What to Do in Santa Marta

For me, the best plans to do in Santa Marta are excursions to the Tayrona National Park and the Lost City Archaeological Park. But there are also interesting things to do in the city itself, so take note of the essential plans to do in Santa Marta.

  1. Stroll around Rodadero

It is the most modern and touristy neighborhood in the city, where most restaurants, bars, resorts, and hotels are located. It’s the area for shopping, going to the beach, and going out at night for dinner, etc. It’s where I would recommend staying in Santa Marta.

To stroll along the shopping street, head to carrera 5, they call it “la quinta avenida” in comparison to the popular street in New York full of businesses, although don’t expect to find skyscrapers or the luxury of New York streets.

Something you have to do in Santa Marta is walk along the boardwalk, located in Rodadero. Try some street food and listen to lively local music while taking a walk at night. Rodadero Beach is large and easily accessible, full of tourists and street vendors.

  1. Wander through the Historic Center

Something to do in Santa Marta is to wander through the historic center. It has charm but you must be careful with safety at night. It has charming colonial architecture with low white houses and narrow alleys. It doesn’t have the charm of Cartagena de Indias but it’s nice.

The highlight is the Cathedral of Santa Marta, which is said to be the oldest cathedral on the continent. Inside, the remains of Simón Bolívar were found before being sent to his descendants in Venezuela. Walk between Calle 22 and Avenida del Ferrocarril. Also noteworthy are Simon Bolivar Park and Carrera 3, very lively.

  1. Taganga Beach

Taganga is 5 km from Santa Marta. It is a small fishing village north of the city, located in a beautiful bay surrounded by fishing boats. It is ideal for backpackers and divers. Although it is a bit dirty and neglected, it has charm.

It is full of diving shops, restaurants, hostels, and places to party. The beach is not very suitable for swimming, but you can go on a boat trip for little money to Playa Grande or Bonito Gordo. There are spectacular fish banks, coral reefs, and even turtles and dolphins. Taganga Beach is one of the cheapest places in the world to get your diving license. With the diving schools in Santa Marta, you can dive in the stunning oceans of the Tayrona National Park and the surrounding islands. I recommend the Santa Marta Dive and Adventure, and the Poseidon Dive Center.

  1. Excursion to the Lost City

For me, it’s the star plan of Colombia, a fabulous plan to do in Santa Marta ideal for hiking enthusiasts. It is an ancient colonial settlement built by the Tayrona people around 800 AD. Hidden deep in the jungle, the Lost City was discovered in the 1970s by archaeologists.

The guided hike to the ruins is a muddy and steep path through tropical vegetation and river crossings and steep mountains. There you will encounter indigenous civilizations, stunning landscapes, rivers, and beautiful lakes. A trek in the Colombian jungle that will not disappoint you.

The hike is long and you sleep in open-air shelters, but the reward is worth it. It is usually done in 4 days, but there are people who also do it in 3 or 5. I did it in 4 and I think it’s perfect. I recommend booking the tour in advance so you don’t run out of spots.

  1. Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino

An original plan to do in Santa Marta is to visit an old colonial estate and sugar cane refinery just five minutes from the city. Simón Bolívar spent his last days here, sick with tuberculosis.

Today it is a beautiful botanical garden with an art gallery, a nice mix of history and nature. As a cultural plan, you can visit the Bolivarian Museum of Contemporary Art.

  1. Visit the Santa Marta Public Market

Located near the bus stop that takes you to Tayrona Park, it is a market that delights the senses. Take your time and enjoy a different plan to do in Santa Marta by visiting an authentic Colombian market.

On the ground floor, they sell meat and fish, clothing, football shirts, shoes, and other clothing items on the outskirts. On the upper floor, vegetables, fruits, and herbs. It is colorful and lively, a great place to enjoy the culture and gastronomy of Santa Marta.

  1. Tayrona National Park

Something you definitely have to do in Santa Marta is the excursion to Tayrona Park. Santa Marta has 150 beaches, of which 63 are here. It is a huge park full of wooded mountains and beaches. It has 4 different itineraries, so to tour the entire park you would need 4 full days (1 day per itinerary), each of which takes you through different beaches and landscapes.

Basically, the plan consists of walking through the spectacular jungle for about 3 hours along a path full of biodiversity until you reach paradisiacal virgin Caribbean beaches. Along the way, you will find many exotic birds, monkeys, and even sloths.

I did the Cabo Cañaveral-Arrecife route, where I met, among others, the most famous beach of all, Cabo San Juan Beach. It is the most spectacular area of the island in terms of landscape, although also the most crowded. The other route most recommended is Neguanje, whose most spectacular beach is Crystal Beach for its crystal-clear waters.

Share on :

Recent posts

Do you have any questions?

Do not hesitate to call us. We are an expert team and we will be happy to speak with you.