Top things to do in Santa Marta Colombia: More than 30 tips!

From stunning beaches to historical landmarks, Santa Marta has it all. Our guide offers over 30 ideas to make your vacation unforgettable. Plan your dream trip now!

Published -0001-11-30 00:00:00

Looking for a vacation destination with stunning natural beauty and endless activities? Look no further than Santa Marta, Colombia! This stunning coastal city is a true paradise for all who visit.

Our ultimate guide offers more than 30 itineraries for your perfect Santa Marta vacation. From exploring the ancient ruins of Ciudad Perdida and the stunning beaches of Tayrona National Park to experiencing the region's rich culture, history, and gastronomy, there's something for everyone in Santa Marta.

Join us as we unveil the best-kept secrets of this stunning part of Colombia and discover new places with us. Welcome to Santa Marta!

Discover the rich History of Santa Marta

Begin your days in this vibrant coastal city by immersing yourself in its fascinating history. Did you know that Santa Marta is one of the oldest cities in South America, founded in 1525 by the Spanish conquistador Rodrigo de Bastidas? This makes it the very first city on the continent!

Throughout the centuries, Santa Marta has played a pivotal role in the history of Colombia due to its strategic location and important events. Today, it's a thriving tourist destination that offers a wide variety of activities, from beach vacations to adventurous trekking in the breathtaking Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

Discover the unique town of Santa Marta and its rich past - Join us now!

Explore the charm of Santa Marta's Historic Center

Step back in time as you wander the charming streets of Santa Marta's Historic Center. This treasure trove of colonial architecture will captivate you with its rich history and cultural heritage.

What to do in Santa Marta's Historic Center?

Join us as we explore the top 5 must-do activities in Santa Marta's Historic Center:

  1. Take a free walking tour: Immerse yourself in the heart of Santa Marta by joining Visit Santa Marta's free walking tour. This guided walking tour will take you through the charming streets of the Historic Center, offering insights into the city's fascinating history and hidden secrets.

  2. Visit the Tairona Gold Museum: Discover the region's indigenous culture at the Tairona Gold Museum, home to an impressive collection of gold and ceramic artifacts. Admission is free, making it a must-see attraction in Santa Marta.

  3. Stroll through the Parque de Los Novios: This popular park is a hub of activity for locals and tourists alike. With its array of shops, restaurants and bars, it's the perfect place to enjoy the city's vibrant nightlife.

  4. Admire the Plaza de Bolívar: Located in the heart of the historic center, Plaza de Bolívar (also known as Santander Park) is a vibrant and colorful plaza. Admire the colonial architecture of the surrounding buildings and soak up the lively atmosphere of this meeting place for locals.

  5. Snap a photo at Casa Marina: Head to Casa Marina, a tourist information center a few blocks from the historic center, and snap a photo in front of its iconic and Instagrammable mural. While you're there, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the house's hospitality.

  6. Visit and delight yourself with the flavors of Vívolo Café: This is not only a place to drink coffee, but a corner where the passion for this beverage merges with the cultural and natural richness of the region, giving you an unforgettable experience for your senses. Get to know its famous "Coffee Tasting" and become an expert of this delicious beverage.

    Want to know more about it? Visit and be captivated by the richness and flavor of beans hand-selected by passionate farmers who preserve local traditions.

Cathedral Basilica of Santa Marta: A Must-See Icon of the Historic Center

Plaza de La Catedral, Cra. 4, Comuna 2, Santa Marta, Magdalena

Located in the heart of the historic center of Santa Marta, the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Marta is a true architectural jewel. Built in the 18th century, it is one of the oldest churches in Latin America and boasts neoclassical elements that will leave you in awe.

Inside, the cathedral features a stunning collection of religious art that reflects the deep traditions and history of the region. A visit to the Cathedral is a must for any traveler to Santa Marta.

What to do in Santa Marta Cathedral?

If you're interested in learning more about the religious and cultural traditions of Santa Marta, here are 3 plans to consider during your visit:

  1. Attend a mass: Whether you're religious or just curious, attending a mass at the cathedral is an unforgettable experience. Join the locals for daily masses at noon and 6 p.m., 6 p.m. on Saturdays, and 7 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. on Sundays and holidays.

  2. Admire the religious relics: The Cathedral of Santa Marta houses a fascinating collection of religious relics dating back to colonial times. Take time to explore the relics and learn about the cathedral's rich history and importance to the community.

