Santa Marta was founded in 1525, making it the second oldest city in the continent.Its founder, Rodrigo de Bastidas, had a different vision than the other conquistadors and saw in Santa Marta a place where he could leave a legacy and rest in peace. In 1525 he was betrayed by his lieutenant and a new governor was appointed for the administration of the city. In 1596 its development was boosted and the city became a staging ground for important expeditions to neighboring territories. Like Cartagena de Indias, Santa Marta was a target for piracy and thieves during the XVIth and XVII centuries and is well known for being the place where Simon Bolivar spent its last days.
Santa Marta Weather
Santa Marta has a temperature that exceeds 30°C on a daily basis, which makes it perfect for relaxing on the beach or in a swimming pool. This temperature is maintained throughout the year, so the clothes don’t vary much.
Hotels in Santa Marta
- Address: Vía Ciénaga km 14
- Services: Irotama is the most exclusive and traditional hotel in Santa Marta. It is a fabulous resort with multiple buildings, cabins, and bungalows that allow not only to have a very pleasant rest but an incomparable experience. Swimming pools, Jacuzzis, and a gigantic beach make family vacations much more pleasant. The variety of restaurants allows you to find places specializing in fish and seafood, international cuisine, a buffet of local food, an attractive Italian restaurant, and a curious aquarium to meet different marine species while you are having dinner. The hotel allows horse riding on the beach, water sports, and golf, both on a traditional green and a floating green in the sea. There is a wide variety of activities for children, as well as spaces for adults at night.
● Del Mar Hotel
- Address: Calle 8 # 2-78, El Rodadero
- Services: Guests of this hotel can enjoy a swimming pool and an open-air restaurant where they can enjoy a buffet breakfast. The hotel includes laundry service, wireless internet, and a housekeeper.
● Hotel Coral
- Address: Carrera 4 # 21D-31, Rodadero
- Services: Services: Coral Santa Marta Hotel is located in El Rodadero, a privileged location close to several restaurants, bars, shops, and supermarkets, having an attractive nightlife. The hotel has rooms equipped with air conditioning, cable TV, Wi-Fi, and a bathroom. Santa Marta’s airport is only 10 minutes away, which is another great advantage.
● Hotel Tayrona del Mar
- Address: Carrera 3 # 5 - 98, El Rodadero
- Services: Tayrona de Mar is a hotel focused on business. It has 52 rooms with air conditioning, a private bathroom, cable TV, a work desk, and a view of Santa Marta or the Caribbean Sea. The hotel has a swimming pool for children and another for adults, as well as a restaurant, focused on offering Caribbean dishes and an attractive bar. Additionally, the hotel offers laundry services, room service, and airport transfers.
● Hostal Techos Azules
- Address: Dunkarinka Cabaña 1-100
- Services: This hostel is located in the Bay of Taganga, one of the most visited sites in Santa Marta. This is an ideal place for those traveling as a couple because the hostel offers services of romantic decorations, tours, transfers, and massages. Among the services of the hostel are rooms with air conditioning, ceiling fan, wifi, television, and private bathroom, plus the possibility that pets can also stay. For backpackers, there is the option to rent a shared bedroom. The beach is across the street, which makes it a very comfortable option.
Restaurants & Bars in Santa Marta
● Indian Maharaja
- Address: Carrera 4 # 14-34 Historic Center
- Services: This attractive restaurant is focused on offering Indian and Asian food in general at very good prices, combining local products with sauces and oriental preparations. This place offers very healthy food and an extensive menu of options for vegans and people who want to suppress gluten.
● Senses Restaurant - Garden - Bar
- Address: Calle 20 # 3-53
- Services: This is a great option to consider at dinner time. The dishes are focused on pasta and seafood, offering a very complete Mediterranean diet. There are also some varieties of loins and attractive and innovative preparations with cheese. The place is perfect for dinner and for staying the rest of the night, with a glass of wine and enjoying the spectacular view over the garden that surrounds this restaurant.
● Tsuki Sushi Bar
- Address: Carrera 7 # 116A-94
- Services: A good Sushi site was needed in Santa Marta. It is very easy to find places with fried fish very well prepared but this was a need. The place is pleasant and the options for eating are several, beyond the traditional Japanese rolls. The prices are good and the service is timely, which is a good idea for a light lunch or dinner before going to an event.
