Santa Marta travel guide

Santa Marta Tourism | Santa Marta Guide

You're Going to Love Santa Marta

The northern city of Santa Marta is known for its pristine beaches, diverse ecosystem, and beautifully preserved nature parks. Thousands visit Colombia every year to enjoy the many outdoor activities and sports associated with Santa Marta's landscape.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Santa Marta

1. Tayrona National Natural Park

Explore some of the most beautiful beaches, coves, lagoons, and rainforests in this large area of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

2. Minca

Visit this charming town nestled in the mountains that overlook Santa Marta and kick back at one of the many restaurants and bars.

3. Acuario Mundo Marino

Take your time to understand Colombia's rich aquatic diversity through this aquarium's many interactive exhibits and shows.

4. Scuba Diving

Get away from the touristy Rodadero Beach to dive among some of Colombia's best coral reefs in Taganga.

5. Museo Bolivariano de Arte Contemporáneo

Browse the work of modern Latin American artists at this hacienda-turned-contemporary art museum.

1. Tayrona National Natural Park

Explore some of the most beautiful beaches, coves, lagoons, and rainforests in this large area of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

2. Minca

Visit this charming town nestled in the mountains that overlook Santa Marta and kick back at one of the many restaurants and bars.

3. Acuario Mundo Marino

Take your time to understand Colombia's rich aquatic diversity through this aquarium's many interactive exhibits and shows.

4. Scuba Diving

Get away from the touristy Rodadero Beach to dive among some of Colombia's best coral reefs in Taganga.

5. Museo Bolivariano de Arte Contemporáneo

Browse the work of modern Latin American artists at this hacienda-turned-contemporary art museum.

What to do in Santa Marta

1. Biodiversity Redefined

The renowned Tayrona Park is set in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, 40 minutes from the city of Santa Marta. Book a tour with a local guide to explore the spectacular scenery of the expansive, lush rain forest, which boasts a diverse array of wildlife including exotic monkeys, bats, and over 300 species of birds. Plunge your feet into the pristine white sands, and after that, dive into the natural, clear water of the Caribbean Sea. Satisfy your hunger pangs with a tasty and filling lunch at the Café Bonsai.

2. Playa Blanca: Bask in The Beauty of the Caribbean Sea

Situated in the valley between the Santa Marta and El Rodardo mountains, Playa Blanca offers visitors unparalleled tranquillity and beauty. Take a 15-minute boat trip from the sandy beaches lined with palm trees in Rodadero to get to Playa Blanca. Capture breathtaking photos of the rocky cliffs and cacti surrounding the beach and, on arrival, rent snorkeling gear and dive into the world of colorful Caribbean fish. Relax to the sound of the of the waves underneath the swaying coconut trees while sipping on tasty tropical fruit drinks available from the local vendors.

3. Institución Educativa Distrital Normal Superior San Pedro Alejandrino: An Educational Center

The lush green grounds of Institución Educativa Distrital Normal Superior San Pedro Alejandrino is one of Santa Marta's landmark and warrants a trip. It's adjacent to the District Educational Institution, IE, and Quinta de San Pedro. Make sure to stop by the Quinta de San Pedro, which is where the renowned military leader Simón Bolívar died.

4. Parque de Los Novios: The Lover's Park

This vast park is a favorite spot for couples, and there's a good reason for this: the square's name translates as the Park of Lovers. Take a lazy walk down the pedestrianized plaza in the warm afternoon while looking at the magnificent statue encircled by small fountains protruding from the square's red-brick surface. After that, dance to the inviting Finish off your exploration by sipping on a refreshing drink at the Crabs while admiring the setting sun in the lively ambiance.

5. El Rodadero Aquatic Park: Explore the World of Sea Animals

Situated at the Inca Cove Inca in front of El Rodadero beach, this picturesque aquatic park boasts a diverse variety of sea species. Take a boat and visit the 15 glass aquariums and 13 swimming pools inside the aquatic park, where you can mingle with the dolphins and sea lions. Make your way to one of the swimming pools and refresh yourself by diving deep into the cool, crisp water. Also worth touring is the museum section enclosed inside the aquarium where you can learn about the pre-Columbian culture of the Taironas and their connection to the Caribbean Sea.

1. Biodiversity Redefined

The renowned Tayrona Park is set in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, 40 minutes from the city of Santa Marta. Book a tour with a local guide to explore the spectacular scenery of the expansive, lush rain forest, which boasts a diverse array of wildlife including exotic monkeys, bats, and over 300 species of birds. Plunge your feet into the pristine white sands, and after that, dive into the natural, clear water of the Caribbean Sea. Satisfy your hunger pangs with a tasty and filling lunch at the Café Bonsai.

