Last updated on February 5th, 2021

Gazebo, Cabo San Juan, Tayrona National Park, Visit Santa Marta

Gazebo, Tayrona National Park, © Can Stock Photo / ildi

Visit Santa Marta – See the Sights

  • Santa Marta’s Cathedral – see the cathedral and the colonial architecture nearby, like Madame Agustine House.
  • Plaza de Bolivar – visit the Gold Museum in the Casa de la Aduan, one of the oldest houses in the Americas.
  • Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino – the former estate of Simon Bolivar is now a museu
  • Parque de los Novios – for nightlife.
  • San Fernando Fort – at the southern edge of town.
Beached Boat at Arrecifes Beach, Tayrona National Park, Visit Santa Marta

Arrecifes Beach, Tayrona National Park

Santa Marta Weather

Santa Marta’s weather is similar to Cartagena with hot, humid temperatures drawing tourists to the beaches for the winter. The height of the tourist season is at Christmas and Easter. The Santa Marta Mountains can experience snowfall at higher elevations, but this does not impact Santa Marta. The mountains offer excellent protection from hurricanes.

Arrecifes Beach, Tayrona National Park, Visit Santa Marta

Arrecifes Beach, Tayrona National Park

Visit Santa Marta – Hotel Recommendations

  • Hotel Boutique Casa del Viento
  • Hotel Boutique Don Pepe
  • La Calzada del Santo
Cabo San Juan, Tayrona National Park, Visit Santa Marta

Cabo San Juan, Tayrona Park, © Can Stock / javarman

Visit Santa Marta – Sights Nearby

Tayrona National Park – less than an hour north of Santa Marta.  Lovely beaches, rainforest and archaeology. This is the most popular tourist destination for those who travel to Santa Marta. It includes the Quebrada Valencia waterfall.

Souvenirs For Sale Taganga Bay, Visit Santa Marta

Souvenirs For Sale Taganga Bay

Taganga – a fishing village just 10 minutes outside of Santa Marta to the north.

The Mamancana Natural Reserve – paragliding, rock climbing, biking and ziplining. Catch a tour from the pier in Santa Marta.

Rodadero – another popular beach area near Santa Marta.  It includes the Rodadero Sea Aquarium and Museum.

Take a 5 day hike to La Ciudad Perdida – a Tayrona ruin discovered in the 1970s. Not for the typical tourist.

Route to Tayrona National Park, Visit Santa Marta

Route to Tayrona National Park

Visit Santa Marta – Background

Santa Marta is located about 2.5 hours northeast of Cartagena on the Caribbean at the foot of the Santa Marta Mountains. This city was founded by the Spanish in 1525 as a port to ship gold to Spain. It has a population of about 1 million in its urban area. Simon Bolivar died on his estate here in 1830. The region was originally inhabited by the Tayrona.

Visit Santa Marta – Transportation

Santa Marta has a small airport, Simon Bolivar Airport (SMR), located about a half hour out of town, but the main access for tourists is by bus from Cartagena. Santa Marta is about 4 hours from Cartagena. You will need a cab to get from the bus depot to the main tourist area downtown. Make sure to negotiate cab fare in advance. Many people visit Santa Marta as part of a multi-day organized tour from Cartagena. These tours also visit Tayrona National Park.