  3. Get the perfect shot: With its impressive neoclassical facade and intricate interior, Santa Marta Cathedral is a photographer's paradise. Be sure to snap some pictures and take home memories of one of the city's most iconic structures.

Don't miss the opportunity to visit the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Marta and immerse yourself in the rich history and traditions of this beautiful city.

San Pedro Alejandrino Farm

Sector San Pedro Alejandrino, Av. El Libertador, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia.

San Pedro Alejandrino Farm is a must-visit historical site in Santa Marta, Colombia. It was the place where Simón Bolívar, the liberator of several Latin American countries, spent his last days and died in 1830. Today, it has become one of the most popular tourist sites in the city and is of great historical and cultural importance.

Explore the estate's lush gardens, tour the impressive museum, and visit the mausoleum of Simón Bolívar to gain a deeper understanding of the colonial past and the figure of the Libertador.

What to do at San Pedro Alejandrino Farm?

Here are 3 plans to make the most of your visit to San Pedro Alejandrino Farm:

  1. Immerse yourself in history at the Quinta de San Pedro museum: The museum is a must-see attraction on the estate. Here you can learn about Simón Bolivar’s life and work and see an impressive collection of colonial-era artifacts.

  2. Stroll through the estate’s beautiful gardens: The estate is a famous for its lush and well-maintained gardens. Take a leisurely wall and enjoy the tranquility and beauty of this hidden gem.

  3. Pay homage to Simón Bolívar at the mausoleum: Located inside the estate, the mausoleum is a place of great historical importance. Here you can see the tomb of the independence hero and pay tribute to his legacy.

Make sure to complement your visit with the City Tour of Visit Santa Marta, where you can more emblematic places of the city and learn about the Simón Bolívar’s impact on the region. Don’t miss this opportunity to immerse yourself in the history and culture of Santa Marta!

Welcome to Santa Marta's Beaches - Discover Your Perfect Beach Vacation

Welcome to Santa Marta, a coastal gem in the heart of the Caribbean! The beaches of Santa Marta are a beach lover's paradise. Nestled along the stunning Caribbean coast, they offer unparalleled natural beauty, cultural charm and exciting outdoor activities, making them the perfect destination for an unforgettable vacation.

Whether you're looking for the iconic Santa Marta Bay or the awe-inspiring Tayrona National Park, the region's beaches cater to all tastes and budgets. With mesmerizing mountain views, crystal clear waters, and a rich culinary scene, Santa Marta's beaches provide an ideal backdrop for couples, families, and solo travelers.

Here is a comprehensive guide to the top beaches in Santa Marta, including the activities you can enjoy and the best offerings at each beach. Get ready to embark on a journey to discover the beauty of this part of the Caribbean coast and indulge in the unique experience of Santa Marta's beaches!

Santa Marta Bay and El Rodadero

Santa Marta Bay is one of the most popular beaches in the city and a great place to watch the sunset. Take a boat ride with your family and friends on the Pirate Boat Experience and enjoy a rumba on the sea while sipping the best cocktail at the Pirate Bar.

For a lively day on the beach, head to El Rodadero, just south of the city, where you'll find a vibrant atmosphere with a wide variety of restaurants and shops.

Taganga and Playa Grande

If you're looking for peaceful beaches away from the city hustle, Taganga and Playa Grande are must-visit destinations. Taganga is a charming fishing village, offering a tranquil beach and an array of restaurants and bars.

On the other hand, Playa Grande boasts crystal-clear waters, breathtaking views of the sea and the mountains, and plenty of activities such as diving and snorkeling. You can reach this paradise either by walking through a scenic path or taking a boat directly to the town.

Tayrona National Natural Park

Discover one of the most popular destinations in Santa Marta, the Tayrona National Park. This natural paradise boasts stunning white sand beaches and crystal clear waters surrounded by lush tropical vegetation.

Hike through the trails of the park and be enchanted by the unique flora and fauna and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Colombia. Don't miss the opportunity to swim, snorkel and dive in the crystal clear waters of Cabo San Juan and Bahía Concha.

Tayrona Park also offers a range of services such as camping and restaurants to make your visit comfortable and safe. Plan your perfect beach vacation in Santa Marta and experience the best of natural beauty, culture and adventure!

