Santa Marta Travel Guide
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- 98%Local Culture
- 98%Luxury Travelers
- 75%History Buffs
Member Reviews (17)Write a review
- Santa MartaMember ofLocal CultureFoodiesLuxury TravelersFeb 14, 2014
Up-and-Coming Cruise Port: Santa Marta, Colombia
Excursion: In Colombia’s oldest city, you’ll see artifacts of the Kogi and Arhuaco peoples in the Gold Museum—and tour the final home of 19th-century liberator Simón Bolívar.
Voyage: Oceania’s Regatta, from Miami to Los Angeles. December 5; 15 nights from $3,499. —Jane WooldridgeRecommended for:
- Santa MartaJul 24, 2013
First of all: just call it #Samaria. The oldest colonial town in Colombia, the beauty of it doesn't reside with what the Spaniards brought with them, but instead in what was already there.
That is, mainly, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, which was the center of the world for some of its indigenous cultures. It is the highest coastal mountain in the world, the only one that has permanent snow (yes its peaks too are melting :( and it plunges into the Caribbean forming the most beautiful landscapes in the Colombian North Coast.
During the country's independence war, Santa Marta proved to be one of the cities most faithful to the Mother Land, but destiny provided that it became the last resting place for Simón Bolívar, the revolutionary giant.
The story says he was on his way to exile when he fell ill and was ordered by his care takers to rest. No one would take him but a Spanish local plantation owner, and so Bolívar spent his last days at his Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino. The local guides will tell you that El Libertador used to pass the afternoons laying in his hammock, tied to those same Tamarindo trees that are still standing there. Those trees alone are well worth the trip to Samaria.
- Santa MartaJun 09, 2013
The city of Santa Marta is located about 7 miles from my property, facing the Atlantic Ocean also. It's the more northern area of South America with a Bay Area
well known as "El Balcón de América" (The Balcony of America), fitted with an international marina. This city deserves a visit to enjoy the beach, the sea food and spend some time in the historical "La Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino" the last home of Simon Bolivar, the Liberator of 5 south american countries, under the government of Spain, back in the 19th century.
- Santa Marta
- Santa MartaNov 20, 2012
Santa Marta...what can I say about Santa Marta other than when I went I flew in from Cali, Colombia with my girlfriend. It is a small island surrounded by beautiful warm shallow water. There was plenty to do considering you sign up for the excursion like snorkeling, tours, museums, etc. They had a few discotecs there but most were closed because we visited during an election time and in Colombia they shut a lot of things down when it is election time. Also, Santa Marta is very close to the equator so it was extremely hot. As far as the island, I was not really impressed with its beauty. I have been to beaches in Phuket, Australia, and off the coast of Spain, but Santa Marta couldn't compare. This was just a fun get away to bond with my girlfriend.
- Santa MartaJul 05, 2012
Great little pedestrian strip situated in the historic district between Parque de Los Novios, which is the hot spot for drinking and dancing, and the main cathedral. Stroll along the cobble stone street and pier into the vintage buildings that have been rejuvenated by new restaurants with a young, energetic feel.
- Santa MartaMember ofLocal CultureBudget TravelersFoodies+ 7Jul 04, 2012
Santa Marta is eminently skippable. It's the most convenient stop on the way to Tayrona National Park, but is largely filled with gringos on their way to the park, picking their way through littered streets. There are some modern hostels in town, there is very good street food (best arepa con queso I had on the entire trip), but overall, Santa Marta is more practical than fun. If you can, do the trip from Cartagena to Tayrona in one day. Just go to the bank machine first, as you can't get cash past Santa Marta.
- Santa MartaMember ofLocal CultureOutdoor EnthusiastsBudget Travelers+ 4Jul 04, 2012
Santa Marta is on the top of my list of places I really enjoyed. The reason is the beaches and most things can be done within walking distance of each other.
There is a nice commercial area, just north of there is a great area of street food as well as nice small places to eat. The street food open at late nights was great after coming back from the clubs that pound great music not so far from the beach.
The one great things about Santa Marta is the beaches. There is a nice long road of beaches. But on top of that, if you want some less crowded beaches, you can make yourself to the fishing village of Taganga which is a short bus ride away for 1400 pesos found on calle 8.
