Tubing in Palomino was my first experience in the inner tube world. And because friends regularly came to visit me when I was working on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia, I “had” to do it 3 times. I went tubing in Palomino when the water level was so low that we had to walk at the end. And I also did it during the rainy season. The locals told us we would die if we did not hire a local guide – And of course, we didn’t.
So, Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope you’re honored to have in front of you an expert in tubing. 😀 – I wrote it down on my CV.
I won’t describe my three experiences to you. It would be boring as hell, and you would click on the back button before the end of this sente…..
Are you still here?
Chapter 1: Departure For Tubing In Palomino
In Palomino, there are no night bars for travelers and the restaurants close early in the evening.
With Dom, we were hanging out with other backpackers in the backyard of our hostel – The Tankos. The garland light above our head and the moving shades created by the candles were enough to make us feel joyful. The half empty bottle of rum on the table was probably helping too.
When discussing our tubing plan for the next day, we received our first hint from Natasha – the owner.
It's better to go tubing in Palomino in the morning (+)
- People are lazy in the morning. You will meet fewer tourists
- Even during the raining season, it’s usually sunny in the morning
- There is a better chance not to become a fried lobster (because of the sun)
The next morning, I hear something below my hammock. It’s white, hairy, small and full of energy. A kitten has decided to play with my mosquito net. The wake up is even more delightful than a heavy Nutella crepe for breakfast.
It’s time to prepare our expedition for tubing in Palomino.
With Dom, we want to do it well. We still have a waterproof bag from our last job in Capurgana. It’s time to use it! Speaker, phone, Colombian Pesos, tee-shirt, two lighters, and homemade cigarets. We are ready.
Spoiler: Read the end of the article to discover it wasn’t a great idea.
What you should think of before tubing in Palomino (+)
- You will go down the river on an inner tube. Don’t expect to keep your stuff safe and dry. Use a good waterproof bag or let them at your hostel.
- Apply your sunscreen before leaving your accommodation. And take a hat.
We only have to walk 30 meters to find the kids with their inner tubes. None of them has a beard, probably 1 or 2 milk teeth and they all speak at the same time.
The deal is quite simple.
You rent the inner tube, and they drive you on the back of their motorbike to the starting point. Once the activity is done – you will end at the beach -, you have to bring back the buoy.
Price and Opening hours (+)
- Now, there is an official price for the tubing in Palomino. It’s 20 000 COP. You can go tubing from 7h30/8h00 am until 3h30/4h00 pm. Then, you shouldn’t be able to do it. I’m sure you don’t want to wander in the jungle after dark.
- Locals are waiting all along the road leading to the beach.
- Ask your driver to stop on the way so you can buy some beers. You will love going down the river with a cold beer in each hand. Don’t forget to take a plastic bag to put your trash cans.
I grab my inner tube with my right hand and sit at the back of the moto-taxi. After 10 min and a quick stop at the shop to buy cold Aguila beers, we arrive at the beginning of the trail.
I look around me, seeking desperately for a river. Nothing. Not even a runoff noise.
We learn we still have to walk 25 min before enjoying the tubing. I’m glad I took my flip-flop. The path is easy to follow. On both sides, the trees are blocking the view, but they’re also protecting us from the sun.
We hike 15 min before going downhill on the other side. It’s not tough, but I’m sweating buckets because of the humidity. Every 5 min, I put the cold metal of the beer behind my neck. I can feel the shivers following my backbone.
We spot the river on our right. The current doesn’t look too fast. There is a small area a little further where we can drop our inner tube. Let’s start the adventure!
Chapter 2: Tubing in Palomino Through The Jungle
Pshhhh – Click
I’ve just opened my first beer. The music is on thanks to Dom’s speaker, and we are slowly going down the river. Lush vegetation is surrounding us. Only the most significant trees contrast with the landscape, showing us, each in its own ways, its personality.
Along the side, birds are attending their daily activities. Herons are fishings or drying on the branches. Our presence doesn’t seem to bother them.
The few rapids are short and not particularly powerful. I let myself be carried by the flow, the waterproof back on my belly, enveloped by the water.
Sometimes, the current pushes me in the direction of the banks. I have to agitate my arms and swim on the other way to avoid the impact with the bushes. My technique is not exceptional, and I look like a puppy trying to swim with a balloon bigger than him.
Dom thinks it funny to observe. He doesn’t pay attention to the tiny rock appearing on the surface of the water. His ass bumps the stone like Titanic. Fortunately, he doesn’t sink.
As everything is happening at 5 km/h, none of us is hurt.
Suddenly, I remark there is a hole in our waterproof bag. Everything is wet. While I witness the damage, a beer escapes from the bag. Thanks to a stupid reflex, I grab it back, and I hear a
Yep, in my silly tentative to save the beer, I forgot the speaker was in balance on my inner tube. In 2 min, I lost the speaker and soaked the lighters and cigarets.
As I told you, if you go tubing in Palomino, be ready to wet everything.
1 hour later, I can see the beach. A kid is waving us. We have to get out before arriving in the ocean.
After a quick dip in the sea, we walk 15 min along the shore with the inner tubes laid on our foreheads. The sun is stronger by now. It’s time to chill in the hammock.
The river level changes according to the seasons (+)
- From December to February, it’s the dry season, and it’s not raining at all. You may have to walk a few times during your tubing session.
- If you’re scared to do it alone, you can ask a local guide to come with you. Personally, I’ve always felt safe.
Where to travel after Palomino
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Why bother if we do it better?