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The best things to do in Santa Marta

Santa Marta, San Miguel Cathedral front view

The best things to do in Santa Marta

  |   Colombia, Santa Marta   |   2 Comments
Santa Marta is a city that is known for its Caribbean culture, climate, beaches and many tourist sites; it offers a wide variety of activities that visitors to the city will love, but may find it challenging to do them all! So, let me tell you about the best way to experience Santa Marta.

Historic Center



San Miguel Cathedral

This imposing, Renaissance-style cathedral can be found on the Fifth Avenue and 16th Street of the Historical Center of Santa Marta. It was constructed at the end of the XVIII century and consecrated at the beginning of the XIX century. It is said that somewhere in this cathedral there is a hidden urn that contains the heart and organs of the liberator of Colombia, Simón Bolívar.

International Marina

Located at the intersection of the 14th Avenue and 28th Street, this marina has been open for business for seven years, in which time it has managed to earn international renown. This is the site of some of the most important social events in Santa Marta.

Santa Marta, International Marina, view from the sea

This is the site of some of the most important social events in Santa Marta.


Rodrigo Bastidas Strip

The Rodrigo Bastidas Strip is located on 5th Street and 1st Avenue, and is the line that separates the city from the sea. There is a little square where the monument of the founder of Santa Marta, Don Rodrigo de Bastidas, can be found. This is a beautiful spot that is perfect for relaxing while you sit by the water and enjoy a coastal afternoon.

Calle 19 (19th Street)

Calle 19 is one of the most traditional and visited streets in Santa Marta – its popularity with tourists is thanks to the colonial architecture of its houses which have been maintained. This street is also called “La Tumbacuatro” in honour of a traditional game that was played by vendors of the market many years ago. This is a pretty and attractive street that you can’t miss when you come to Santa Marta.

Lovers’ Park

The park which is officially called “Parque Santander” is also known as Lovers’ Park (Parque de los novios), due to the fact that it’s a favourite place for couples to meet. This park is also well known for the quality and quantity of bars, restaurants and clubs that surround it. If you’re looking to party, this is a good place to visit.

Santa Marta, Lovers' Park, drone view

Santa Marta – Parque de los Novios


Simón Bolívar Park

A pretty park to visit that pays tribute to the liberator of Colombia, Simón Bolivar. This park is quite large and faces the bay of Santa Marta. It’s a cool place to hang out and enjoy the day.

Santa Marta, Simon Bolivar Park, shot with drone

Santa Marta – Simon Bolivar Park: located in front of the Santa Marta bay.


Santa Marta’s beaches


El Rodadero

The beach “El Rodadero” is one of the most popular beaches of the city. It’s surrounded by bars, clubs, restaurants, and other entertainment. This is a favourite for tourists since they can stay close, enjoy the beach, and take off from this point to get to Santa Marta’s other beaches.

Santa Marta, El Rodadero Beach shot with drone

Santa Marta – El Rodadero: one of the most popular beaches of the city.


Seashell Bay (Bahía Concha)

This beach, part of Park Tayrona, has lovely, crystal-clear water that is calm and warm. Visitors to Santa Marta should definitely come to this beach to enjoy not only its welcoming waters, but also the captivating scenery that it offers.

Santa Marta, Seashell Bay, shot with drone

Santa Marta – Seashell Bay: inviting beach with lovely views.


Crystal Beach (Playa Cristal)

There’s no doubt that Crystal Beach is one of the most beautiful and well conserved beaches of all Park Tayrona. Its green, crystal-clear waters blend with the deeper blues of the ocean water to fantastic effect, rendering this a soothing place ideal for relaxation. This is another beach that we highly recommend you visit; see more information about this beach in our article on the Beaches of Santa Marta.


What to do in Santa Marta at night?

When you’re in Santa Marta, you will likely want to leave your hostel or hotel room and enjoy the nightlife of Santa Marta, or perhaps just walk along its inviting streets. I’ll mention a few of the best plans we have for what to do in Santa Marta by night to you here.

Ride in a horse-drawn carriage

You can take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, straight out of the 18th century, at El Rodadero. This could be a great way to enjoy the streets and warm night breezes of Santa Marta. Take a unforgettable horse-drawn trip at night with your partner or family!

Ride the “Chiva” Party Bus

“Chiva” buses are an alternative way to party on wheels – these buses are famous on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia. They pick you up from one point, say the Center or El Rodadero, you party as the bus drives through the main streets of Santa Marta, and it drops you at another point (usually somewhere with clubs and bars so that the party can keep going). These party buses typically cost around 15 USD, the price of which includes entry, aguardiente, perhaps a tour, and maybe even some traditional Santa Marta food.

Partying Nightlife

The most popular place for partying in Santa Marta is around the Lovers’ Park (Parque de los Novios), since there are plenty of bars and clubs there; head to this park to enjoy a few cold beers while you choose the best club to show off your moves.

Walk through the historical center

Walking through the historical center of Santa Marta by night can be a charming experience; appreciate its streets of decorated, antique houses with their wooden balconies as you walk in the deliciously warm climate that the city enjoys. Since you would be close, you could also take a walk down the Rodrigo Bastidas Strip by the sea, or to any of the numerous parks that adorn Santa Marta.

19th Street in Santa Marta, night view

Santa Marta – 19th Street: a charming experience walking through the streets of the historical center by night.


Now that you know what you can do in Santa Marta, are you ready to go to this coastal paradise?

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  • John and Susan Pazera | Jan 17, 2021 at 21:27

    Nice post. You may want to update this. The water is polluted. Even the locals don’t swim in it! Go to Tayrona!

    • Daniel | Mar 14, 2021 at 20:38

      Thanks for your comment. Yes it is true – Tayrona has the best beaches! It’s said to see the increasing pollution of the coast during the last years, especially due to plastic waste.

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