Santa Marta Cathedral

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

The Santa Marta Cathedral stakes its claim as the oldest church in Colombia and houses the remains of the city’s founder. The church has been renovated many times over the centuries and comprises several architectural styles. The church sits in the city’s main plaza, surrounded by restaurants, bars and other historical buildings. Make this church your reference point since it stands out as a stark contrast against the small buildings around the city.

Admire the white façade of colonial design. Take photos of the immaculate church against the bright blue sky. Marvel at the large tower with a spire. The cathedral has many windows and a large wooden portal as its main entrance.

See the ashes of the founder of Santa Marta, Rodrigo de Bastidas, on the left as you walk into the cathedral. The Spanish conquistador died in the early 16th century after mapping a large portion of the continent’s northern coast. The cathedral is also the initial burial site for Simón Bolívar, the military leader who led several South American countries to independence.

Learn about the history of Santa Marta through the various plaques and commemorations inside the church while you relish the refreshing shelter from the midday heat. Gaze up at the elaborate chandeliers hanging from the arched ceiling. The cathedral is full of arches, domes, columns and an elaborate altar in the center.

The cathedral was built in 1765 and took a further 30 years to complete due to constant attacks by English, Dutch and French pirates. They ransacked and burned the town on more than 20 occasions.

The Santa Marta Cathedral is located in the Historic Center of Santa Marta. It is three blocks east from the main beach and the International Marina. Take a 45-minute bus journey from the city’s main bus terminal to the center of Santa Marta. You can also take an 11.2-mile (18-kilometer) taxi journey from the Simón Bolívar Airport.

Top Hotels Close to Santa Marta Cathedral

AC Hotel by Marriott Santa Marta
AC Hotel by Marriott Santa Marta
3.5 out of 5
CALLE 23 NO. 1C - 79, Santa Marta, 470004
The price is $74 per night from Feb 21 to Feb 22
$74
per night
Feb 21 - Feb 22
Stay at this 3.5-star beach hotel in Santa Marta. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and breakfast. Our guests praise the pool and the bar in our reviews. Popular ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (225 reviews)
"Perfect"

Reviewed on Jan 24, 2023

AC Hotel by Marriott Santa Marta
Hilton Garden Inn Santa Marta
Hilton Garden Inn Santa Marta
3.5 out of 5
Carrera 1C No. 24-04, Santa Marta
The price is $76 per night from Feb 22 to Feb 23
$76
per night
Feb 22 - Feb 23
Stay at this 3.5-star business-friendly hotel in Santa Marta. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and 2 bars/lounges. Our guests praise the breakfast and the pool ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (480 reviews)
"Hotel was perfect. I can’t complain, great location close to all the amenities such as restaurants, beach and activities. Reception staff spoke English which is helpful as my Spanish is very basic. I had a fantastic time"

Reviewed on Jan 11, 2023

Hilton Garden Inn Santa Marta
Hotel Catedral Plaza
Hotel Catedral Plaza
3 out of 5
Calle 16 N 5-17, Santa Marta, 36355
The price is $80 per night from Feb 1 to Feb 2
$80
per night
Feb 1 - Feb 2
Stay at this 3-star business-friendly hotel in Santa Marta. Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, and free parking. Our guests praise the pool and the helpful staff ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (134 reviews)
"The service is execellent"

Reviewed on Dec 20, 2022

Hotel Catedral Plaza
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near Santa Marta Cathedral

Ayenda 1614 Playa y Mar
Ayenda 1614 Playa y Mar
2.5 out of 5
Carrera 2 # 18-17, Santa Marta
Ayenda 1614 Playa y Mar
AC Hotel by Marriott Santa Marta
AC Hotel by Marriott Santa Marta
3.5 out of 5
CALLE 23 NO. 1C - 79, Santa Marta, 470004
AC Hotel by Marriott Santa Marta
Hilton Garden Inn Santa Marta
Hilton Garden Inn Santa Marta
3.5 out of 5
Carrera 1C No. 24-04, Santa Marta
Hilton Garden Inn Santa Marta
Hotel Catedral Plaza
Hotel Catedral Plaza
3 out of 5
Calle 16 N 5-17, Santa Marta, 36355
Hotel Catedral Plaza
Hotel Boutique Casa Carolina
Hotel Boutique Casa Carolina
4 out of 5
Calle 12 # 3-40, Centro Histórico, Santa Marta, Magdalena, 470004
Hotel Boutique Casa Carolina
Best Western Plus Santa Marta Hotel
Best Western Plus Santa Marta Hotel
3.5 out of 5
Calle 24 No 3-65, Santa Marta, 470004
Best Western Plus Santa Marta Hotel
Hotel 1525 By Geh Suites
Hotel 1525 By Geh Suites
3 out of 5
2-29 Cl. 11, Santa Marta, Magdalena, 470004
Hotel 1525 By Geh Suites
Bonita Bay Concept Hotel by Xarm Hotels
Bonita Bay Concept Hotel by Xarm Hotels
4 out of 5
Cr 1c # 15 - 07, Edificio Tesoro del Mar, Santa Marta, Magdalena, 470004
Bonita Bay Concept Hotel by Xarm Hotels
Casa de Leda, a Kali Hotel
Casa de Leda, a Kali Hotel
4 out of 5
Calle 18 #4-38, Santa Marta, Magdalena, 470004
Casa de Leda, a Kali Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.