Introducing Santa Marta
Santa Marta's grace as a colonial city has faded under newer concrete buildings, but its proximity to the sea still makes it an attractive destination. For Colombians, this is one of the most popular tourist towns in the country, offering liberal amounts of sun, rum and long stretches of sandy beachfront property.
Among the city's attractions are an aquarium and the grand hacienda where Simón Bolívar died. But most travelers simply use Santa Marta as a jumping-off point for nearby attractions. El Rodadero, just to the south, is a fashionable beach resort. North of Santa Marta is the attractive fishing village of Taganga and, further northeast, the beautiful Parque Nacional Tayrona. Santa Marta is also the place to organize a trip to Ciudad Perdida, Tayrona's great pre-Hispanic city.
The climate is hot, but the sea breeze, especially in the evening, cools the city and makes it pleasant to wander about, or to sit over a beer or juice in any of the numerous open-air waterfront cafés.
Best places to stay in Santa Marta
Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled Colombia itinerary
Having weathered years of civil strife and daunting press, Colombia has only recently reappeared on the traveler's radar. Portions of the Amazon and the south remain dangerous, but large swaths of the interior and Caribbean coast are once again ripe for exploration, now that the main roads are generally secure.
Santa Marta destination guides
Colombian Cultural Adventure
Colonial towns, the coffee corner 'Eje Cafetero', the Cocora Valley, the Tairona Coastal Park and vibrant Cartagena
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