Santa Marta

Travel Guide
Taganga Beach showing a bay or harbor, a coastal town and a sandy beach
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

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
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, 470006
The price is $163 per night from Feb 8 to Feb 9
$163
per night
Feb 8 - Feb 9
Stay at this 4.5-star luxury hotel in Santa Marta. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 restaurants, and a beach locale. Our guests praise the breakfast and the pool in our reviews. ...
4.6/5 Exceptional! (399 reviews)
"Amabiliity and service"

Reviewed on Jan 21, 2023

Santa Marta Marriott Resort Playa Dormida
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
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.
Terrazas Tayrona Travelers Apartamentos y Suites
Terrazas Tayrona Travelers Apartamentos y Suites
3.5 out of 5
Carrera 3 # 24 - 63, El Rodadero, Santa Marta, Magdalena, 470004
Stay at this 3.5-star aparthotel in Santa Marta. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and room service. Our guests praise the WiFi and the overall value in our reviews. ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (105 reviews)
"It's in an area that is going to be in construction. But that's not a problem except that it is a taxi ride to get to any decent restaurants. There was constant music noise coming from way down the road somewhere and it seemed to travel to our floor (9) quite easily. Louder and longer on the weekends. ..."

Reviewed on Dec 6, 2022

Terrazas Tayrona Travelers Apartamentos y Suites
Grand Marina Santa Marta
Grand Marina Santa Marta
3 out of 5
carrera 1 22- 79, Santa Marta
Stay at this 3-star business-friendly aparthotel in Santa Marta. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and a children's pool. Our guests praise the helpful staff and ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (53 reviews)
"Great location"

Reviewed on Dec 5, 2022

Grand Marina Santa Marta
Apartasuites SOHO Elite – Reserva del Mar
Apartasuites SOHO Elite – Reserva del Mar
3.5 out of 5
Calle 22 No. 1-95, Rodadero, Santa Marta, Magdalena, 470006
Stay at this 3.5-star beach aparthotel in Santa Marta. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and a private beach. Our guests praise the helpful staff in our reviews. ...
3.9/5 Very Good! (19 reviews)
"Pool was dirty after 2 days. The jacuzzi was not hot and was not being cleaned properly which leaves bacteria. There is no way to get into your room if lock doesn’t work. People at property do not have keys. This is a very dangerous practice during an emergency. My electronic door key was low ok ..."

Reviewed on Sep 3, 2022

Apartasuites SOHO Elite – Reserva del Mar
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.

Popular places to visit

Things to do

Cities near Santa Marta