Welcome to Santa Marta, Colombia! The new jewel of the the Caribbean coast. The oldest colonial city in South America and home to “El Libertador” Simon Bolivar during his last days.
Surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches, jungles and deserts in the world and host to the highest coastal mountain range on earth, Santa Marta is the perfect base to explore the diverse natural beauty and historical treasures the area has to offer.
From Tayrona National park to the Lost City, la Catedral de Santa Marta to la Quinta de San Pedro and el centro histórico with it’s buzzing nightlife, excellent selection of bars and restaurants and some of the best hotels and hostels in Colombia, there is always something new and exciting to discover.
So enjoy our beautiful city and your guide to The Best of Santa Marta. As the saying goes; “The only risk is wanting to stay.”
Perched in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, 40 minutes drive to the west at an altitude of 600 metres, the jungle town of Minca is a world away from the hot shores of Santa Marta. A mystical land the native Indians call the heart of the world, filled with hidden waterfalls, fresh mountain-water rivers, giant-bamboo shaded jungle walks, a million different species of birds (and other strange and wonderful animals and flora), plus a plethora of great things to do.
A working coffee farm, bed & breakfast and chocolate & coffee tour all rolled into one El Paraiso de Tuki (known locally as La Candelaria) have been welcoming guests for the past 3 years, but the family that owns and runs the small coffee farm have been living in Minca for 3 generations, and are the most welcoming hosts you could wish for (as is reflected in their excellent ratings on air bnb and booking.com).
Spend your days relaxing on the veranda watching the clouds roll in through the valley as Tuki (the pet toucan) nibbles at your feet. Or take a tour with Eugenio and discover everything about coffee from seed to cup before relaxing with a cleansing chocolate face pack. Eugenio and Ana always have many great stories to tell about the area and the history of Colombia, they will help show you the local area and recommend many excellent jungle walks and activities to do. If your looking for complete peace and tranquility then this is the place for you.
- Stay in a beautiful 100 year old working, organic coffee farm
- Daily Coffee and Cacao Tours (also open to day visitors)
- Breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada
- Cleansing chocolate face packs
- Meet Tuki the pet Toucan!
- Stay with the friendliest family in Minca
- The best hot chocolate in Colombia! (Perfect for those rainy days).
- Cosy & Private Rooms (They only rent 3 rooms, so you will feel like you have the place all to yourself)
- Great bird watching opportunities
- Close to Mundo Muevo and their Awindua village (20 minutes walk from La Candelaria, ask Anna and Eugenio to show you the way).
- Walk (45 minutes) – Follow the map from Cafe Minca, past the police station up towards Mundo Nuevo until you see the sign for La Candelaria leading off the main path to the right, then continue up through the coffee fields until you reach the white house, with the red roof and yellow poles.
- Take a mototaxi to the entrance of the coffee fields and follow the directions above
- To get in touch visit: elparaisodetukibnb.com or call: +57 321 588 7985
Top Tip: Ask Ana and Eugenio to tell you about their family’s history whilst you enjoy a cool beer or a fresh hot chocolate.
Eugenio Coffee Tour
Sitting in giant hammocks overlooking the jungle canopy with a spectacular view all the way to Santa Marta, Casa Elemento was was one of the first hostels I visited when arriving in Santa Marta. “You’ve gotta go to the place with the world’s largest hammock!” Marco, a friend had told me. Now 3 years and a bit later the home of the giant hammocks is one of the most famous hostels in Colombia, if not the world, and deservedly so.
Centered in the heart of La Finca Victoria, a 125 year old coffee plantation Casa Viejas (Old House) is ironically the new kid on the block in terms of hostels in Minca. Less than a year old the young french owners have transformed the old house into a new and modern, high-end hostel (without the prices to match).
One of the great things is there no shortage of things to do in Santa Marta. Take a boat trip from El Rodadero or the Marina de Santa Marta and visit some of the many amazing beaches along the exquisite Caribbean shoreline. Or how about a diving trip out from Taganga bay. For something a little less nautical head to Minca and spend the day visiting idyllic waterfalls and coffee farms. And for the more adventurous you could always learn how to survive solo in the jungle using only your wits and a machete, or head out for 4 day trek to the lost city!
Welcome to the best restaurants and bars in Santa Marta, Colombia!
Recently voted as the number 20 destination in South America by trip advisor members and highlighted as the second most important city on the Colombian coast by Lonely Planet, Santa Marta is a city that’s growing rapidly, so it’s no wonder there are hundreds of restaurants & bars to choose from. To make things easier we’ve put together a list of some of our favorites, and what we consider to be some of the best restaurants and bars in Santa Marta.
One of our favourite restaurants in Santa Marta, Ouzo was one of the first to open it’s doors in the newly renovated Parque de…
Set in the beautiful Marina de Santa Marta overlooking the calm Caribbean ocean and just a 5 minute walk from the historic center, Coco…
Lavinia is a stylish & sophisticated cocktail bar, located a short walk from Parque de los Novios on the busy pedestrian street; Calle 19.…
Specialising in gourmet arepas, wraps, ceviches, and fresh natural juices Lulo is a cute little restaurant that has deservedly gained an excellent reputation for…
Located in the colonial dining room of the luxurious boutique hotel Casa Carolina on calle 12, Eli’s restaurant is one of those surprising hidden…
A Deriva is a recently opened french-styled bistro restaurant just off Parque de los Novios on calle 19. Originally located in the small neighboring…
Tayrona National Park
One the most unspoiled natural parks in Colombia, Tayrona National Park lies an hours drive to the north east of Santa Marta and unfolds it’s treasures like a natural Vivaldi symphony. Dense lush jungle and palm tree lagoons lead to beach after beach of golden sands, nestled among rocky alcoves, overlooking transparent turquoise waters. Backed by the cheeky chorus of Capuchin monkeys. Another way to describe it might just be paradise.
Discover la Ciudad Perdida, the Lost City of Colombia and meet Wiwa and Kougi indigenous tribes people on a 4-5 day jungle trek of a lifetime.
It’s always hard to write about something that so many before you have written about. Especially when trying to do a synopsis. What story can you tell about Ciudad Perdida, the Lost City of Colombia that hasn’t already been told? But then that’s the great thing about the Lost City trek, you write your own story.
Unlike the clinical Machu Pichu, which over indulgent capitalism has now destroyed. Turning one the most important archeological locations in the world into an over-priced fairground attraction, where you are herded through turnstiles by the thousands daily. Ciudad Perdida still stands exactly as it did when it was built around 800 CE, (roughly 650 years earlier than Machu Pichu). There’s no cute Agatha Christie train ride to the bottom of the mountain, or Aguas Calientes at the end of your 45 minute walk. It’s a 4-5 day round trek in and out of proper, real, commando-style jungle. Following the path of the indigenous Wiwa and Kogi people, decendants of the Tairona, who have lived here since the 1st century CE.
Santa Marta Diving is famous for being one of the cheapest places to learn in the world. It has clear blue waters (when the rains are not too hard) and an array of great diving locations all around Parque Tayrona. The perfect place to practice your dive skills and get to know the local sea-life. It was here when I first arrived in Santa Marta 3 years ago that I was introduced to Cata and Sebastian who run the small but extremely professional Deep Coral Diving and with whom I gained my open water diving certificate, opening (no pun intended) a window to a completely new underwater world.