2. Playa Blanca: Bask in The Beauty of the Caribbean Sea

Situated in the valley between the Santa Marta and El Rodardo mountains, Playa Blanca offers visitors unparalleled tranquillity and beauty. Take a 15-minute boat trip from the sandy beaches lined with palm trees in Rodadero to get to Playa Blanca. Capture breathtaking photos of the rocky cliffs and cacti surrounding the beach and, on arrival, rent snorkeling gear and dive into the world of colorful Caribbean fish. Relax to the sound of the of the waves underneath the swaying coconut trees while sipping on tasty tropical fruit drinks available from the local vendors.

3. Institución Educativa Distrital Normal Superior San Pedro Alejandrino: An Educational Center

The lush green grounds of Institución Educativa Distrital Normal Superior San Pedro Alejandrino is one of Santa Marta's landmark and warrants a trip. It's adjacent to the District Educational Institution, IE, and Quinta de San Pedro. Make sure to stop by the Quinta de San Pedro, which is where the renowned military leader Simón Bolívar died.

4. Parque de Los Novios: The Lover's Park

This vast park is a favorite spot for couples, and there's a good reason for this: the square's name translates as the Park of Lovers. Take a lazy walk down the pedestrianized plaza in the warm afternoon while looking at the magnificent statue encircled by small fountains protruding from the square's red-brick surface. After that, dance to the inviting Finish off your exploration by sipping on a refreshing drink at the Crabs while admiring the setting sun in the lively ambiance.

5. El Rodadero Aquatic Park: Explore the World of Sea Animals

Situated at the Inca Cove Inca in front of El Rodadero beach, this picturesque aquatic park boasts a diverse variety of sea species. Take a boat and visit the 15 glass aquariums and 13 swimming pools inside the aquatic park, where you can mingle with the dolphins and sea lions. Make your way to one of the swimming pools and refresh yourself by diving deep into the cool, crisp water. Also worth touring is the museum section enclosed inside the aquarium where you can learn about the pre-Columbian culture of the Taironas and their connection to the Caribbean Sea.

1. Biodiversity Redefined

The renowned Tayrona Park is set in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, 40 minutes from the city of Santa Marta. Book a tour with a local guide to explore the spectacular scenery of the expansive, lush rain forest, which boasts a diverse array of wildlife including exotic monkeys, bats, and over 300 species of birds. Plunge your feet into the pristine white sands, and after that, dive into the natural, clear water of the Caribbean Sea. Satisfy your hunger pangs with a tasty and filling lunch at the Café Bonsai.

2. Playa Blanca: Bask in The Beauty of the Caribbean Sea

Situated in the valley between the Santa Marta and El Rodardo mountains, Playa Blanca offers visitors unparalleled tranquillity and beauty. Take a 15-minute boat trip from the sandy beaches lined with palm trees in Rodadero to get to Playa Blanca. Capture breathtaking photos of the rocky cliffs and cacti surrounding the beach and, on arrival, rent snorkeling gear and dive into the world of colorful Caribbean fish. Relax to the sound of the of the waves underneath the swaying coconut trees while sipping on tasty tropical fruit drinks available from the local vendors.

3. Institución Educativa Distrital Normal Superior San Pedro Alejandrino: An Educational Center

The lush green grounds of Institución Educativa Distrital Normal Superior San Pedro Alejandrino is one of Santa Marta's landmark and warrants a trip. It's adjacent to the District Educational Institution, IE, and Quinta de San Pedro. Make sure to stop by the Quinta de San Pedro, which is where the renowned military leader Simón Bolívar died.

4. Parque de Los Novios: The Lover's Park

This vast park is a favorite spot for couples, and there's a good reason for this: the square's name translates as the Park of Lovers. Take a lazy walk down the pedestrianized plaza in the warm afternoon while looking at the magnificent statue encircled by small fountains protruding from the square's red-brick surface. After that, dance to the inviting Finish off your exploration by sipping on a refreshing drink at the Crabs while admiring the setting sun in the lively ambiance.

5. El Rodadero Aquatic Park: Explore the World of Sea Animals

Situated at the Inca Cove Inca in front of El Rodadero beach, this picturesque aquatic park boasts a diverse variety of sea species. Take a boat and visit the 15 glass aquariums and 13 swimming pools inside the aquatic park, where you can mingle with the dolphins and sea lions. Make your way to one of the swimming pools and refresh yourself by diving deep into the cool, crisp water. Also worth touring is the museum section enclosed inside the aquarium where you can learn about the pre-Columbian culture of the Taironas and their connection to the Caribbean Sea.

Where to Eat in Santa Marta

Asadero Camarita, near Minca, is a great restaurant serving BBQ pork for around COL$12,000-14,000, including side dishes.

