What to do and see in Santa Marta, Colombia: The Best Places and Tips

November 26, 2017 Velvet Mowry

The oldest city in Colombia, romantic Santa Marta is fringed by beautiful beaches and the stunning mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range. Ancient ruins take cover in the lush mangrove forests of Tayrona National Park, the perfect spot for a day hike. Snorkel along vibrant reefs, then make your way to a café for a multicultural meal that incorporates the flavors of Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe. When the sun goes down, the nightlife kicks up its heels in the bars and discos of the Parque de Los Novios.
Restaurants in Santa Marta

1. Lost City

El Mamey | Sierra Nevada, Santa Marta 470007, Colombia
Excellent
83%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Lost City

Reviewed By melissa o - Liverpool, United Kingdom

Super tough but one of the best things I've ever done. The trek is hard! def train before you go! and take energy bars, and any injury supports as its hard on your joints. Def go with Wiwa tours - the only indigenous owned and run tour company and by far the best from talking to people in other groups. An amazing experience you won't regret and will remember forever.

2. Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona

Santa Marta 470007, Colombia
Excellent
69%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 5 reviews

Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona

This 37,000 acre ecotourism park includes reefs, Beaches, mangroves and Tayrona Indian ruins.

Reviewed By Nesligul D - Istanbul, Turkey

I couldn’t find this item before as I looked under Tayrona and not Parque... Tayrona and wrote a long and descriptive review under Tayrona Trips. You can read all my opinions and recommendations there if you are really interested in this park/forest.
This is nothing extraordinary or exceptional compared to the very difficult walk and climbing. It takes a full day and leaves you exhausted. Not worth the effort, this is just an ordinary forest, nothing like Iguazu for example. Spend your time in Zona Cafetera instead.

3. Cristal Beach

Via a Cienaga | Tayrona National Natural Park, Santa Marta, Colombia
Excellent
65%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Cristal Beach

Reviewed By MaMi1976 - Hilbert, Wisconsin

Unfortunately our Spanish language skills are very poor so we could not catch most of what was being said and we perhaps missed some things. The beach setting is beautiful and prices are a bit higher but certainly not unreasonable. Food was tasty with cabana service if wanted. Massage & other vendors were there but we did not find them to be pests like on many other Beaches. Water was warm and a large sandy beach area. The snorkeling was definitely not great but still fun in the relatively calm but slightly clougy water. We think our poor language skills may have caused us to miss out on some snorkeling opportunities. We brought our own masks & snorkels but saw no fins for rent at the beach (though a couple were for sale at the main park gate). The reason for the lower rating is that this beach is in a national park, with literally bus loads of tourists coming in ( though not crowded and the park apparently setting limits), has ŹERO restroom facilities. Only rest room is at the main gate - a bumpy hour drive from where you board smaller wood boats to go further down the shore to Crystal beach. We came with a tour. The tour stops at the main gate on the way in but not when exiting.

4. Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino

Av. del Libertador, sin numero | Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, Santa Marta, Colombia +57 5 4331021
Excellent
49%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino

This final home of Simon Bolivar contains a museum housing works of art from countries he helped liberate.

Reviewed By JuanRamirezC - Bogota, Colombia

This is the place where Simón Bolívar (the one who fought for Colombia's independence) died. It used to be an extensive farm, but now there's only the main buildings. The colonial style makes you feel like going back in time.
The place also has a modern area, where they even throw some Concerts and events.

5. Valencia Brook's Waterfalls

Santa Marta, Colombia +57 302 5126534
Excellent
56%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 144 reviews

Valencia Brook's Waterfalls

Reviewed By keilychacon - Miami, Florida

You gotta visit here! It's a 15-20 minutes walk, very entertaining with different things to see and enjoy along the way, like happy galletas and the Colombian/French lady who has a farm on the way to Cascada Valencia. Not to many people around so go early to be safe and you can enjoy the beauty of it.

6. Mundo Marino

Carrera 2a # 11-68 | El Rodadero, Santa Marta 470001, Colombia +57 5 4229334
Excellent
35%
Good
46%
Satisfactory
16%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 195 reviews

Mundo Marino

Mundo Marino aquarium display has more than 276 marine species , including sharks, rays , sea horses , starfish , octopus and others. The journey in the aquarium is fully guided and takes about 45 minutes. Monday-wednesday-Friday at 4:00pm: Food of sharks and fish. ¡We will wait for you!

Reviewed By worldtraveler20016 - Highlands Ranch, Colorado

We did this trip on a rainy day. It was perfect! not huge but is organized, you can see the sea turtles and the stingrays right there! Remember your patronage means they get to maintain and help the Ocean outside the aquarium. I hope you enjoy it.

7. Parque de Los Novios

Santa Marta, Colombia +57 301 4558455
Excellent
36%
Good
43%
Satisfactory
19%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 1 reviews

Parque de Los Novios

Reviewed By Kikoenmexico - Courtenay, Canada

Set in the center of most restaurants is this lovely park with benches- and free wifi. A lots of benches around the park so you can find a place to sit in the shade. A little get away downtown

8. Paseo El Camellon

Santa Marta, Colombia
Excellent
30%
Good
44%
Satisfactory
22%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 160 reviews

Paseo El Camellon

Reviewed By travlnlgirl - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

It should be a pretty place to walk along the bay and watch the sunset and boats. Instead its dirty and sketchy people around. I would not recommend walking around there at night.

9. Catedral de Santa Marta

Carrera 17 14, Santa Marta 470004, Colombia +57 315 6782845
Excellent
31%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
29%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 559 reviews

Catedral de Santa Marta

Reviewed By Shawnino - Halifax, Canada

Easy to access. Many people milling about and praying. A little bit of stained glass; typical architecture for S. American churches. Well kept. Some pews had working electric fans.

10. Playa Neguanje

Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona, Santa Marta, Colombia +57 1 3532400
Excellent
59%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 63 reviews

Playa Neguanje

Reviewed By Jaroslaw S - Washington DC, District of Columbia

The beach is close to Santa Marta, but there is no beauty as other Beaches of Tayrona have. Not worth coming there, invest another hour and go further.

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