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Santa Marta - Colombians oldest city on the Caribbean Coast

Riddled with history due to being one of the oldest colonial cities in Colombia and with its rich indigenous roots of the Tairona and other Indian communities, this Caribbean seaside city is immensely popular with local and international tourists, for its warmth, beaches and key location to fascinating surroundings.

Founded by Spanish conquers in 1525, Santa Marta holds a number of historical sites to explore, although a very current Santa Marta of today holds a great deal of modern buildings, along-side busy sandy white beaches with its back drop to the Sierra Nevada mountains; an archeologist dream due to the many remains of one of the most advanced Pre-Latin communities during its time.

Santa Marta offers an abundance of options, within the city itself, and through out its surroundings.

Get busy in the city

Within the city you can visit such historical sites as the hacienda Quinta De San Pedro Alejandrino; once involved in producing sugar cane and where Simon Bolivar, (the great liberator of Colombia and other Latin American countries), spent his last days until his death.

Pass by the Cathedral (Catedral) claiming to be Colombia’s oldest church although never actually finished in construction until the late 18th century resulting in the Cathedral being made with a mixture of architectural designs.

The Museo Del Oro (Customs House) has some intriguing artifacts from the Tairona culture and Arhuaco and Kogui Indians.

Spend time at the crystal-clear sea

For some beach time, take a quick journey over to El Rodadero, a beach resort and try a delicious Coco loco! A rum cocktail prepared for you in a Coconut! North west of here you can visit the aquarium and museum (Acuario y Museo Del Mar) to see dolphins, seals, turtles and sharks.

If you prefer to see aquatic life in the open sea however you can arrange a number of diving trips to many dive sites along the coast from either Santa Marta itself or the neighboring fishing village of Taganga.

There are also a number of beaches, parks, and towns to visit around Santa Marta such as Playa Blanca, Parque Tayrona, Taganga, Cañaveral, Neguanje and Bahía Concha.

Nature and sports at Parque Mamancana

For some ecological excitement, Parque Mamancana is an ecotourism project with the desire to mix together both exhilarating extreme sport and ecological activities within a breathtakingly beautiful natural park.

Here you can enjoy such activities such as canopying, rappelling, hang gliding, rock climbing walls, quad biking or take archeological, flora, fauna butterflies/bird walks and wild life observations.

There is also a restaurant and bar lounge and possibilities of fun themed parties.

The park which has put in place this interaction with the environment desires to raise awareness for the need of conservation and recuperation of the reserve and with both the Caribbean Sea and Sierra Nevada in sight it’s a fantastic option whilst staying in Santa Marta.

Explore the Tayrona culture

For a step back in time to the captivating and mystic era of the powerful Tairona culture you can organize a trip from Santa Marta to Pueblito In the Tayrona National Park to see the remains of a Tairona Indian settlement or The Lost City (Ciudad Perdida) to visit the once capital of the Tairona community and encounter the Indian descents’ that still reside there.

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Travel Tips

How to dress in Santa Marta?

Beach wear and light breezy clothes are recommended for around Santa Marta and beaches, however if taking a trip up into the more mountainous areas warmer clothes are required, along with sunscreen, a hat and comfortable shoes for all areas.

How to get there

By Plane - Avianca and AeroRepública both have flights to Santa Marta’s Simon Bolivar airport from Bogota, Medellin and Cali. All international flights into major cities can have connecting flights to Santa Marta. By land within the city - Taxis are the safest and easiest option, however be sure to ask about the fare for the ride before you get in the car as rates can vary.

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Comments for Santa Marta

  • Comment by Stephanie Wagner — 09/06/2009

    Absolutely beautiful! Highly recommended.

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Available Sightseeing Tours

Helicopter flight over Sierra Nevada Santa Marta & the Lost City

Helicopter flight over Sierra Nevada Santa Marta & the Lost City

(70 minutes) $1,964 USD

Flight over Sierra Nevada and lost city (Ciudad Perdida)!

Tour to the Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City)

Tour to the Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City)

(6 Days / 5 Nights) $464 USD *

Discover Cuidad Perdida - The Lost City


Recommended Hotels & Accomodations

La Casa

La Casa

Info: 4 Stars, Wi-Fi,

Hotel Santorini, Santa Marta

Hotel Santorini, Santa Marta

Info: 5 Stars, Wi-Fi,