If you’ve heard about Santa Marta in Colombia, you’ve probably never heard anything good. Before going there everyone told us, ” don’t stay there long, it’s dirty, we didn’t like it there” etc. but when I arrived, I found it to be like any normal city. Yes, dirtier than Cartagena, but that’s like comparing apples and oranges. Cartagena has people working 24-7 cleaning the streets and it’s one of the most visited parts of Colombia. Santa Marta is an authentic city, with hunndreds of vendors lining the main street of Carerra 5, it made me feel like I was in New York. Maybe that’s why I didn’t hate it. I love New York.
There’s not a whole bunch to do in Santa Marta and most backpackers use it as a base for other activities. Many hostels will store your bags for a few days while you venture out on different excursions with only a small day pack.
Here’s some things to do in Santa Marta, Colombia:
- Walk around the historic centre
- Go to Parque de Los Novios – People watch while from the patios on the surrounding restaurants while having a few drinks during happy hour or eating at one of the many restaurants
- Walk to the beach – swim in it if you dare lol
- Get outside of the most touristy parts of the centre and try to find a great menu del dia
Things you can do using Santa Marta as a base:
- The Lost City trek (Ciudad Perdida) a four day trek considered to be the most adventurous option of trekking excursions the Sierra Nevada jungle.
- Camp at Tayrona national park on Cabo San Juan beach – Click here for everything you need to know.
- Go to Taganga for a day of exploration under the sea scuba diving. We went with Poseidon Dive centre and it was awesome!
- Discover Minca – a short 45 min drive away, this town used to be cut off to everyone except locals as it was a guerilla group territory. It’s only been open to backpackers for about seven years now. There’s a lot of great hikes you can do. Casa Elemento has a great hammock over the jungle where you can get a great pic for the gram and you can have lunch there with access to it if you don’t want to stay there overnight.
Let me know if you have anything else to add to the list!