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La Tortuga Hostel

La Tortuga Hostel
Calle 9 #3-116, Taganga, Santa Marta, Magdalena
+57 320.258.9677 (whatsapp/celular)
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tortugahostel.com

Overview: Tortuga Hostel is a charming, medium-sized hostel located on the northern end of Taganga, just three blocks from the beach. It features a delightful pool, a rooftop terrace, bar, and grill, a friendly staff, and a magnificent bamboo/cement construction.

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Neighborhood: Taganga is an idyllic beachside town that thrives on fishing and tourism, so there are always dining and entertainment options nearby. The northern side of Taganga features a delightful variety of restaurants and shops, and is just a five minute walk from the beach and the main drag of Taganga, which is packed with bars and great eats.

Just next door to La Tortuga Hostel there is a small restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch, and there are plenty of small shops nearby where you can buy basic necessities, snacks, fruits and vegetables, and bottled water. Or, head down to the beach at around 5pm every day, where you can get some of the freshest seafood imagineable. A pound lobster is just $12.000 (around $4).

How to Get There: There are two ways to get to Taganga: by plane, or by bus. If you are planning on arriving at Santa Marta's Simon Bolivar International Airport (SMR) you can arrive at the hostel by either taxi or bus, depending on your budget and time frame. A taxi from the airport directly to the hostel costs around $40.000, and will take around 50 minutes. From the airport, you can also take a blue "buseta" (smaller bus) to downtown Santa Marta which will leave you near the "bahia" (the bay), which costs $2.000. You can then take a bus from downtown Santa Marta to the hostel for $1.400, which will take about 20 minutes. In total you should budget around an hour and 15 minutes for this route.

If you are arriving at the bus terminal in downtown Santa Marta, a taxi should be around 15 minutes to the hostel, and cost around $15.000. Of course, make sure you confirm the price before you get into the taxi. The best way to cut down costs is to share a taxi with other travelers.

Management/Staff: The hostel is owned by Mona, who is from Bogota. She has spent seven years developing the property.

Rooms: There is space for around 25 guests, in both shared and private rooms.

Shared Rooms: There are 5 dormitories in total. One is a 6 bed dorm, and there are four 4 bed dorms. The 6 bed dorm costs $32.000 per night, while the 4 bed dorm costs $36.000.

Private Rooms: There are two private rooms with private bath and cable TV. These cost $110.000 per couple.

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Amenities: 

Breakfast: No. Breakfast is sold, however, for $8.000.

Kitchen: There is a kitchen available for guest use, that is open until midnight every day.

Restaurant: No. However, there is a chef on the premises, named Rafael. He is available on request to prepare special dishes with advanced notice.

Bar: There is a full bar on the rooftop terrace which offers a wide variety of beers as well as a range of tropical cocktails.

Terrace/Patio: There is a terrace on the top floor.

TV Lounge: Yes

Computers: Yes. There is a computer for guest use in the reception.

Wifi: Yes. Both in the common areas and bedrooms. 

Lockers: There are small lockers available in the reception for guarding valuables. Guests must bring their own locks.

Bicycles: No

Credit Cards: Yes. Visa, Mastercard, American Express

Luggage Storage: Yes. This is a free service.

Check-in Time: 2pm

Check-out Time: 11:30am

Restaurants: There is a wide variety of restaurants in the area that come highly recommended. Pachamama, featuring a French chef, serves up delicious seafood, steak, and pasta dishes, of course with a French touch. 

German-owned Cafe Bonsai offers up the best sandwiches in town, as well as a wide variety of healthy options, including wonderful juices. It's located in the center of town.

Baba Ganoosh offers up great meat dishes and Asian favorites, while featuring the best view of Taganga Bay that you'll find anywhere.

Casa Divanga, just two blocks south of La Tortuga, also features an impressive French restaurant, serving both lunch and dinner. At night, they offer poker tournaments, karaoke nights, and a pool table.

Tourism in the City:  Playa Grande is definitely your best bet if you want to stay close to Taganga. Just head to the northern end of the Bay, and it's a beautiful 15 minute walk from there through a cactus-strewn desert landscape, as you traverse cliffs which tower over the sea. Make sure you bring appropriate footwear, though, as flip-flops won't cut it. This is steep and rough terrain, although the hike itself is short. You'll soon find yourself at a marvelous sandy beach teeming with seafood restaurants, ceviche sellers, and buckets of ice cold beer. It is the perfect place to watch the sunset...just make sure to leave yourself enough time so you can make it back before dark.

Tourism Outside the City: All roads lead to Colombia's most famous national park: Taganga. It's just an hour away from Santa Marta, and the staff at La Tortuga will be happy to tell you how to get there. They can also sell you options where you can head to the park by boat, although these are quite a bit more expnensvie than merely taking the bus, which heads along the main road eastbound towards La Guajira.

Other tourism destinations include Palomino, which has really put La Guajira tourism on the map. Also, Cabo de la Vela and far-flung Punto Gallinas, round out wild La Guajira's tourism offerings.

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Conclusion: La Tortuga Hostel is a great spot to make your homebase for exploring Taganga, Santa Marta, and Parque Tayrona. It's also a great place to meet people, with its rooftop bar, grill, and pool area. The staff will make you feel right at home, and they will help you arrange your day trips around the area.

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