What to do on the beaches of Santa Marta?

Once you have found your perfect beach destination in Santa Marta, here are five activities you can do to make the most of your vacation:

  1. Take a boat tour: Boat tours around Santa Marta Bay and Tayrona National Park are a must-do activity to see the stunning sunsets while enjoying a drink with your family or friends.

  2. Relax on the beach: Whether you prefer to sunbathe, read a book or just enjoy the view, Santa Marta's beaches offer the perfect setting for relaxation.

  3. Practice water sports: From paddle boarding to scuba diving, Santa Marta has a wide variety of water sports to try.

  4. Explore nature: Tayrona National Park is the perfect place to explore nature and see some of the region's most emblematic animals. Take a hike to explore the park's biodiversity and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

  5. Enjoy the local gastronomy: Santa Marta's beaches offer a wide variety of restaurants serving delicious local cuisine, such as shrimp ceviche or fried fish. Don't miss the opportunity to taste the flavors of the Caribbean!

Discover the beauty of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Fauna de la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Nestled on the stunning Caribbean coast of Colombia, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is a natural wonderland waiting to be explored. From snow-capped peaks to cascading waterfalls, this breathtaking destination offers an unforgettable adventure for nature lovers and thrill seekers alike.

Immerse yourself in the rich culture of the indigenous ethnic groups that have called the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta home for centuries. These communities have preserved their land and way of life, offering visitors the opportunity to connect with nature and spirituality. Don't miss the chance to explore Ciudad Perdida, the awe-inspiring lost city of the Tayrona culture and one of the most important archaeological sites in all of Latin America.

Experience the thrill of trekking through this mountain paradise, while birdwatchers can spot exotic species among the diverse flora and fauna. Indulge in local delicacies and learn about the indigenous way of life by visiting their communities. Whether you are looking for a peaceful mountain retreat or an exhilarating outdoor adventure, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta has something for everyone. Start planning your trip today and get ready to discover the magic of this incredible destination!

Lost City - Ciudad Perdida

Lost city - ciudad perdida

Deep in the heart of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta lies Ciudad Perdida, an ancient city built by the Tayrona culture that was lost for centuries until it was discovered in 1970. Today it's a cultural and archaeological treasure that offers a unique glimpse into the past. With its terraces, plazas and stairways, it's a testament to the greatness of the indigenous communities that once inhabited the area.

What to Do in Ciudad Perdida?

We share with you 3 things to do in Ciudad Perdida, where you will immerse yourself in its beauty and mysterious energy, and discover why it is one of the most exciting tourist destinations in Colombia!

  1. Take the hike: To experience the Lost City, take the hike, which is one of the most exciting things you can do in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The hike is 4, 5, or 6 days long, and it takes you through crystal-clear rivers, waterfalls, and wildlife habitats. You can book this experience with us by following these links: 

    Lost City 4 days

    Lost City 5 days

    Lost City 6 days

  2. Meet the indigenous communities: The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is home to four indigenous ethnic groups, who have maintained a special close connection with nature and spirituality. If you are interested in learning more about their culture and traditions, you can take the opportunity to get closer to the indigenous communities near Ciudad Perdida, such as the Wiwas or Koguis. We invite you to get to know their way of life, learn about their traditions and customs, and enjoy the rich gastronomy of the region.

  3. Explore Ciudad Perdida: Once you arrive at Ciudad Perdida, you will have the opportunity to explore its fascinating archaeological structures and learn about the history and culture of the ancient Tayrona civilization. You can walk through the terraces, plazas and steps that make up the city, and marvel at the skill of its builders.


Get to know this charming town located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Colombia. Surrounded by mountains and impressive waterfalls, Minca is the perfect place to get away from the city and get in touch with nature!

The picturesque city of Minca offers a wide variety of activities, from jungle hikes to mountain bike adventures, breathtaking waterfalls and the opportunity to learn about the culture of the indigenous communities that inhabit the area. In addition, Minca is known for its high quality coffee and cocoa production, making it an ideal place for food lovers.

What to do in Minca?

