The northern city of Santa Marta is known for its pristine beaches, diverse ecosystem, and beautifully preserved nature parks. Thousands visit Colombia every year to enjoy the many outdoor activities and sports associated with Santa Marta's landscape.
Explore some of the most beautiful beaches, coves, lagoons, and rainforests in this large area of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
Visit this charming town nestled in the mountains that overlook Santa Marta and kick back at one of the many restaurants and bars.
Take your time to understand Colombia's rich aquatic diversity through this aquarium's many interactive exhibits and shows.
Get away from the touristy Rodadero Beach to dive among some of Colombia's best coral reefs in Taganga.
Browse the work of modern Latin American artists at this hacienda-turned-contemporary art museum.
The renowned Tayrona Park is set in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, 40 minutes from the city of Santa Marta. Book a tour with a local guide to explore the spectacular scenery of the expansive, lush rain forest, which boasts a diverse array of wildlife including exotic monkeys, bats, and over 300 species of birds. Plunge your feet into the pristine white sands, and after that, dive into the natural, clear water of the Caribbean Sea. Satisfy your hunger pangs with a tasty and filling lunch at the Café Bonsai.
Situated in the valley between the Santa Marta and El Rodardo mountains, Playa Blanca offers visitors unparalleled tranquillity and beauty. Take a 15-minute boat trip from the sandy beaches lined with palm trees in Rodadero to get to Playa Blanca. Capture breathtaking photos of the rocky cliffs and cacti surrounding the beach and, on arrival, rent snorkeling gear and dive into the world of colorful Caribbean fish. Relax to the sound of the of the waves underneath the swaying coconut trees while sipping on tasty tropical fruit drinks available from the local vendors.
The lush green grounds of Institución Educativa Distrital Normal Superior San Pedro Alejandrino is one of Santa Marta's landmark and warrants a trip. It's adjacent to the District Educational Institution, IE, and Quinta de San Pedro. Make sure to stop by the Quinta de San Pedro, which is where the renowned military leader Simón Bolívar died.
This vast park is a favorite spot for couples, and there's a good reason for this: the square's name translates as the Park of Lovers. Take a lazy walk down the pedestrianized plaza in the warm afternoon while looking at the magnificent statue encircled by small fountains protruding from the square's red-brick surface. After that, dance to the inviting Finish off your exploration by sipping on a refreshing drink at the Crabs while admiring the setting sun in the lively ambiance.
Situated at the Inca Cove Inca in front of El Rodadero beach, this picturesque aquatic park boasts a diverse variety of sea species. Take a boat and visit the 15 glass aquariums and 13 swimming pools inside the aquatic park, where you can mingle with the dolphins and sea lions. Make your way to one of the swimming pools and refresh yourself by diving deep into the cool, crisp water. Also worth touring is the museum section enclosed inside the aquarium where you can learn about the pre-Columbian culture of the Taironas and their connection to the Caribbean Sea.
The best times to visit are from January to March or June to August due to the clear skies and dry weather.
The Simón Bolívar International Airport (CCS) is located 10 miles outside of the city. Most visitors take a taxi from the airport to their hotel or accommodation.
Motorway 90 will take you from Barranquilla to Santa Marta in just over two hours.
The Santa Marta Bus Terminal is a 30-minute drive outside of the city center. Cochetur has services between Santa Marta and cities like Cartagena and Barranquilla; the trip lasts between 3-5 hours. One-way tickets cost COL$50,000.
Emerald Green Guest House looks like an Irish castle with lovely room decor. Casa Loma Minca Hostel has beautiful views from the mountains and rooms ranging from dorms to private suites.
Rodadero - this area has some of the most popular beaches in the city as well as many hotels, bars, and restaurants.
Tayrona - visit this area to venture into the National Park's protected jungles and beaches.
El Dorado - this region is popular for bird watching and is one of the most important bird reserves in the world.
Tickets cost between COL$3-5,000 for your journey depending on the end destination, and can be paid to the driver upon entering the bus.
Taxis in Colombia do not run by meter, but instead by time spent in the car. Rides can cost between COL$3,500 to COL$20,000, depending on your negotiating skills.
Rental car prices start at COL$45,000 per day and can be picked up at any of the main transportation centers.
Many visitors enjoy buying souvenirs from individual vendors along Rodadero Beach; be prepared to bargain. The Ocean Mall is the biggest mall with bigger name brands and international stores.
The two main food stores are Éxito Santa Marta Centro and Supermercado Rapimercar. A dozen eggs costs COL$3,500.
Asadero Camarita, near Minca, is a great restaurant serving BBQ pork for around COL$12,000-14,000, including side dishes.