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Santa Marta Holidays

Santa Marta holidays

Santa Marta is located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast and is South America’s oldest surviving city. Despite its antiquity, it only has a modest colonial quarter and lacks the charm and beauty of Cartagena further along the coast. It mainly serves as a convenient gateway for the two nearby showpieces - the stunning Tayrona National Park and the challenging and impressive Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) trek.

Rodrigo de Bastidas planted a Spanish flag here in 1525. He deliberately chose a site at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, close to the gold treasures of the indigenous Tayronas.  The plundering soon began. By the end of the 16th century the Tayronas had been completely wiped out and the majority of their gold objects were in the Crown’s coffers.  Descendants of the Tayrona Indians still inhabit the rugged mountains of the Sierra Nevada and cling to their ancient ways. There are four unique, separate but related tribes; the Arhuaco (or Ika), Wiwa, Kogi, and Kankuamo.

Santa Marta

Holidays In Santa Marta

Santa Marta was engaged in a war with the Tayronas and was regularly ransacked by pirates. It did not have many glorious moments in its colonial history and was soon over-shadowed by its younger, more progressive neighbour, Cartagena. An important date in Santa Marta’s history is 17 December 1830, when the great liberator Simón Bolívar died here after bringing independence to six Latin American countries.

Parque de los Novios serves as an informal gathering place for both young and old. It has great, atmospheric restaurants to suit all budgets. A marina has also been added in recent years. Santa Marta and nearby El Rodadero are both popular with Colombian holidaymakers. Taganga is an attractive horseshoe-shaped bay 3 miles northeast of Santa Marta. It is popular with backpackers and divers, and has developed a reputation as a party resort. Nearby, 9 miles southeast of Santa Marta, perched high in the Sierra Nevada, is a peaceful mountain village called Minca. It is a good place to escape the heat and also serves as a haven for bird-watching, offering over 300 species. The town of Palomino has an attractive beach where Wayuu fishermen use traditional nets.

The climate is hot, the heat drier than Cartagena, although the evening sea breeze cools the city. Santa Marta is just a short flight from Bogotá. From Santa Marta you can continue to Cartagena, which is approximately 4 hours by road. There are frequent flights from Cartagena back to Bogotá. 

For additional highlights of Santa Marta, click here.

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