Important: This destination may have COVID-19 travel restrictions in place, including specific restrictions for lodging. Check any national, local, and health advisories for this destination before you book.

Santa MartaColombia

Caribbean fishing town Santa Marta has exploded into a traveler’s nirvana with white-sand beaches, a lost city and a forested national park.

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.

Where to stay in Santa Marta

Historic Center which includes heritage elements, a city and street scenes

Historic Center

4/5Very Good!(33 area reviews)

The beaches and abundant dining options are top of the list for many visitors to Historic Center. A stop by Parque de Los Novios or Santa Marta Beach might round out your trip.

Historic Center

Top Hotels in Santa Marta

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Irotama Resort
Irotama Resort
4 out of 5
Km 14 Via Cienaga, Santa Marta, Magdalena
The price is CA $173 per night

Located in Santa Marta, this beachfront resort is connected to the convention centre, just steps away from Magdalena River and Bello Horizonte Beach. Malpelo ...

4.2/5Excellent! (400 reviews)

"Clean....!!!!!! Well maintained.....superior service from staff.....wonderful food.....pools just sparkle...beach clean....easy access to downtown and excursions....uff...marvelous.."…"

Reviewed on Feb. 27, 2020

Irotama Resort
GHL Relax Hotel Costa Azul
GHL Relax Hotel Costa Azul
3.5 out of 5
Zona Franca Pozos Colorados km 19, via Cienaga, Santa Marta, Magdalena
The price is CA $62 per night

Nestled on the beach, this Santa Marta hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Magdalena River and Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary. Bello Horizonte Beach and Zazue ...

4.1/5Very Good! (297 reviews)

"I love the service, the breakfast, the rooms, and the pools. The hotel is perfect for a relaxing vacations. It would be nice to have lunch buffet included too."…"

Reviewed on Mar. 1, 2020

GHL Relax Hotel Costa Azul
Santa Marta Marriott Resort Playa Dormida
Santa Marta Marriott Resort Playa Dormida
4.5 out of 5
Carrera 3 No 142-60, Bello Horizonte, Santa Marta, Magdalena
The price is CA $136 per night

Situated on the beach, this luxury hotel is steps away from Magdalena River and Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary. Bello Horizonte Beach and Zazue are also within ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (118 reviews)
Best hotel in Santa Marta

"Amazing facilities and super friendly and helpfull staff, looking forward to be back soon"…"

Reviewed on Mar. 10, 2020

Santa Marta Marriott Resort Playa Dormida

Popular places to visit in Santa Marta

Tayrona National Natural Park
Image for Tayrona National Natural Park

Tayrona National Natural Park

5/5(22 reviews)

One of the wonders of Colombia, this park is home to varied ecosystems of mountains, forests, cliffs and beaches.

Rodadero Beach
Image for Rodadero Beach

Rodadero Beach

4/5(19 reviews)

This dynamic beach is one of the most visited spots in the area. Enjoy a variety of activities: sunbathe, swim, sail, dive and snorkel.

Blanca Beach
Image for Blanca Beach

Blanca Beach

4/5(10 reviews)

Discover a hidden oasis with crystal-clear water and clean, white sand nestled in the valley of mountains between two charming Caribbean towns.

Taganga Beach
Image for Taganga Beach

Taganga Beach

4/5(10 reviews)

Over just a few decades, this charming fishing village has grown into a traveler’s oasis with restaurants, nightclubs and a picturesque beach.

Parque de Los Novios
Image for Parque de Los Novios

Parque de Los Novios

4/5(10 reviews)

Meet friends and share a few drinks at this plaza in the center of Santa Marta, where you’ll find restaurants, bars and vendors selling snacks.

Santa Marta Cathedral
Image for Santa Marta Cathedral

Santa Marta Cathedral

4/5(16 reviews)

Walk around the cathedral that holds the remains of the city’s founder and claims to be the oldest church in the country. 

Top things to do in Santa Marta

Tayrona National Park & Neguanje Bay Tour with Crystal Beach
Image for Tayrona National Park & Neguanje Bay Tour with Crystal Beach

Tayrona National Park & Neguanje Bay Tour with Crystal Beach

CA $51
Per adult
Playa Blanca & Aquarium Tour
Image for Playa Blanca & Aquarium Tour

Playa Blanca & Aquarium Tour

CA $47
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend
Tayrona National Park Beach Tour with Cañaveral & Arrecifes
Image for Tayrona National Park Beach Tour with Cañaveral & Arrecifes

Tayrona National Park Beach Tour with Cañaveral & Arrecifes

CA $51
Per adult
Guided Santa Marta City Tour
Image for Guided Santa Marta City Tour

Guided Santa Marta City Tour

CA $47
Per adult
Santa Marta: Aquarium and White Beach Tour
Image for Santa Marta: Aquarium and White Beach Tour

Santa Marta: Aquarium and White Beach Tour

CA $47
Per adult
Private full day in Cabo San Juan del Guia (Tayrona National Park)
Image for Private full day in Cabo San Juan del Guia (Tayrona National Park)

Private full day in Cabo San Juan del Guia (Tayrona National Park)

CA $118
Per adult

Reviews of Santa Marta

4

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
14
5 - Excellent 35.8974358974359%
4 - Good
15
4 - Good 38.46153846153846%
3 - Okay
6
3 - Okay 15.384615384615385%
2 - Disappointing
4
2 - Disappointing 10.256410256410257%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Feb 10, 2020

Santa Marta is a great 3 day vacation!

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Feb 10, 2020

Santa Marta is a great place to visit. We chose the wrong hotel as they poisoned us and ended up in hospital

5/5 - Excellent

Stacie

Jan 25, 2020

The staff were also what made my stay so wonderful. When I got sick with gastritis, they took care of my medicine and even made a special soup. Also, the hotel restaurant is one of the best I visited in Colombia.

2/5 - Disappointing

Verified traveller

Dec 16, 2019

Sta Mta is a fisherman's village with little in terms of Costeña culture and things to do and see. Skip SM and go straight to Minca and Tayrona (having registered online beforehand for entrance to the latter's eco-park).

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Nov 18, 2019

Santa Marta is a great base to explore the surrounding area.

5/5 - Excellent

Krafam

Jul 27, 2019

Great diving and charming historical centre. Good food. La Palletaria has the most wonderful ice cream.

Cities near Santa Marta

Other places like Santa Marta