Let's continue this guide, so you can learn about the things to do in Minca, explore its beauty and tranquility, and discover its tourist attractions:

  1. Visit a coffee farm: Taking a trip to Minca natural is knowing that you will taste delicious high quality coffee, so a visit to one of the many coffee farms in the area is a must-do activity. You will be able to learn about the growing, harvesting and roasting process, and enjoy a delicious cup of freshly brewed coffee while admiring the breathtaking view of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

  2. Hike to the Marinka waterfall: Contemplate an impressive waterfall of more than 20 meters high, surrounded by lots of vegetation. To get to the Marinka waterfalls, you will have to hike for about an hour and a half from the town of Minca. Once there, you can cool off and enjoy a swim in its crystal clear waters. We recommend that you take the Al Grano Coffee Tour from the Sierra - La Candelaria.

  3. Bird watching: The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is one of the places with more birds in the world, making it a perfect place for nature lovers and wildlife watching. In Minca, you can take a guided walk through the jungle to observe some of the more than 160 species of birds in the area, including the sapphire hummingbird and the woodpecker.

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Natural Park

Did you know that this park is home to the highest coastal mountain in the world? The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park is one of Colombia's most precious treasures. With an area of more than 300,000 hectares, this park is home to a great variety of flora and fauna, many of which are endemic to the region.

Read on to discover some of the activities you can do during your visit to this spectacular place and enjoy nature in its purest state.

What to do in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park?

These are 3 essential things to do in this park, from hiking through the jungle to a refreshing swim in the waterfalls, get ready to immerse yourself in the natural paradise that the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta offers!

  1. Hiking: The park has many trails that will take you through breathtaking landscapes, from cloud forests to waterfalls. You can choose between short or long hikes, depending on your level of experience and preferences.

  2. Bathing in natural wells: The park also has numerous natural wells with crystal clear, fresh water, ideal for a refreshing swim after a hike. 

  3. Trekking in the mountains: This plan is ideal for those who love mountaineering. You can plan an expedition with the help of native guides of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and enjoy the panoramic views that the Sierra Nevada has to offer.

Remember that you can do any activity in the park, but the ideal is to learn about the requirements and safety measures necessary to ensure a safe and environmentally friendly experience. This park does not have an entrance fee like Tayrona.

Indulge in the Delicious Gastronomy of Santa Marta

Santa Marta boasts a diverse culinary scene that blends the rich traditional flavors of the region with influences from African cuisine. A trip to Santa Marta isn't complete without experiencing the delicious local dishes.

From succulent seafood platters to hearty meat stews, Santa Marta's local cuisine is a feast for the senses. Whether you're a foodie or just looking to try something new, Santa Marta has something for you.

Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with the unique fusion of flavors that define Santa Marta's gastronomy. Let us take you on a culinary journey that will make your vacation unforgettable!

Discover the flavors of the delicacies of Santa Marta

If you are a food lover, don't miss the opportunity to discover the flavors of Santa Marta's gastronomy:

  1. Try the rice with coconut: This is one of the most emblematic dishes of Santa Marta's cuisine. It is made with rice, grated coconut, onion, garlic and other ingredients, and is served with fish or seafood, a dish you will love!

  2. Enjoy a shrimp ceviche: Shrimp ceviche is another very popular dish among Samaritans. It is made with fresh shrimp, lemon juice, onion, tomato and cilantro.

  3. Try sancocho de pescado: This is a stew prepared with fish, yucca, plantain, onion, garlic and other ingredients. It is a very nutritious dish with exquisite flavor, not to be missed.

Places to enjoy gastronomy in Santa Marta

Thanks to the diversity of the city, you can taste typical dishes and local food in many places. These are 3 plans that you can do in Santa Marta to delight yourself with the Samarian flavors:

  1. Visit the Santa Marta Market: The Santa Marta Market is an ideal place to taste the local gastronomy and buy fresh products. Here you can find tropical fruits, fresh fish and other ingredients used in the local cuisine.

  2. Visit one of the artisan markets and try their dishes: If you are looking for handmade souvenirs of your visit to Santa Marta, the handicraft markets are the perfect place. Here you will find a wide variety of handmade products made by local artisans, and you can also try the typical dishes of the region, such as egg arepas, empanadas and natural juices.

  3. Dinner at a local restaurant: Santa Marta has a wide variety of cuisine and a dinner at one of the local restaurants is an experience not to be missed.

  4. Visit a coffee farm: The Santa Marta region is known for its high quality coffee production. A visit to a coffee farm will allow you to learn more about the coffee production process and taste some of the local varieties. We recommend: Coffee Tour: La Candelaria.

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