Santa Marta Travel

This is Santa Marta, studded on the Caribbean Coast and famous for being the first Spanish settlement in South America.

Like many of its Colombian counterparts, the city of Santa Marta is one that runs at full speed and very rarely stops. While there is much to be said for the high-octane nightlife, the city is also steeped in history that dates back to the earliest Spanish settlers, making it a worthwhile stop on any trip to Colombia's Caribbean Coast.

Located on the northern tip of the Caribbean province, the city of Santa Marta is where to get a taste of the Costeño way of life. Familiarize yourself with its renowned cuisine, influenced by generations of European and African migrants and sustained with the finest freshly caught seafood, in between hitting the beach to read under a palm tree and take a dip in the sea.

Santa Marta is also a springboard for countless exciting trips within the verdant Sierra Nevada, within which the Lost City – ‘Ciudad Perdida’ – awaits curious travellers with its ancient structures that were quite literally lost to the jungle. Those wishing to set eyes upon this historic gem can do so by embarking on the five-day-long trek, witnessing the legendary Tayrona culture and delighting in the natural haven that is the Sierra Nevada. Otherwise, make your way along the Atlantic coastline until you reach the spectacular Tayrona National Park, both serene in its beauty and wild in its unruly shores and tropical rainforest.

Highlights of Santa Marta:

La Ciudad Perdida

When the first Spanish settlers set up base in Santa Marta, it was with the aim of pursuing untold riches found within the Sierra Nevada, whose location is now known as The Lost City. While the site no longer gleams with gold, you will no doubt leave with a reservoir rich in incredible memories following this 4-5 day trek (depending on your fitness levels). Channel your inner Indiana Jones as you cross rickety bridges, climb endless stone steps and wade through streams to reach the incredible archaeological site.

Caribbean Beaches

There’s no visiting Santa Marta without experiencing the gorgeous beaches around it, including those of Tayrona National Park. Reached by boat or by hiking through the jungle, beaches like Arrecifes and Playa Cañaveral are exotic wonderlands that you won’t soon forget, with many offering the chance for snorkelling and swimming – or if it sounds like too much, just laze back, book in hand, taking in the postcard-perfect scenery.


Minca is a southerly alternative to Tayrona National Park, yet with higher altitudes is blessed with cooler temperatures that make it a desirable retreat from the steamy Caribbean Coast. Sample fragrant coffees at one of the organic farms here, venture to secret waterfalls or go birdwatching; there are countless species to spy in the wild. After it all, simply relax in one of the bars or restaurants, and admire the views over the treetops to the coast.

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