The most tourist places in Santa Marta
● Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino: This tourist attraction in Santa Marta is a 17th-century hacienda where Simon Bolivar died on December 17, 1830. In this place, dedicated to the production of rum, honey, and panela, the liberator lived the last part of his life. Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino consists of an altar to the Fatherland, a museum of contemporary art, and a botanical garden.
● Tayrona Park: This heavenly place is the point where the Sierra Nevada sinks in the Caribbean Sea. White sand, crystal clear waters, gigantic waves, and even a nudist beach, make this natural park, that frequently attracts the attention of countless visitors from all over the world. However, the great attraction of Tayrona Park is the journey to Lost City, ancient ruins built in the middle of 700 AD by the Tayronas Indians.
● The Aquarium: This maritime museum is located in the Inca Inca cove on Rodadero beach, one of the most visited places in Santa Marta. In this place, inaugurated in 1965, you can find 13 swimming pools that have a direct connection to the sea, 15 glass aquariums in which you can see more than 800 animals including sharks, sea turtles, dolphins, sea lions, crustaceans, fish, and seabirds, the vast majority being native. In this museum, you can also see dissected animals and a sample of nautical equipment and elements of the Tayrona culture.
Important dates in Santa Marta
● July 29 - Santa Marta’s Parties: This day is dedicated to honor and venerate Santa Marta, patron saint of the city.
● July 16 - Celebration of the Virgin of Carmen: This holiday takes place to a greater extent in Taganga, as fishermen venerate the Virgin by decorating their boats.
● End of July - Fiestas del Mar: To commemorate the anniversary of the city, different nautical competitions and tests of marine bicycles, regattas, ramp jumping, skiing, and swimming are carried out. To this are added parades, concerts, and the National Reign of the Sea.
● Early January - Cayman Festival: In Cienaga there is a celebration that refers to a popular legend where a woman was kidnapped by the mythical alligator man on the eve of her birthday.
How to reach Santa Marta?
Santa Marta by bus: You can travel from Bucaramanga to Santa Marta by bus on a trip that takes 10 hours approximately.
How to move around Santa Marta?
● Public bus: The Integrated Public Transport System SITP has several buses that travel throughout the city, covering Bogota in its entirety. Transmilenio covers the main roads of Colombia, going at a high speed thanks to having its own trunk. It is necessary to take a SITP bus to get to Transmilenio’s stations. For both services the same card works. The card must be recharged at any Transmilenio station and allows free transfer from one bus to another.
● Taxi: The supply of taxis is very wide because of the high demand for their service. The fares are charged according to a taximeter that works while the ride is in progress.
Gastronomy in Santa Marta
● Coconut Rice with coconut: Rice that has small pieces of the white part of the coconut in its preparation and can be accompanied by raisins, resulting in a bittersweet flavor to the preparation. It is usually accompanied by delicious fried fish, very common on the coast.
● Guineo Pachangao: Fruit of the green banana family that is pureed and sautéed with hogao made from tomato and white onion, served accompanied by coastal cheese to obtain an exquisite flavor, this dish can be found in various restaurants.
● Carimañolas: A dish made from cassava that has ground meat, coastal cheese, and shredded or shredded chicken inside, this mixture is fried in abundant oil.
Things to buy in Santa Marta
● Mochilas: In Santa Marta, you can find a wide variety of work done by the Wayuu. Mochilas are the most outstanding and the ones that are given away most frequently.
● Cocadas: A very appetizing sweet, easy to carry, and that anyone who brings them as a gift will love.
● Vueltiao hat: This hat is something very typical of the Atlantic Coast, so keep this in mind when thinking of any gift or souvenir from Santa Marta
Santa Marta Facts
Santa Marta is one of the destinations most desired by tourists for its pleasant climate and beautiful beaches. Santa Marta is historically known for being the first city where the Spanish entered South America at the time of discovery. The capital of Magdalena not only stands out for the joy of its people but for being the cradle of several of Colombia's most famous musicians and athletes such as Carlos Vives or Pibe Valderrama. The pearl of America, as Santa Marta is known, stands out in large part because it is home to around 30 thousand indigenous people, mainly from the Kogi, Arhuaco, Kankuamo, and Wiwa ethnic groups, many of the inhabitants of the Sierra Nevada, a spectacle that combines snow and beach in the same space.
Bus operators of the route Cartagena to Santa Marta
● Expreso Brasilia
● Berlinas del Fonce