There is amazing culture downtown as well, with a gorgeous cathedral and a place to just hang out. Santa Marta tends to be the gateway town to Tyrona National Park, which is an amazing place to visit.
The only drawback I can say about Santa Marta is the lack of care for the litter in their streets. This is a vast contrast to the cities of Bogota and Cartagena which are very clean.
Santa Marta is a great place for some dancing (as most of Colombia) and a great place to just sit on beaches or a great gateway to Tyrona. I would recommend it for anyone.
- Santa MartaJul 03, 2012
Santa Marta itself, is a big coastal port city of Columbia,that sits on the Caribbean sea, but what's great about it, is that it has one of the coolest national parks in Columbia, and maybe in the whole Caribbean Sea.. The best part of town to sleep is Taganga, and not only because it's closer to the amazing Tayrona park...
I'll start by talking about Taganga, because it's where I spent more time, and then talk about Tyrona Park.
Taganga is separated from the big city of Santa Marta, by the sea, and a very steep hill, that has a great view by the way, anyway it's like little village right next to it, that has a little beach with a bunch of boats, that can take you snorkel, scuba dive ( I went scuba threw my hostel "Casa Bait", and it was pretty nice, but whoever you do it with, make sure you go deep enough into the park, so the reef will be better...), or just fishing,,, You can obviously get amazing fish at the restaurants on the beach (the best ones are the open round ones, that look like bongolos, right before the water. around 11 in the morning is the best time to have an amazing verity of beautiful caribbean fresh fish, from Tuna to Royal Red Snapper, in huge sizes, that will finally fill you up good with good fish.), an the there's a bunch of other cool places to eat in the town as well, and a lot of nice hostels, in a few sorts of styles, but all in Columbian style.. The night scene is pretty constant, around all the days of the weak, because of the constant amount of young tourists in the town, but only enough to fill up one club.. Only problem is there's just one ATM, and when he stops working, you have to go to Santa Marta, which is not that bad if you like malls, because Santa Marta happen to have pretty nice and cheap one, with good brands..
The Hostel I stayed in was fucking crazy good, but crazy indeed, and not for the weakly hearted...
The Tayrona Park, Has great virgin caribbean beaches, with wild jungle growing a few meters from the water. The jungle is nice for seeing a lot of cool animals, I've seen a Mara (Wiki it) and soooo many blue crabs (mostly near the shore, or rivers), but you have to stand still or walk softly, because they hide when they sense the ground shaking, which they do very easily... I did an ambush to them with my girlfrind, a few meters up stream in a little river, and stood still for a few minutes, where we saw a lot of big holes in the sand, on the side of the river.Then, one by one they all started popping out of the holes, big blue crabs, with one hand much bigger then the other, walking sideways out of the ground...
Anyway there's a lot of animals to see there, but don't walk in the trails in the dark alone, it's a real jungle... The beaches have a few ways, you either go by boat to a day on one of the big wide beaches (that have no connections to to anywhere into the jungle), and then go back on the same/next/more day. You can go to the famous more visited beaches, where you have tents for beds, and usually restaurant next to it. You can bring a tent, but make sure the tent is anti-after-noonmassive caribbean rain. You can also go deeper into the park, (if beautiful caribbean beaches are not enough for you), and go jungle-treking to the ruins of the two Tyrona people (native american culture) old villages/cities. They had some interestingly beautiful/practical architecture, that made round stages for each house, and stone routes/jungle-sidewalks, connecting between them, and so the the whole town is basically "floating over the jungle, maybe because they tried to step on the ground as little as possible. You can see the ruins of that in a short trek to Pueblito. or if you really want a challenge, you can go to the "Ciudad Perdida", the "Lost City", that is still mostly hidden by the jungle, but suppose to be one of the most amazing sites in Columbia, if not in all of south America. Sadly enough I didn't get to do that, for lack of time, and a preference for finishing a year long trip with relaxation on the great beaches of Tayrona. If you deiced to do it, you have to take under consideration, that it's a 6 days long jungle-trek, which is not easy, and also been done in an area where there have been Guerilla tourists-kidnaping a few years ago... It's suppose to be safe now, but who knows... I hope I'll get to be in Tayrona again some day, and see the Lost City this time...
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