Santa Marta: Tourism in Colombia
To start to tell you about Santa Marta, it is important that you know that it can be found in the Caribbean of northern Colombia, and that it is one of the oldest cities in all of Latin America. It is a beautiful city of contrasts where the green of its mountains, the turquoise of its waters and the white of its snow, make Santa Marta a special and unmissable spot to visit in Colombia.
The climate in Santa Marta varies from 24° to 35° centigrade throughout the year, so you’ll find that heavy clothing here is unnecessary. Although between October and January can be described as a somewhat colder season, it is always advisable to dress in comfortable clothing with sunscreen and sunglasses ready for when you go to the beach, since many of the touristic places we talk about are by the sea.
How to get to Santa Marta?
To get to Santa Marta from the principal cities of Colombia, you can go by air or by land. You can fly to the Simón Bolívar International Airport. The most economical and practical way to travel to Santa Marta is to take a flight with a low-cost airline, such as Viva Air (keep in mind that the service provided on these flights may be less satisfactory, due to their lower prices, and that extra charges may exist for checked luggage or printing boarding passes in the airport). With this airline you travel from Bogotá for a price of about 50 USD in the off-season.
When you arrive in the Simón Bolívar International Airport, you can take a bus outside the airport for less than 1 USD towards the center of the city from 6:00 AM until 10 PM. If you want a more comfortable journey and you aren’t too tight on money, a taxi ride to the center of the city will cost you 20 USD, approximately.
To go by land to Santa Marta, it is not recommended that you start from a city in the center of Colombia since the distance is long and the journey can take between 18 and 21 hours. So, if you travel by land, it better be from a nearby coastal city in the Caribbean of Colombia, like Cartagena. The travel time from Cartagena to Santa Marta is about 4 hours and you can buy a ticket for this bus trip in the transportation terminal for about 10 USD.
Touristic Zones of Santa Marta
In Santa Marta, you can always find something to do. It is a gorgeous city with a significant number of touristic places to see and enjoy. Among them are the following:
Historic Center of Santa Marta
The Historic Center of this city has a historical and cultural richness that we found impressive. It’s important to mention that Simón Bolívar died here, which is the reason why there are many places in Santa Marta that carry his name in homage to the liberator of Colombia.
With wooden balconies and white facades, the Historic Center of Santa Marta enchants and welcomes its guests. Read more about the Historic Center of Santa Marta.
Rodadero Beach, or “The Precipice Beach”, is one of the most attractive touristic places of Santa Marta. It is surrounded by green mountains and gorgeous beaches where you can sunbathe, swim or snorkel. There is also a wide range of restaurants, hotels, bars and clubs to choose from.
Read more about Rodadero beach and other beaches.
Considered a sanctuary for bird-watching, Minca is such a beautiful little town, with only about 500 inhabitants, located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. As one leaves the city of Santa Marta and heads towards the mountains, the climate shifts from heat to cooler temperatures, meaning that in this hidden treasure of a town, it is quite fresh. We have so much to tell you about Minca. You can see it here.
This is another touristic destination in Santa Marta that you really shouldn’t miss. It’s only 7 kilometers from the Historic Center. Taganga is a typical fishing village and it also is a great starting point for a tour of the most beautiful beaches. This is another great spot for snorkeling thanks to the tranquility of this bay.
Getting to Taganga is really simple: you can take a bus that says “Taganga” from the Fifth avenue (“Carrera quinta”) in the city center and you’ll pay less than 1 USD. If you choose to go by Taxi, it’ll cost you about 7 USD.
Beaches of Santa Marta
Some people say that you can find the most beautiful beaches in all of Colombia in Santa Marta. I’ll list the three most frequently visited and best known of these here, but I also invite you to explore more of the beaches of this enchanting city in our other article, (Beaches of Santa Marta), where we tell you about heaps of beaches, including one for nudists!
If you’re looking for beautiful nature in Santa Marta, look no further than Tayrona Park: visiting this park may be one of the best experiences of your life! It can be found in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, about 34 kilometers from Santa Marta. There are three entrances that I’ll describe in our article on Tayrona Park. In this beautiful park, you’ll enjoy some of the best beaches as well as indescribable natural beauty – just make sure you bring shoes and comfortable clothes to navigate through the park!
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
Designated as a Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the tallest coastal mountain range in the world, and it will leave you breathless with its exuberant beauty. The archaeological gem of the Lost City (“La Ciudad Perdida”) is hidden within this park, as well as many indigenous communities. However, getting to this hidden paradise is not so easy, though for nature-lovers and adventurers, it isn’t impossible. Here I will tell you everything you need to know about tourism in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
As you can see, Santa Marta is a magical place that definitely merits a visit! And you, do you already know this city?