SANTA MARTA: Travel Guide

Discover the natural and cultural beauty of Santa Marta.

Table of content


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General information

Located on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, Santa Marta is a popular tourist destination known for its white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, lush mountains and rich cultural history.


Santa Marta has about 500,000 inhabitants


Santa Marta has a tropical climate with warm temperatures all year round, usually around 27°C. The rainy season extends from May to November, but rainfall is often brief and intense.


The official currency is the Colombian peso (COP).


Spanish is the official language in Colombia, and it is the language mainly spoken in Santa Marta. However, English is also spoken in tourist areas.

A bit of history

Santa Marta is a city with a rich history that dates back over 4,000 years. It was founded by the Tayrona natives and was an important ceremonial and cultural center for the region. The Tayrona left a remarkable legacy, including the Lost City, an ancient pre-Columbian city located in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

In 1525, the Spaniards founded the city of Santa Marta, making it one of the oldest colonial cities in South America. During the colonial period, the city was an important trading center for the Spaniards due to its strategic port. However, it has also been the scene of many conflicts with pirates and enemy fleets.

In the 19th century, Santa Marta played an important role in Colombia's struggle for independence from Spain. The city was the site of the famous Battle of Boyacá, which saw the independence forces take control of the region.

Over the years, Santa Marta has become a cosmopolitan city with a rich culture. The city has welcomed many immigrants from different regions of Colombia and around the world, which has contributed to the cultural diversity of the city. Today you can see this diversity in the city's architecture, music, cuisine and traditions.

santa marta

What to visit in Santa Marta

If you're planning on visiting Santa Marta, you'll be happy to know there's plenty to see and do in this bustling city. Here is a list of 4 must-visit places on your trip to Santa Marta.





When to visit Santa Marta

The best time to visit Santa Marta is from December to April, during the dry season.

What to do around Santa Marta

If you're looking to get out of town and explore the surrounding area of Santa Marta, you'll be pleased to know that there are plenty of activities and natural sights to discover in the area. Here is a list of 4 things to do around Santa Marta to experience the natural beauty of the area.




Our selection of accommodation in Santa Marta


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Our selection of Restaurant in Santa Marta

If you're looking for great food to add a splash of flavor to your stay in Santa Marta, you're in luck, as the town is full of quality restaurants. Here is our pick of 4 reputable restaurants in Santa Marta that are sure to satisfy your taste buds.


Events not to be missed in Santa Marta

There are several events not to be missed during a visit to Santa Marta. Here is our selection of two unmissable events:

Carnival of Santa Marta

The Carnival of Santa Marta is one of the most important events in the city, which takes place every year in February or March. It is considered one of the most authentic and traditional carnivals in Colombia. During the four days of festivities, the streets of the city are animated by parades of dances, music, colorful costumes and street performances.

santa marta sea party

The Sea Festival

This festival takes place every year in July and is one of the most important events in Santa Marta. Festivities include water sports competitions, outdoor concerts, art and cultural exhibits, and fireworks. This is an opportunity to discover the rich coastal culture of Santa Marta and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

Transportation in Santa Marta


Taxis are a very convenient means of transportation in Santa Marta. They are abundant and easily recognizable thanks to their yellow and black color. Taxis are metered and fares are regulated by the city, so there is no need to negotiate the fare.


Bus transport is a very common and economical means of transport in Santa Marta. The city has a well-developed bus network that makes it easy to get around the city and its surroundings.


There are different types of boats available in Santa Marta, ranging from small local fishing boats to large cruise ships. Fishing boats are often used for shorter trips and to get to the nearest beaches, while large cruise ships are used for longer trips and to visit remote islands like Isla del Rosario.

The cost of living in Santa Marta

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If you are planning a trip to Santa Marta, it is important to know the cost of living in this city of Colombia. Here is a small overview of the approximate costs for accommodation, food, transport and entertainment in Santa Marta, to help you plan your travel budget.


The cost of accommodation in Santa Marta varies depending on the season and the type of accommodation chosen. Youth hostels and bed and breakfasts are often cheaper than luxury hotels. Expect to pay between €10 and €50 per night for budget accommodation and between €50 and €150 for premium accommodation.


The cost of food in Santa Marta is generally affordable, with plenty of dining options available for those on a budget. A meal at a local restaurant can cost between €3 and €10, while high-end restaurants can charge between €15 and €40 for a full meal.


The cost of transport in Santa Marta is also affordable, with local buses and colectivos often costing less than €1. Taxis are also available at reasonable rates.


The costs of entertainment in Santa Marta vary depending on the activity chosen. Visits to tourist sites can cost between €5 and €15, while water activities such as scuba diving or windsurfing can cost between €20 and €50. Cultural events like the Carnival of Santa Marta can also cost a bit more.

Practical information

It is important to take safety precautions when visiting Santa Marta, as with all tourist destinations. Avoid carrying valuables or cash, especially in busy tourist areas. It is also recommended not to walk alone at night and to hire a taxi for your trips. In terms of convenience, be sure to bring an electrical adapter, as electrical outlets in Santa Marta are type A and B.


Travel insurance is especially important if you plan to travel to Santa Marta, Colombia.

Although the city is relatively safe for tourists, it is still possible to encounter unexpected situations such as health issues, lost or stolen luggage, or transportation delays.

In such cases, travel insurance can help you resolve the issues quickly and efficiently, without having to bear high costs or additional complications. 


When traveling to Santa Marta, it is important to take into account several practical aspects to manage your money in the best possible way. First of all, it is recommended to use ATMs to withdraw cash in Colombian pesos.

However, make sure to withdraw money from safe and well-lit locations such as shopping centers or banks. Avoid exchanging money in the streets or non-official locations as it can be risky and you may be scammed.

It is also important to travel with international credit or debit cards, such as Visa or Mastercard. Check with your bank for transaction fees that may apply to using these cards abroad. It is also recommended to notify your bank of your international travel to avoid any blockage of your card due to suspicious activity.

Finally, it is recommended to use online payment apps such as Revolut to avoid transaction fees and benefit from competitive exchange rates. Make sure to download the app and set it up before your trip to Colombia.

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