First of all, Palomino is not the idyllic beauty spot described by many a travel guide. It is at best a long stretch of dirtyish characterless beach with some bric-a-brac developments peppered with backpackers learning to surf or go tubing. The sea is too rough to swim in and that leaves little to do except read another John Grisham novel or space out on a hammock. In our estimation there are much nicer places in the world (and in Columbia) than Palomino. Why this has earned "a hidden unspoilt gem" accolade is beyond me .
Dreamer Hostel is fine if you're a twenty something backpacker who's happy with a dorm and idling the days with your mates and some club Columbias. The hostel even has a pool (albeit insect infested) which gives it an edge over other places.
But if you're a little older and opting for a private room, then this place is a giant rip off, of mega proportions. For COP 130,000 in low season you get a concrete mattress, no hot water, no air con, an ineffective fan, and sheets that feel unwashed and used a trillion times. The price doesn't even include a breakfast. If private rooms were at half the price at Dreamer, there wouldn't be much room for criticism. But in Santa Marta you can get a room with Apple TV and clean sheets for a few pesos more. This place even boasted internet but in fact has connection that proved next to useless.
Dreamer doesn't even command National Park credentials, so there should be no premium on what was a truly overpriced, uncomfortable nights sleep in a lacklustre location. We came with high hopes and left the next day after a sleepless night and equally bad food.
We've travelled Columbia and stayed in a good mix of places. This was the first place that truly disappointed us. So if you've been to a few beaches before and have a few expectations then don't believe the hype and give Dreamer a miss or even skip Palamino altogether!
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