The little fishing town Taganga in Colombia, right next to Santa Marta, is mostly known for it’s cheap and fun scuba diving! For people like us, who are looking to get certified, Taganga is a great option. The little town has almost more dive schools than inhabitants! This can make it difficult to choose the right one for you…two schools we can highly recommend are Nautilus and Reef Shepard. Both centers have excellent instructors, which make the dives so much fun!
The reefs around Taganga belong to the protected Tayrona Park so no fishing is allowed. Despite this protection, the reefs are still damaged from the past. Some organizations like Fundacion Calipso, do their best to help the reefs recover. This organization is trying to grow new corals in their coral nurseries and they are doing research on the reefs development. They also offer volunteering possibilities for locals and foreigners, who love scuba and the ocean.
The diving in Taganga is great fun, there are eels in almost every hole in the reef, lobsters and a wide range of caribbean fish are all around the place. We also saw sea snakes, turtles and a little octopus on various occasions. Taganga is a great place for people interested in spear fishing, as the venomous and invasive lionfish population needs to be reduced. All of the dives are boat dives and while it may seem a little scary to dive in backwards from their tiny boats, it is definitely great fun and worth the effort.
Prices in Taganga are very reasonable. Taganga may not have the best corals in the Caribbean, but it has some of the best prices! To get started with diving and your certifications it is the perfect place, PADI courses (Open Water & Advanced) are around $220 and two tank dives about $80.