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Santa Marta

Practical information on Santa Marta

  • Encounters with locals
  • Beach / Seaside Resort
  • Port
  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Handicraft
  • Place or Historical Monument
3 / 5 - 3 reviews
How to get there
9 hours from Bucaramanga by bus
When to go
All year round
Minimum stay
One day

Reviews of Santa Marta

Lucie Aidart Seasoned Traveller
29 written opinions

Santa Marta is a colonial city and a port city on Colombia's Caribbean coast.

My suggestion:
Often Santa Marta is only a city you pass through on your way other tourist destinations, but it is worth spending a few days there discovering its particular atmosphere.
My review

During a stay in Colombia, Santa Marta is often the departure point for other destinations like Tayrona Park or the Lost City. However, Santa Marta itself also has much to offer tourists.

I really liked spending time in Santa Marta, strolling through its historic centre and discovering its churches and little shops and bakeries. I liked its typical Colombian and Caribbean atmosphere. I also admired its hectic pace and seeing everyday life unfold - on the beach, at the port or at the market. I was in awe watching the sunsets there. Certainly, there are few attractions to discover there, but it's a pretty little town where you can enjoy some time experiencing real Colombian life.

Nina Montagné Seasoned Traveller
137 written opinions

It's the third largest town on Colombia's Caribbean coast.

My suggestion:
Avoid Santa Marta during the Christmas holidays, when the crowds of tourists prevent you from appreciating the place.
My review

Santa Marta is one of themost touristy and charming towns on Colombia's Caribbean coast. Its beach is especially beautiful and lovely for lying in the sun with a cool beer, chatting to the locals.

It's an essential during a stay in Colombia, even if most opinions about this town differ. It must certainly have been more pleasant a few years ago, before the arrival of the tourist coaches, but I find it a very endearing and entrancing town, all the same.

If you like to party and you want to try and dance the salsa or cumbia, don't hesitate to visit the numerous bars in the centre of Santa Marta, where the party lasts until the end of the night.

Rose Nicolini Seasoned Traveller
23 written opinions

Santa Marta is a charming, laid back, coastal town from where you can organise nature/activity excursions to the Tayrona National Park or the Lost City. ​

My suggestion:
Once you've decided which agency to use, take a break in Santander Park and check out the colonial architecture in the vicinity.
My review

During your holiday in Colombia, you should head to Santa Marta if you're planning an excursion to the jungle or nearby beaches. There are several agencies that offer similar prices - according to locals, trade unions managed to stop a price war. So that you find a suitable agency, it's worth seeking advice from travellers returning from excursions.

I liked this town so much that I ended up staying on an extra day, so as to explore its streets and seafront. The town has preserved its colonial architecture, even though it's not as impressive as Cartagena. And I can't tell you how delicious the lemonades sold on the street stalls are...a refreshing blend of lime and crushed ice. Nothing better on a scorching hot day!

Tours and travel ideas Santa Marta