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Santa Marta, Colombia


Santa Marta rowboats

Santa Marta rowboats

Medioimages/Photodisc / Getty Images

About Santa Marta:

Santa Marta, on Colombia's Caribbean coast, (see map from Expedia), boasts a fine natural harbor and splendid views, but that's only part of the reason the Spaniards chose it for their first settlement.

Their choice was influenced by gold. The local Tairona indigenous communities were known for their goldsmithing work. Some of their products, what didn't get shipped back to Spain via the new port of Santa Marta, is on view in Bogotá as part of the Treasures from the Museo del Oro. Now, the Tairona Heritage Studies Centre is devoted to the study of the indigenous groups which inhabit the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
Founded in 1525 by Roger de Bastidas, Santa Marta is ideally located for visits to the Santa Marta mountain range, second in height only to the Andes running through Colombia and two national parks. While it doesn't have some of the tourism infrastructure of Cartagena down the coast, it has warm, clean beaches, many in Tayrona, or Tairona, park.

Getting and Staying There:

By Air:

Daily flights to and from Bogotá and other Colombian cities use El Rodadero airport outside the city on the route to Barranquilla. Select flights from your area. You can also browse for hotels and car rentals.

By Land:

Air-conditioned busses run daily to Bogotá and other cities, plus local runs to nearby communities, and Tayrona park.

By Water:

Cruise ships make this a port of call, and in addition to the commercial port, there is also a marina and berthing facilities at Irotama Resort Golf and Marina. Be aware that Santa Marta has a long history of smuggling.

Browse this list of hotels for availability, rates, amenities, location, activities and other specific information.

When to Go:

Santa Marta has a year-round tropical climate. It is hot during the day, but the evening sea breezes are cool and make sunsets and nightlife particularly appealing.

Check today's weather in Santa Marta.

Things to Do and See:

  • La Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino was home to Simón Bolívar during the last years of his life. A museum on the grounds houses art donated by many of the countries he helped liberate.
  • La Sierra Nevada De Santa Marta
  • Building on the Cathedral was started early in Santa Marta's history, but not completed until the end of the 18th century
  • Sitios Historicos, photos
  • Parque Tayrona
  • Fishing villagre of Taganga on a beautiful bay for scuba, and a cruise or walk to Playa Grande
  • El Rodadero, one of Colombia's most fashionable beach resorts
  • Ciudad Perdida, the "Lost City," the home of the Tayrona Indians was built on the lush slopes of the Santa Marta mountains between the 11th and 14th centuries. Thought to be larger than Machu Pichhu, it was found, and robbed, in the 1970's by grave robbers.
  • Photos of Santa Marta's waterfront Note: There are many cautions to traveling in Colombia. Be aware of them, current events, and Safety Issues.

    If you decide to travel in Colombia, then Buen Viaje!

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