When to visit Santa Marta

Santa Marta in August
Estimated hotel price
S$ 120
1 night at 3-star hotel
Santa Marta in August
Estimated hotel price
S$ 120
1 night at 3-star hotel

The best times to visit are from January to March or June to August due to the clear skies and dry weather.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Santa Marta

Plane

The Simón Bolívar International Airport (CCS) is located 10 miles outside of the city. Most visitors take a taxi from the airport to their hotel or accommodation.

Car

Motorway 90 will take you from Barranquilla to Santa Marta in just over two hours.

Bus

The Santa Marta Bus Terminal is a 30-minute drive outside of the city center. Cochetur has services between Santa Marta and cities like Cartagena and Barranquilla; the trip lasts between 3-5 hours. One-way tickets cost COL$50,000.

Plane

The Simón Bolívar International Airport (CCS) is located 10 miles outside of the city. Most visitors take a taxi from the airport to their hotel or accommodation.

Car

Motorway 90 will take you from Barranquilla to Santa Marta in just over two hours.

Bus

The Santa Marta Bus Terminal is a 30-minute drive outside of the city center. Cochetur has services between Santa Marta and cities like Cartagena and Barranquilla; the trip lasts between 3-5 hours. One-way tickets cost COL$50,000.

Airlines serving Santa Marta

Lufthansa
Good (4,677 reviews)
KLM
Good (839 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (2,174 reviews)
Delta
Good (4,446 reviews)
Iberia
Good (1,598 reviews)
United Airlines
Good (4,939 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (6,231 reviews)
Spirit Airlines
Good (4,574 reviews)
Avianca
Good (1,334 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (917 reviews)
Aeromexico
Good (771 reviews)
Copa Airlines
Good (741 reviews)
GOL
Good (701 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (5,627 reviews)
JetSMART
Good (108 reviews)
Wingo
Good (77 reviews)
CLIC
Excellent (6 reviews)
SATENA
Excellent (5 reviews)
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Where to stay in Santa Marta

Rodadero - this area has some of the most popular beaches in the city as well as many hotels, bars, and restaurants.

Popular Neighborhoods in Santa Marta

Tayrona - visit this area to venture into the National Park's protected jungles and beaches.

El Dorado - this region is popular for bird watching and is one of the most important bird reserves in the world.

Tayrona - visit this area to venture into the National Park's protected jungles and beaches.
El Dorado - this region is popular for bird watching and is one of the most important bird reserves in the world.

Where to stay in popular areas of Santa Marta

Most booked hotels in Santa Marta

Casa Tara
2 stars
Excellent (9.2, Excellent reviews)
S$ 30+
Mercure Santa Marta Emile
4 stars
Excellent (8.8, Excellent reviews)
S$ 94+
Hotel Be La Sierra
3 stars
Excellent (8.5, Excellent reviews)
S$ 61+
Hilton Garden Inn Santa Marta
3 stars
Excellent (8.5, Excellent reviews)
S$ 102+
Santorini Hotel and Resort
4 stars
Excellent (8, Excellent reviews)
S$ 65+
Hotel Bahia Taganga
3 stars
Excellent (8, Excellent reviews)
S$ 66+

How to Get Around Santa Marta

Public Transportation

Tickets cost between COL$3-5,000 for your journey depending on the end destination, and can be paid to the driver upon entering the bus.

Taxi

Taxis in Colombia do not run by meter, but instead by time spent in the car. Rides can cost between COL$3,500 to COL$20,000, depending on your negotiating skills.

Car

Rental car prices start at COL$45,000 per day and can be picked up at any of the main transportation centers.

Public Transportation

Tickets cost between COL$3-5,000 for your journey depending on the end destination, and can be paid to the driver upon entering the bus.

Taxi

Taxis in Colombia do not run by meter, but instead by time spent in the car. Rides can cost between COL$3,500 to COL$20,000, depending on your negotiating skills.

Car

Rental car prices start at COL$45,000 per day and can be picked up at any of the main transportation centers.

Car hire agencies in Santa Marta

Avis

Avis
Find car hire in Santa Marta

The Cost of Living in Santa Marta

Shopping Streets

Many visitors enjoy buying souvenirs from individual vendors along Rodadero Beach; be prepared to bargain. The Ocean Mall is the biggest mall with bigger name brands and international stores.

Groceries and Other

The two main food stores are Éxito Santa Marta Centro and Supermercado Rapimercar. A dozen eggs costs COL$3,500.

Cheap meal
S$ 3.45
A pair of jeans
S$ 91.98
Single public transport ticket
S$ 0.69
Cappuccino
S$ 2.00