Santa Marta: Best Things to Do

Pexels - Photo by Luis Quintero

Santa Marta is a city that is located in Colombia. This city is also a popular tourist destination for its beautiful nature, culture, gastronomy, and historical places.

Some of the most popular tourist attractions that Santa Marta has are the Tayrona National Natural Park, Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, Tairona Gold Museum - Casa de la Aduana, and Simon Bolivar Park.

See the beautiful view of Santa Marta from Cerro Ziruma and take a nice stroll at the Parque de Los Novios.

Don't forget to also taste the delicious delicacies the city has to offer.

Scroll down below to dig deeper about Santa Marta!

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SIGHTSEEING

See the beautiful view of Santa Marta from the top at Cerro Ziruma. The hill that overlooks the Santa Marta Bay and Rodadero Beach offers a spectacular view of the sea. This place is also a perfect place for outdoor activities like walking and jogging because this place cannot be reached by vehicles. It's probably a little bit of work to get to this spot, but the view will be really rewarding.

Cerro Ziruma

Small, tree-covered mountain with hilltop vistas of Santa Marta Bay & Rodadero Beach.

Address : Ziruma #Cr 6 No 11b 127, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia

DOWNTOWN

Enjoy a nice stroll at the Simon Bolivar Park. This public park is also a great spot for relaxing or people watching since there is plenty of space to sit. There are also restaurants around the park available for you to hang out. The highlight of this park is the Simon Bolivar monument and the historical buildings that are standing near the park like the Consistorial Palace and the Gold Museum.

Simon Bolivar Park

Compact public park featuring a monument to Simón Bolívar, with landscaped gardens & ocean views.

Address : Cra. 1, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia

SHOPPING

Shop at Buenavista Mall and find various items from local and international brands. This big mall offers an excellent shopping experience for tourists with its many stores such as fashion, beauty, footwear, jewelry, handicrafts, and many more. There are also restaurants that serve various kinds of delicious dishes and a cinema to make your shopping here more enjoyable.

Buenavista Mall

Straightforward retail center with chain stores, dining & a movie theater in relaxed surrounds.

Address : Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia

FOOD & DRINK

Santa Marta has many typical dishes that will be such a shame to miss. And some of the most popular dishes are Arepa, which is a grilled, baked, or fried corn dough, Caribañola which is a fried cassava dough stuffed with cheese, meat, or chicken. There are also Matrimonio, Empanadas, Patacones, and Salchipapa. And for the drink, Guaro is the drink to go since it's also Colombia's national spirit.

CULTURE

Santa Marta is home to the International Festival of the Sea which focused on water sports and supported by various activities that represent the culture of Santa Marta, such as music and dance.
Santa Marta's music is heavily influenced by the Caribbean, Indigenous, African, and Spanish culture, and of the example is the Vallenato. Santa Marta also has some traditional dances, like the Cumbia, El Bullerengue, and La Puya.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Peak season: December to March are the most pleasant times to visit Santa Marta since there's only a little rain. The temperature during this time is also perfect to have some fun outdoor activities or enjoy the Caribbean beach of Santa Marta.

HOTEL

Enjoy a comfortable stay at the Masaya Hostel Santa Marta. This casual hotel offers different types of rooms that can be chosen for your liking. Besides the great facilities such as a swimming pool, bar, and a game room, this hotel also provides some fun activities like dance class, cooking and cocktail class, yoga class, concert, and pool party. The location of the hotel that is only a few minutes away from the beach gives the guests easy access to get to the beach. Hostal La Brisa Loca Santa Marta is another great place to stay in Santa Marta. The awesome hotel that is situated in a 1900s building features an outdoor pool and a terrace where guests are able to enjoy the gorgeous view of the sea. This hotel is conveniently close to one of Santa Marta's must-visit attraction, the Tairona Gold Museum - Casa de la Aduana that can be reached in a 3-minute walk.

Masaya Hostel Santa Marta

Vibrant rooms & dorms with free Wi-Fi in a informal hostel with a rooftop pool & a courtyard pool.

Address : Distrito Turístico Cultural E Histórico, Cl. 14 ##4 - 80, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia

Hostal La Brisa Loca Santa Marta

Bright dorms & private rooms in a lively hostel with a rooftop terrace, a bar & an outdoor pool.

