino’s restaurants can be overloaded with backpackers; leave it to chef Cható and co instead.

Reviews

Photos One Santuario Natural reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this riverside hotel in Colombia and unpacked their curuba fruit and coffee beans, a full account of their coastal Caribbean break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside One Santuario Natural just outside Palomino in La Guajira…

One Santuario Natural might have you swaying with your arms in the air before you’ve even set foot on it, and those affection-filled, heart-eyed emotions will just keep coming. This hotel is the eco-friendly, labour-of-love dream of native Colombian Allan Kassim, who has set up his series of seven palapas (thatched huts) in the midst of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains and on the banks of the Palomino River – on a palm- and papyrus-lined plot next to land still belonging to the Kogi indigenous community. There’s an open-sided longhouse at the heart, where you can snooze in a hammock, order a zingy limonada de coco to regulate temperatures in the jungle heat or read a book by the fire. Once you meet owner Kassim’s dogs, you’ll start to see a bit of a theme: one is named Jimmy Spliff, the other (officially) Robert Nesta Marley. It’s truly a place for getting together and feeling alright.

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Price per night from $240.30

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