What to See in Santa Marta (Colombia)

According to Payhelpcenter.com, Santa Marta is located on the Caribbean coast of Colombia in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Santa Marta is known as one of the main tourist destinations on the Caribbean coast. The city is the capital of the department of Magdalena and an important seaport in Colombia. Santa Marta was founded on July 29, 1525 by the Spanish conquistador Rodrigo de Bastidas and became the first major Spanish settlement in these places. Before the arrival of the Spaniards, the Tayrona Indians lived here, who were known as excellent goldsmiths. Small communities of descendants of the Tayrona Indians still live in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

To Santa Marta you can see several dozen buildings of the colonial era and the Cathedral of Santa Marta of the 17th and 18th centuries. Be sure to visit the Tyrone Heritage Center for information about the Indians of the region. A favorite place for walking is the Bastidas promenade, on which there are numerous restaurants.

5 km from Santa Marta is Villa La Villa de San Pedro Alejandrino, where the first president of Colombia, Simon Bolivar, died on December 17, 1830. Today, a vast park has been laid out here and a small Bolivar Museum has been opened, where art objects are exhibited, which were presented to the museum by the heads of the countries whose independence Simon Bolivar fought for.

Around Santa Marta, numerous resort areas with white sand beaches stretch along the coasts: Playas Cristal, Playas Grande, Arrecifes, El Rodadero and Taganga. The best beaches are located in El Rodarero, and the fishing village of Taganga is famous for its restaurants. The waters of the Caribbean coast are calm as they are surrounded by coral reefs. There are several dive sites in the vicinity of Taganga: Punta Venado (coral gardens, underwater caves), Casa Camargo (largest coral formations on the coast, night dives), Aguja Island (best underwater visibility, barracudas, lobsters, moray eels), Morrito Largo (black corals, diving depth up to 40 m) and the sunken cargo ship “El Barco Hundido” (immersion depth 29 m, vessel length 33 m). Diving here is possible all year round, but the best underwater visibility (up to 30 m) is observed from December to April. Tayrona National Park, located 34 km east of Santa Marta, is also famous for its beaches and dive sites.. The park covers an area of 15,000 hectares, 3,000 hectares of which are on the water surface. The landscapes of the park combine the most beautiful coasts of the Caribbean Sea, deep bays and coconut groves. There are 108 mammal species, 300 bird species, 110 coral species and 400 fish species. The most common in the park are howler monkeys, oncilla tiger cats and bats, among the birds you can see white and lone eagles. The beaches of the Tayrona National Park are considered among the most beautiful in the world. The most popular beach areas are Bahia Concha, Neguange and Canaveral, and the last two have campsites for vacationers. Diving enthusiasts will be able to find a wide variety of corals and many tropical fish in the park. Diving depths at the local dive sites vary from 5 to 25 m.

From the south, the coast of the department of Magdalena is bordered by the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. These are the highest coastal mountain systems in the world, here is the highest point of the country – Mount Cristobal Colon (5800 m). The slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta are entangled in a network of hiking trails that converge in the famous National Archaeological Park of the Lost City (Teiyuna). The park is located about 50 km southeast of Santa Marta.. On its territory you can see the remains of hundreds of small Indian settlements that date back to the 7th century AD. The Lost City was discovered only in the second half of the 20th century, archaeological work is being carried out here to this day. The archaeological park consists of 250 terraces, which are divided into 8 zones. Urban areas are interconnected by a network of stone paths, stairs carved into the rocks, canals and bridges. In order to avoid the destruction of the city by rainwater flowing from the rocks, the Indians built drainage channels and high walls, which have also survived to this day. In addition to the archaeological park in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, it is worth visiting the isolated Indian villages of the Tayrona Indians, the Kogi (one of the most ancient ethnic groups in South America), the Aruacos, the Sanca and the Cancuama.

From Santa Marta you can go to the arid peninsula of Guajira. Of interest here are the 7,000-hectare Los Flamenco Nature Reserve, where you can watch flamingos and other birds, and the Macuira Mountains National Park, home to 150 species of birds, 17 of which are endemic.

Santa Marta (Colombia)