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Things to do in Santa Marta

Things to do in  Santa Marta

Welcome to Santa Marta

White sand beaches and blue opal ocean are not the only reasons to visit this coastal marvel in Colombia. It’s South America-meets-the Caribbean, which makes for a truly unique cultural experience. Oh, and did we tell you that there’s an ancient lost city ruin nearby? In a jungle? Sign us up.

Top 14 attractions in Santa Marta

#1
Lost City (Ciudad Perdida)

Lost City (Ciudad Perdida)

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Deep within the Sierra Nevada, the Lost City (Ciudad Perdida is an indigenous archaeological site accessible only via a challenging multi-day trek through the surrounding jungle. Prepare to wade through waterfalls and climb more than 1,000 stone steps to reach the secluded ruins, where you’re rewarded with panoramic views.More
#2
Tayrona National Park (Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona)

Tayrona National Park (Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona)

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Ruins, reefs, mangroves, and beaches make up the 37,000-acre Tayrona National Park, one of Colombia’s most popular ecotourism destinations. Visit to hike along the coast, relax on the beaches, snorkel among the coral reefs, or simply disconnect from daily life.More
#3
Crystal Beach (Playa Cristal)

Crystal Beach (Playa Cristal)

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Part of Tayrona National Park, Crystal Beach (Playa Cristal is a white-sand haven that provides ideal conditions for swimming and snorkeling. Marine life off Crystal Beach (Playa Cristal includes sea turtles, dolphins, and several species of fish. Even without spotting one of these creatures, the coral and sponges of the reef provide colorful underwater scenes.More
#4
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park

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Just off the coast of northern Colombia, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park is home to a wealth of endangered flora and fauna as well as the world’s highest coastal peak. Dominated by mountains and popular among hikers, this UNESCO-recognized national park is home to bird reserves, archaeological ruins, and indigenous villages.More
#5
Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino

Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino

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The final resting place of South American liberator Simón Bolívar, the 17th-century Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino is now a historical landmark, museum, gallery, and botanical garden containing over 200 works of contemporary South American art. See where Bolívar took his last breath, marvel over antique artefacts, wander the expansive gardens, and admire artworks from the countries that Bolívar liberated.More
#6
El Rodadero

El Rodadero

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Backed by luxury high-rise hotels and popular among Colombian travelers, El Rodadero is a lively, local alternative to the internationally popular Playa Blanca.More
#7
Tayrona Gold Museum (Museo del Oro Tairona)

Tayrona Gold Museum (Museo del Oro Tairona)

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Housed in the restored 16th-century former Customs House—itself one of the oldest buildings in the Americas—the Tayrona Gold Museum (Museo del Oro Tairona) offers an insight into the region’s history. Admire a vast collection of pre-Columbian gold and pottery, while learning about the indigenous Tairona people.More
#8
Playa Blanca

Playa Blanca

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Backed by verdant mountains and lined with swaying palms, Playa Blanca is a tropical paradise situated just outside of Santa Marta. Go for a swim in the calm waters, enjoy a fresh seafood lunch, and relax under a thatched roof palapa for a quieter alternative to El Rodadero Beach.More
#9
Carlos El Pibe Valderrama Statue

Carlos El Pibe Valderrama Statue

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Former Colombian football player Carlos El PibeValderrama is known for his athletic ability and his outgoing personality, and this 22-foot-tall bronze statue of him in his hometown conveys both qualities. He is known as “El Pibe” or “the kid” and for his blond curly head of hair. His distinct personality has made him one of the most recognizable figures in football worldwide. Part of the Colombian national team in the 1990s, he represented Colombia in several international tournaments and became known for his skills in passing and accuracy in assisting. He is one of few foreign players who joined Major League Soccer in the United States.His statue is the work of Colombian artist Amilkar Ariza, standing tall outside the Estadio Eduardo Santos in Santa Marta. It was erected in 2006 in honor of his contributions to Colombian national sports.More
#10
Santa Marta Historic Center (Centro Historico de Santa Marta)

Santa Marta Historic Center (Centro Historico de Santa Marta)

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Sandwiched between picturesque beaches and lush mountains, Santa Marta is both the oldest surviving city in Colombia and a gateway to Tayrona National Park. Explore the UNESCO-recognized historic center on foot, making time to visit highlights such as the 18th century cathedral, Tayrona Gold Museum (Museo de Oro Tairona), and Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino.More
#11
Marine World Aquarium (Mundo Marino Acuario)

Marine World Aquarium (Mundo Marino Acuario)

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With more than 200 species on display, Santa Marta’s Marine World Aquarium (Mundo Marino Acuario) is a must for nature lovers of all ages. Discover sharks, turtles, starfish, octopuses, seabirds, and more, while learning about conservation efforts in the region.More
#12
Taganga

Taganga

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A small Colombian fishing village-turned-beach hangout, laidback Taganga is a hub for party-loving backpackers and scuba divers alike. Use Taganga as an affordable jumping-off point for exploration of Tayrona National Park, Ciudad Perdida, or mountainous Minca, before returning to admire the sunset from one of Taganga’s many beach bars.More
#13
Nabusimake

Nabusimake

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At the heart of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Nabusimake—the spiritual home of the Arhuaco people—is a secluded indigenous village which few outsiders get to experience. Known for virgin landscapes and wattle-and-daub homes, this sacred settlement is mostly closed off to the outside world.More
#14
Barranquilla

Barranquilla

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Barranquilla, Colombia’s fourth-largest city, is also one of its most vibrant. Home to the country's largest port, this industrialized city sits where the Magdalena River meets the Caribbean Sea. The city is most famous for its Carnival, second in size to Rio de Janeiro’s and recognized by UNESCO for its Intangible Cultural Heritage.More

Recent reviews from experiences in Santa Marta

star-5
Awesome and safe private transfer!
Anisha_K, Dec 2021
Private transportation service from Santa Marta to Cartagena
He spoke good English and was a safe driver who knew the fastest way to get there.
star-5
Just go!
Michael_G, May 2022
Full-Day Hiking Tour in Minca with coffee & Cocoa Workshop
They spoke almost perfect English as well.
star-5
Minca Perfect Ending to our Trip!
Jennifer_J, Feb 2021
Full Day Sierra Minca
The took amazing pictures of us at the Minka Waterfalls and made sure we had plenty of time at each stop.
star-4
Ciudad Perdida, a great adventure. My advice, just do it.
Michael_D, Dec 2020
Hike for 4 days to the Lost City, Santa Marta
As young aspirants to see and do the 'so much' of our planet they seemed to love spending time chatting with me about places on Earth that had felt my feet and known my tears at the sheer beauty we have around us.
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