Address : Cl. 14 #3-58, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia

RESTAURANT

Taste the deliciousness of Arepa at the Lulo Cafe Bar. Besides Arepa, this restaurant also serves amazing ceviche as well as other foods such as steak, burrito, sandwiches, wraps, smoothies, and juices. This restaurant also provides plenty of yummy vegetarian options. You can also get tasty foods at Ouzo. You can get various seafood and Mediterranean dishes here, like grilled octopus, crab cakes, fried calamari, as well as pizza and pasta. The amazing atmosphere of the restaurant, especially the balcony, makes this a perfect spot to enjoy a meal.

Lulo Cafe Bar

A perfectly fine place to stop for vegetarian dishes and other creative menu.

Address : Cra. 3 #16-34, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia

Ouzo

Ouzo offers a comfortable and warm experience like the Colombian Caribbean with freshly presented dishes.

Address : Cra. 3 #19-29, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia

CAFE

Ikaro Cafe is a perfect breakfast spot in Santa Marta. Besides tasty coffee, you can also order juices, teas, and other delicious foods and desserts. The cafe also provides a great option of vegan and vegetarian-friendly menu. The relaxing and quiet atmosphere of this place makes it a quite popular spot for tourists. You can also stop by Aluna Café Sagrado to grab a quick bite and order a variety of coffee, desserts, and even craft beers.

Ikaro Cafe

Ikaro Cafe serve coffee from high quality beans, roasted in house from their own farm.

Address : Cl. 19 ##3-60, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia

Aluna Café Sagrado

One of the best cafeteria in Santa Marta.

A welcoming, quiet place where your can relax your mind with a cup of coffee.

Address : Cl. 22 #11-108, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia

BAR AND NIGHTLIFE

Crab's Bar is the best place to enjoy rock and blues music in Santa Marta. Besides good music and amazing ambiance, this bar also provides an amazing collection of whiskeys and cocktails. The amazing decoration of the bar makes it even more lively. And the terrace is a popular spot among visitors to hang out with friends. Another great bar in Santa Marta is Charlie's Bar. Here, you can also enjoy a wide range of drinks from cocktails, mojito, beers, and many more. The open atmosphere and live music performance make this bar a great place to enjoy good night time in Santa Marta.

Crab's Bar

Great bar rocks and blues in town with good collection of whiskies

Address : Calle 18 # 3-69, Centro Histórico, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia

Charlie's Bar

Fantastic bar in Santa Marta to share with friends, drink delicious cocktails, listen to live music, dj sets and dance.

Address : Cl. 19, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia

INTERESTING PLACE

Visit the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, one of the most famous historical buildings in Colombia and the last of Simón Bolívar, the first president of Colombia. The place which used to function as an estate that produced rum, honey, and panela, today functions as a museum that exhibits the history of Colombia and artworks. The place is also surrounded by a botanical garden where animals like lizards are free to roam around. Learn about the history of Sierra Nevada and the life of its people at Tairona Gold Museum - Casa de la Aduana. The museum features a Pre-Hispanic societies gallery which showcases their pottery and metalwork, as well as how they live, from traditions like ceremonies and rituals. That are also other galleries in the museum that must be visited, like the People of Magdalena gallery and the Stories from the Casa de la Aduana gallery.

Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino

Built in 1608, revolutionary leader Simon Bolivar's final home features a museum & botanical garden.

Address : Av. del Libertador - Sector San Pedro Alejandrino, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia

Tairona Gold Museum - Casa de la Aduana

Free, bilingual museum with 4 galleries & tours featuring the life & artifacts of indigenous people.

Address : Carrera 2 Parque Simón Bolívar, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia

INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOT

Enjoy fun outdoor activities at the Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona or the Tayrona National Natural Park, from snorkeling and kayaking at the beach, to hiking and exploring the biodiversity of the park. To get to the beach, you need to hike or ride a horse. But once you get there, you will be rewarded with the beautiful beach, and you're even allowed to camp here. Parque de Los Novios is a park located in the heart of Santa Marta. This park is a perfect spot to hang out because there are many bars and restaurants located around the park. The park really comes alive in the evening with various entertainments from the street performers and musicians.

Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona

Coastal stretch of palm-fringed beaches backed by lush mountains with ruins of a pre-Hispanic town.

Address : Magdalena, Colombia

Parque de Los Novios

Urban retreat with stately monuments & park benches, surrounded by a lively restaurant/bar scene.

Address : Cl. 20, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia