Travel and Surf Information on Colombia's most popular surfing destination on the Caribbean, Costeño Beach, and other destinations near Costeno including Quebrada Valencia Waterfalls, Tayrona, Don Diego, and more.
Costeño is an unpopulated 4 km stretch of beach that offers the best surf conditions on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. It is located just to the north-east of Tayrona National Park, and while it may lack some of the raw natural energy and magnetism which Tayrona offers, it offers travelers the seclusion, freedom, and affordability which the National Park is rapidly losing.
The area was owned for many years by an old hippie named Randy who used the area to grow and export massive quantities of a canibus strain called Santa Marta Gold to the U.S. throughout the 60’s and 70’s. When cocaine overtook cannibus as the primary drug export, the owner got out, but most locals continue to refer to the area as Rancho de Randy.
As Santa Marta has grown as a travel destination, Colombian and foreign entrepreneurs are seeing opportunity in this area. The two owners of the Costeño Beach Surf Camp and Eco-Lodge partnered with Casa Grande for many years to provide surf lessons and board rentals in conjunction with Casa Grande’s campsites and on site restaurants. However as surfers began to discover the area, the owners of Casa Grande decided to market their property as a surf destination and the two brothers were forced to move elsewhere. Shortly thereafter, they purchased a large plot of beachfront land just 2-3 kms down the coast of their own and began work on their own project.
Costeño Beach Surf Camp and Eco-Lodge
The Costeño Beach Surf Camp and Eco-Lodge was nearing completion when we passed through, and while the finishing touches were still being applied, there is a vision and charm about the project underway that promises to make a lasting imprint on the area. Brian and Colm, who like so many others arrived in Colombia and decided they never wanted to leave, will generate all their electricity through gas and solar energy to avoid bringing in power lines through the otherwise untouched beaches and surrounding, where howler monkeys, ant-eaters, parrots, and jaguars all habitate. Tent camping, hammock rentals, and cabanas are all available at affordable rates, and the property will have a full restaurant running by early 2012. Until then, they are more than happy to cook for guests. (Their cooking is actually better than many restaurants in the area.)
While the waves were not anything to write home about (probably due to the hurricane that had just moved through the gulf), there was enough activity on site, and plenty to do in the surrounding area that kept us more than occupied for our 3 day stay. The Quebrada Valencia Waterfall is located just 5 miles up the road which sits on an incredible property with huge ficus trees and lovely vistas. 5 meter rock jumps into cool freshwater swimming holes are present at the the falls if you’re feeling daring, but most visitors spend the day drinking and relaxing in the shallow pools. 5kms further sits Don Diego, the launching point for river and float tours where visitors can get a first hand look at both the Tayrona Indian way of life, as well as the abundant biodiversity present in the region.
Growth and Vision
While Brian and Colm of the Costeño Beach Surf Camp and Eco-Lodge have mixed feelings about the incoming flow of tourism and development to the area, it seems unlikely that anything will stop the tides. The area is too beautiful and too inexpensive not to enjoy the growth which is coming to the region. After all, there aren’t many places in the world where you can enjoy both mountains, beaches, and jungle all in your own backyard.
Their vision of freedom, beauty and sustainability make us optimistic that this growth will be guided by the ideals of tomorrow.
Activities, Beaches, Surf Breaks, Swimming Spots, and Waterfalls in Costeño Beach and Surrounding Area
Travel Information for Reaching Costeño Beach, Quebrada Valencia, and the Don Diego River.