Historic Center

Take a trip back in time as you explore the center of Colombia’s oldest surviving city, complete with colonial buildings and collections of indigenous gold and pottery.

Santa Marta’s Historic Center offers hostels, cafés, restaurants and old churches near the beach. The area attracts families and backpackers who want to learn about the city’s rich past before enjoying the ocean. Look for many buildings of Spanish Colonial design in this area.

Take a leisurely stroll through the city center. Admire the old white buildings scattered around the area. Explore the collection of gold and pottery from the Tayrona civilization at the Casa de la Aduana (Customs House). 

Take photos of the Santa Marta Cathedral on the San Francisco Plaza. Its white façade is typical of Spanish Colonial architecture. The church claims to be the oldest in the country. This is the spot where Simón Bolívar was buried in 1830. He was a military leader who made great strides in the battle for independence from colonial powers.

Santa Marta has very hot afternoons. Take a break on a bench in the Historic Center’s main square as you watch the city pass you by. Share a picnic with your family on the grass.

Browse the shops around the Historic Center. Peruse the flea market for all types of products from sunglasses and watches to fresh food and Colombian soccer jerseys. 

Dine at one of the many restaurants in the center and along the beach. Seafood is the specialty in this area. Relish local delicacies, such as arroz con coco (coconut rice) and lobster. Vendors sell cups of ceviche, raw fish seasoned with lemon and coriander. 

Enjoy a cool beer or a glass of wine on the rooftop of a bar in the central square. Listen to music ranging from reggae or salsa to U.S. pop.

To reach the Historic Center, take a small bus from the main bus terminal in Santa Marta. You will journey through the sprawling suburbs for around 45 minutes. Then relax and imagine what life was like in colonial days in the center of old Santa Marta.

Accommodation in Historic Center

Before planning the rest of your vacation in Historic Center, make a booking for one of the 35 Historic Center lodgings found on Expedia's hotel website.

Why not commence your quest for the ultimate Historic Center base by checking out the great amenities of the high-rating Hotel Boutique Don Pepe, located at Calle 16 No 1c - 92, and the Casa Verde Hotel, at Calle 18 No. 4-70 - Centro Historico. The Casa de Isabella, a Kali Hotel, at Carrera 2da No. 19-20 El Centro, and the La Casa del Farol Hotel Boutique by Xarm Hotels, at Calle 18, 3-115 are two cheaper offerings that you may find worth checking out if you're traveling on a tight budget.


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