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.
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 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.
Consistently rated as one of the top Hostels in Santa Marta Calle 11 Hostel is located in el Rodadero, a nice beach front suburb just over the hill from the centre of Santa Marta. A beautiful converted mansion, to which the owners have brought their unique European style, favouring a minimal, clean design throughout, with pristine dormitories & private rooms. The hostel offers a sense of space and a relaxed vibe, nicely complimented with their preferred choice of chilled and funky electronic music.
Leaving daily from the Marina de Santa Marta, the Samoa boat trip is a great way to explore some of the stunning beaches in Tayrona Park.Next The boat heads out early in the morning and takes you to between 3 and 4 exquisite locations, some exclusively accessible by sea.
With a very professional captain, the boat is complete with all safety equipment. Soft drinks and water are available on board, and at the captain’s discretion you can also stock up on beers. Additionally a fresh fish lunch is available at a cost of $25,000 pesos.
If you want to discover some pristine quieter playas and get away from the hustle and bustle of some of the more populated Tayrona beaches then this is the boat trip for you. Tickets cost £150,000 COP per person (roughly £50 U.S) or if you have a big enough group you can book the entire boat for your own private tour!