The provincial capital of Santa Marta has rapidly developed into a traveler’s treasure on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The country’s oldest colonial city has white-sand beaches and pleasant warm weather. Nearby, Tayrona National Park attracts visitors throughout the year. The pervasive salsa and vallenato music keeps the town alive with the sounds of the Caribbean.
Spend several hours at Rodadero Sea Aquarium and Museum southwest of Santa Marta to see its majestic sharks and dolphins. Swim in the warm seawater at nearby Playa Blanca (White Beach) or work on your tan against a backdrop of coastal cliffs. Dine at local beachside restaurants and stay overnight in a cabin. Head to the Quinta of Saint Peter of Alexandria, a 17th-century house and garden, now a museum dedicated to military leader Simón Bolívar, who led many South American countries to independence.
Hike to Ciudad Perdida (Lost City), formally Teyuna Archaeological Park. The ancient Indian city was founded over 700 years earlier than Peru’s Machu Picchu. Plan for about three days each way for the 27-mile (44-kilometer) walk. Cross rivers, streams and waterfalls and pass small Indian communities as you cover the remote terrain. You may see jungle animals too: jaguars, tapirs or condors. Climb 1,200 stone steps to reach the entrance to the city where an indigenous tribe once lived.
See natural wonders in Tayrona National Park via a tour or taxi from Santa Marta. Rent gear in the city and then scuba dive or snorkel at the beach. Hike to Cabo San Juan and rent a tent or hammock in a cliff-top cabin overlooking the ocean.
Fly to Santa Marta from Bogotá. The airport, just south of the city, is easily reached by public bus. To the east of Santa Marta, visit the mountain range known as Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Natural Park. Discover remnants of the Tayrona culture and other indigenous tribes. Enjoy views of snow-capped mountains for a dramatic change of scenery from the Caribbean coast.
Beach, Café and Nature
On this day trip to Santa Marta, listen to commentary from your guide and visit the historical la Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, where Simón Bolivar died. Enjoy time at the beach as well as lunch and convenient roundtrip transportation to most central Cartagena hotels.
Enjoy a day of aquatic delight by combining a visit to the Rodadero Sea Aquarium with an afternoon of snorkeling and lounging on the gorgeous Playa Blanca. Learn about sharks, sea lions, and dolphins at the aquarium, and then go snorkeling in the warm Caribbean waters to see coral reefs.
Become immersed in Santa Marta's deep history on a half-day tour that covers the city's main landmarks. Travel through the historic center, the port, and the famed cathedral as your friendly and knowledgeable guide brings together modern culture and the legacy of history in a single narrative.
Discover the utter beauty of Tayrona National Park with a tour of its most paradisiacal beaches. An expert guide takes you on a leisurely hike through the park's tropical rainforests to the pristine beaches of Cañaveral and Arrecifes, where you can soak up incredible views on the sand.
Venture into Tayrona National Park and explore its flourishing beauty on this full-day tour. Discover gorgeous Neguanje Bay and take a scenic cruise to the idyllic Crystal Beach, where you can spend time relaxing on soft sands or swimming in the cool, clear water.
Watch the lively marine creatures at the Rodadero Sea Aquarium and enjoy an afternoon on the shores of Playa Blanca for a day of maritime delight. This tour takes you from the Rodadero dock and through Gaira Bay to the aquarium, where you can see marine species along with the seal and dolphin shows.