Sights

There's little to see in Santa Marta itself, though it's worth having a stroll along the seaside boulevard Av Rodrigo de Bastidas (Carrera 1C) and Av Campo Serrano (Carrera 5), the main commercial street. The beach resort of El Rodadero, 5km south of the center, is popular with Colombian holidaymakers.

Activities

Head to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Parque Nacional Natural (PNN) Tayrona for the best hiking, including the excellent Ciudad Perdida trek. Most dive schools are in nearby Taganga, but there are also some operators in Santa Marta as well.

Sleeping

Santa Marta's tourism industry is booming these days and as such there's a wide range of hotels and hostels, many of which are some of the best on the coast. There are lots of options in the center of town, but also plentiful choice outside the center also worth considering.

Eating

Santa Marta has some of the best food on the coast. An influx of Latin and North American restaurateurs has simplified the menus, focusing on ambience, classic cooking and stylish presentation. Parque de los Novios is the heart of Santa Marta's eating scene.

Drinking & Nightlife

There's lots going on in Santa Marta after dark, with a young population and a number of lively bars and clubs scattered throughout the center. Parque de los Novios serves as an informal gathering place where young and old can meet before dancing until dawn.

Sports

El Unión Magdalena is Santa Marta's local soccer team. Games are played at Estadio Eduardo Santos, less than 2km from Centro. Games run throughout the year. Buy tickets at the stadium. A taxi there costs COP$10,000.

Guided Tours

Santa Marta's tour market revolves around Ciudad Perdida treks, but the same agencies who offer these can also arrange various other hiking trips, plus bird-watching, mountain biking and visits to Minca and PNN Tayrona. Speak (in Spanish) with José 'Chelo' Gallego for tailor-made trips to the mountains. He's an expert with many years' experience. Other highly recommended agencies for local tours include Aventure Colombia and Expotur.