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Santa Marta Cathedral

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.


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Lodging Near Santa Marta Cathedral

See all 264 Hotels near Santa Marta Cathedral
$70
Hotel Boutique Casa Carolina

Hotel Boutique Casa Carolina

Calle 12 # 3-40, Centro Histórico, Santa Marta
4.6
of 5, from 97 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Santa Marta hotel is located by the sea, within a 5-minute walk of Tairona Gold Museum, Santa Marta Cathedral, and Simon Bolivar Park. Parque de Los Novios and Marina Santa Marta are also within 15 minutes.

Hostal Zleeping

Hostal Zleeping

Calle 22 No. 16-31, Santa Marta
3.5
of 5, from 2 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

Situated in Santa Marta, this hostal is within 1 mi (2 km) of Eduardo Santos Stadium, Santa Marta Cathedral, and Parque de Los Novios. Marina Santa Marta and Customs House are also within 1 mi (2 km).

$95
Casa de Isabella, a Kali Hotel

Casa de Isabella, a Kali Hotel

Carrera 2da No. 19-20 El Centro, Santa Marta
4.7
of 5, from 111 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Historic Center, this spa hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Parque de Los Novios, Marina Santa Marta, and Simon Bolivar Park. Customs House is 0.2 mi (0.4 km) away.

$50
Masaya Hostel Santa Marta

Masaya Hostel Santa Marta

Calle 14 # 04-80, Santa Marta
4.2
of 5, from 68 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

Located in Historic Center, this hostel is within a 5-minute walk of Santa Marta Cathedral, Customs House, and Tairona Gold Museum. Simon Bolivar Park and Parque de Los Novios are also within 10 minutes.

$68
La Casa del Patio Hotel Boutique by Xarm Hotels

La Casa del Patio Hotel Boutique by Xarm Hotels

Calle 21 # 3 - 47, Santa Marta
4.6
of 5, from 74 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Historic Center, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Parque de Los Novios, Santa Marta Cathedral, and Marina Santa Marta. Customs House and Simon Bolivar Park are also within 10 minutes.

$100
Casa de Leda, a Kali Hotel

Casa de Leda, a Kali Hotel

Calle 18 #4-38, Santa Marta
4.6
of 5, from 112 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Historic Center, this boutique hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Santa Marta Cathedral and Parque de Los Novios. Customs House and Tairona Gold Museum are also within 10 minutes.

$59
La Casa del Farol Hotel Boutique by Xarm Hotels

La Casa del Farol Hotel Boutique by Xarm Hotels

Calle 18, 3-115, Santa Marta
4.4
of 5, from 146 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Historic Center, this romantic hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Santa Marta Cathedral and Parque de Los Novios. Customs House and Tairona Gold Museum are also within 10 minutes.

$82
Best Western Plus Santa Marta Hotel

Best Western Plus Santa Marta Hotel

Calle 24 No 3-65, Santa Marta
4.4
of 5, from 52 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Santa Marta, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Parque de Los Novios, Marina Santa Marta, and Santa Marta Cathedral. Customs House and Simon Bolivar Park are also within 15 minutes.