Santa Marta, Colombia: Our detailed 2020 guide from how to get there, best tours, the must-sees and much more!
Colombia Hop offers a safe option for making your way to Santa Marta with stops along the way to appreciate the real beauty of Colombia. With a variety of passes to choose from, all counting with an onboard bilingual guide to assist you, you will be glad to have discovered so many gems on the road to Santa Marta. Best of all, Colombia Hop will drop you off right at your hotel/hostel’s door in Santa Marta.
Taking a public bus offers several issues. The bus station is located in central Cartagena, which can be difficult to access for tourists. You would need to take a taxi in order to get there. Remember that Uber is illegal in Colombia, so it is not necessarily the best choice for travelers.
Taking a van provides the usual concerns in South America, with over-filled buses and dangerous driving. It also means that you will miss out on all of the hidden gems along the way.
Lost City Trek
This is a great adventure for hiking fans. The Lost City was built by the Tayrona people around 1200 years ago and was lost deep inside the coastal jungles after being abandoned.
Visit Bolivar’s Hacienda
Just outside of Santa Marta is the place where the liberator Simón Bolívar lived out the end of his life. There are botanical gardens and a guided tour of the place.
Tayrona National Park
One of the most popular attractions of Santa Marta, this national park is home to plenty of pristine white beaches, found deep in forests full of jungle wildlife.
Lose yourself in nature in the midst of the lush vegetation and the cloud forest of Minca. Enjoy the waterfalls and the wildlife for a night as a break from the beach.
Visit the beach
Santa Marta is famous for its beautiful beaches, and there are plenty of small towns close by to visit, such as Taganga, if you can’t quite get your fill from Santa Marta.
Visit the market
Santa Marta is home to incredible markets, most notably the Public Market. You can find practically anything that you could dream of here and it is the perfect representation of Colombian markets.
Santa Marta was the very first settlement of the Spanish, and so it holds the claim of being among the oldest colonial cities in the continent.
Fall in love with fresh seafood all over again in Santa Marta. The street food is cheap, delicious and fresh. What more could you want?
Memorial museum of Sierra Nevada
Technically in Minca, this is a great place to understand the history of the Sierra Nevada.
Smaller than its sister found in Bogota, but still just as shiny, this gold museum will invite you into the complex world of the precious metal.
Casa de Madame Agustine
Home to the wife of Simon Bolivar’s doctor, this old mansion is the perfect colonial jewel to add to Santa Marta’s crown.
Just outside of Santa Marta, the place where the liberator Simón Bolívar lived out the end of his life. There are botanical gardens and a guided tour of the place.
The nightlife in Santa Marta is found close to the ocean and concentrated mostly around Calle #19. There is plenty of different bars to choose from, from Reggae and Rock to traditional Colombian Salsa. Santa Marta is a town that is friendly to backpackers and relatively safe. However, as always, you should always only drink drinks that you have seen made in front of you and never leave your drinks with strangers.