There are only a handful of ways to get to Taganga from Cartagena and we chose to go with the bus company Marsol. If your Spanish is not fluent, do not go with this company.
We booked through Hostel Marbella with the help of a friendly New Zealand guy. He told us to let Marsol know when we got there that we wanted to go to Taganga and we just had a to pay a bit extra at the office.
No-one at Marsol seemed to know what they’re doing, Ricky told about 4 people that our final destination was Taganga but they kept saying yes then passing us off. We waited on 1 bus for about 30minutes, and when 9 o’clock came around, they put us on another bus for no reason. We ended up leaving at 10 and for some reason the bus driver seemed to think we were only going to Santa Marta.
Please note that there are two bus terminals in Cartagena, (Marsol) El Cabrero and (Berlinastur) Marbella, make sure your taxi driver knows which one to take you to
Dive Shops in Taganga
We got to our Hostel (Hostel Mirador) at around 3:30pm, it seemed really nice. We walked around for a little bit and settled for a semi expensive lunch at La Ballena Azul.
We had a list of Scuba Diving shops that we wanted to visit:
Calipso Dive Safari: 650000COP 2 nights/550000COP 1 night. Meals and hammock included. We didn’t have time to do it, but we’ll definitely book the next time. FYI Calipso is NAUI certified not PADI.
Oceano Scuba: 180000COP for 2 fun dives at their private island. Includes lunch includes photos.
Poseidon: 180000COP for 2 fun dives. Includes sandwich, personal dive computer & photos. Can choose between the morning or afternoon session.
Tayrona Dive Centre: 150000COP for 2 fun dives (full day). Includes lunch and photos.
Nautilus: 130000COP for 2 fun dives. Includes food. Guys from our Hostel said they were okay, we’re unsure of the other details.
After visiting majority of the list above we chose Oceano Scuba and Tayrona Dive Centre. We paid our deposits and organised our bus transfer back to Cartagena as well. Dinner was at a cheap place called Divijura, which was on the beach. We also got 2 free beer vouchers from our Hostel so we had a drink and then headed to our room.
Cafe Bonsai, Beach Walks & Chills
We had a lot of laundry so in the morning we dropped it off at reception and then headed to Cafe Bonsai for brunch. Ricky only had a coffee, but I was tempted by the greek yoghurt and muesli. It was really good! We found out that they get the yoghurt from a local farmer.
After brunch we chilled at the hostel for a while and then went for a walk around the Island. We found a nicer beach and a good viewpoint to take photos.
We paid what was owing on our scuba dives and got lunch at Divijura again. That night we were really tired so we did stretches, watched a movie, booked transport and other admin stuff. I think we were in bed by 9pm.
Diving With Tayrona Dive Centre
We got there at 7:30am and it was a quick 2 minute walk from our Hostel. After messing around we left the shop at around 9pm.
Pros: Cheap(er), good gear, photos, big boat and helpful staff.
Cons: Our Instructor had little to no English, so we had another instructor translating, Lunch was average (ham and guava jam sandwich, chocolate wafers, banana and water).
What we saw: We dived twice around Tayrona National Park at El Salidero and El Cantil. We saw Turtles, Trumpet fish, Rainbow fish, brain corals, Pufferfish, Lionfish.
We had our lunch at a small beach with another dive school. It had a small shelter. After that we did another dive. We got back at around 1:30, had a quick shower and headed our for a late lunch. Ricky did bits and pieces in hostel while I had a nap. Unfortunately the cheap red filter Ricky bought for the GoPro in Peru didn’t turn out and it ruined our dive video. That night went for dinner at little restaurant behind the main street which was cheap and decent. Again, we watched a movie and did stretches before heading to bed.
Diving With Oceano Scuba
We got there at 8:00am, again it was just down the road from our Hostel. We got to the boat at around 9:30 after filling in paperwork, getting our gear and waiting for others.
Pros: The instructors were really helpful with fantastic English. The gear was good and the food was a lot better. They made it on the private island when we got there (ham, vegetable and cheese sandwich, banana, watermelon, pineapple, coke, water and guave jam & cheese for desert ). We also had rocking chairs
Cons: The boat was a bit small and overall it was a bit more expensive.
What we saw: We had 2 dives around Tayrona National Park again but at Corrienton and Calichan. We saw Trumpet fish, Rainbow fish, brain corals, Pufferfish, Lionfish, small Barracuda, worm thingy & Cuttlefish.
We got back at around 1:30, shower, we snacked for lunch, having a street meat skewer, milo and fresh bread with Peanut Butter at Cafe Bonsai. We did bits and pieces in hostel, went for dinner and did some stretches before having an early bed for our bus the next day.