The renowned town of the Cienaguero caiman in terms of size is the second largest municipality of Magdalena after Santa Marta and is located on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, next to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, at the northeastern end of the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta.
Ciénaga stands out for its romanticism and austerity, and is part of the Colombian network of heritage towns, since it is one of the most visited by tourists and nationals. Its charming streets, rich diversity of fauna and flora, cultural warmth and social openness make it, according to the BBC journalist, Richard MC Coll, “the Capital of Colombian magical realism”.
The history of this town dates back to 1538 when it was catechized since it does not have an exact date of foundation and it existed before the conquest. It has had different names, such as Aldea Grande and San Juan Bautista de Córdoba. Ciénaga is one of those cities that evokes the past, such as the heartbreaking episode of the Banana Massacre in 1928 when the Colombian armed forces opened fire on an undetermined number of protesters, United Fruit Company workers, leaving many dead. It was also a key participant during the "War of a Thousand Days" back in 1902.
If you decide to visit this wonderful town and get lost in a culturally rich tour you should know:
The Iglesia de San Juan Bautista: the oldest building in the historic center originally dating back to 1612.
It is easier and more convenient to visit ‘balneario Costa Verde’: Place that shows a landscape that leads to the so-called "mouth of the river" where the Cordoba River flows.
The Ciénaga Grande del Magdalena: Colombia's largest coastal lagoon, born from the confluence of the fresh waters of the Magdalena River and the Caribbean Sea. This place is composed of lakes, swamps, mangroves and canyons. It is a very important place for nature, since it has a great part of the Fauna and Flora of the region.
The Casa del Diablo: owned by Manuela Varela, a banana producer, who during the boom of this crop had the vision to build a railroad branch to connect his property with the main railroad line, which allowed him to export his bananas and obtain a significant profit. His prosperity surpassed any prediction, and the people of the time attributed this fact to the fact that he had made a "pact with the devil".
We also recommend you to observe the old Railway Station to remember the struggles of the working class to vindicate their rights; among other representative places that will leave you breathless and with a lot of cultural nostalgia. You may be interested in reading about Santa Marta.
Visiting this place is to enjoy the birth of waters that emanate directly from the earth and also have special healing properties for physical and mental relaxation of the human body.
If you want to experience a moment of relaxation and wellness, escape with our Hot Springs Wellness Tour.
Ciénaga is also one of the most popular gastronomic epicenters of Magdalena thanks to its wonderful dishes such as fried fish, coconut rice and cayeye. Its inhabitants are very hospitable to all visitors year-round; additionally, the egg arepas, carimañolas, buñuelos and empanadas motivate hundreds of visitors who pass through the Magdalena corridor to make a mandatory stop in this city to enjoy these traditional delicacies.
This beautiful town is also a place that burns with love for music and traditional art. From January 17 to 20, the National Festival of the Legend and Dance of the Cienaguero Cayman is celebrated every year. The National Festival of Music with Guitar is also celebrated in homage to the author Guillermo Buitrago, which is done in order to continue with the promotion and rescue of the historical legacy. This is accomplished through a three-day vallenato festival in which national and international artists compete. The patron saint festivities of San Juan are also celebrated in Ciénaga at the end of June.
Ciénaga awaits you with open arms, to fill you with its romanticism, history, nature and colonial and architectural culture.