Santa Marta

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Santa Marta is a city in the Magdalena Department of Colombia's Costa Norte.

11.243725 -74.206898
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Hotels

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  • 2 star hotels 2 star hotel
  • 1 star hotels 1 star hotel

Cities

  • Metropolis over 100 hotels
  • Big city 50-100 hotels
  • Medium city 20-50 hotels
  • Small city 5-20 hotels
  • Village below 5 hotels

Points of Interest

  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
  • Interesting place Interesting place
  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

Points of Interest in Santa Marta

  •    Museo del Oro, Calle 14 No.2-67 (on plaza Bolivar). Displays a collection of precolumbian pottery, a nice collection of gold and a scale model of Ciudad Perdida. Free entrance.
  • Simon Bolivar's place of death (Take a bus for 1,000 COP or taxi for 4,000 COP). Beautiful and very interesting gardens, lots of iguanas, study the map before getting any further. The guide will tell you only about the buildings and the history of the "Libertador". Entrance 12,000 COP.

Santa Marta Cathedral

Rodadero Beach

Tairona Gold Museum

Customs House

Parque de Los Novios

Simon Bolivar Park

Taganga Beach

Marina Santa Marta

Blanca Beach

Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino

Concha Bay

Rodadero Sea Aquarium and Museum

Ciudad Perdida

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park

panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners

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About Santa Marta

Background

Santa Marta an important commercial port and tourist destination. Every day, there are cargo ships coming and going and the action is very much visible. From the beach, the view of the Caribbean Sea is more or less to the west (beautiful sunsets) with a huge rock of an island jutting up out of the water to make a somewhat dramatic effect. Off to the right is the port snug behind another even bigger rock. This is a decent beach if you like beaches that are right in town with lots of people, vendors, and noise. Vendors are rather aggressive if you are on the beach.

Aside from the old center, the main attractions of Santa Marta are its two resort-like suburbs El Rodadero, to the south, and Taganga, to the north. El Rodadero has several high-end hotels and private "clubs" that cater mostly to wealthy Colombians, whereas Taganga was originally a fishing village and is very popular with (mostly foreign) backpackers. Taganga has many scuba-diving agencies.

There is a high season and low season. High season is December through April, with its peak from mid-December to late January (due to school and university vacations).

Activities

  • The nearby coral reefs provides good possibilities for scuba diving. All the scuba diving operators are at Taganga, so you'll need to go there to shop around (prices are very different from one to another). You can follow the PADI course (3-4 days), or just go for a 1-day dive (no licence required).
  • On the beaches, you can usually rent a jet ski in increments of 10 minutes. If you are not comfortable operating one, you can usually ask for a ride around. Life jackets are provided.
  • Neotropical Spanish School at Casa Scania: small size Spanish School focused on quality, 8 USD/hour with one student per teacher,6 USD per person in small groups.Course material,hot and cold drinks included.Study visits to Cartagena, Tayrona etc available. Casa Scania Calle 21 3-88 (between Carrera 3 and 4) Central Santa Marta. For more info see homepage:Neotropical [1] For reservations: elsaligia@hotmail.com
  • Ciser Martinez is a certified native speaker teacher. The schedules can be customized according to your itinerary. For more details you can e-mail to cimartin1@hotmail.com or call ☎ (57)320 519 7063 [2]!
  • Paola Mendoza is a private Spanish teacher who offers you Spanish lessons one to one in Santa Marta or Taganga. More information spanishclassesinsantamarta@gmail.com [3]
  • Visit Santa Marta's most beautiful natural places by day toursSanta Marta Day Trips [4]
  • Birdwatching at the world famous El Dorado bird reserve above Minca ProAves [5]
  • Spanish Teacher Santa Marta (Amira Paola Melo), Santa Marta & Taganga,  +57 3014928766, e-mail: spanishteachersantamarta@gmail.com. flexible. Certified and experienced teacher offers private lessons

Food

There are a lot of eating options. They seem to be good at roasting and grilling chicken. They do a good job of grilling beef tough but flavorful. Seafood is plentiful and relatively inexpensive lots of shrimp and seafood cocktail vendors. Most varieties of fruit are available even what is more common to cold climates. At night street vendors sell all types of snacks pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, shakes, kabobs, rice in milk with coco, fried stuffed doughy things, etc.. Coffee, hot chocolate, and both hot cinnamon and lemon is omni-present.

  • Restaurante El Españolete. Calle 13 no 2-45

Excellent Spanish food. Specialized in paellas, tapas and grilled meat. The owner, Toni, is from Valencia, Spain, and he can cook the real paella at a very reasonable price (less than $15 per person). His wife, Alexa, is Colombian and her smothies are the best (she uses fresh passion fruit, mango, and other varieties of tropical fruits). They are both really nice and provide their customers with helpful tips to visit the best places in Santa Marta. Lunch menu is about $5. The restaurant is housed in a colonial building and it is even haunted by a ghost!

  • La Tasca - Tapas Bar, Calle 18 No 2- 72. Run by a spaniard, this small and cosy restaurant offers an excellent selection of typical spanish tapas at a fair price. It is a real experience for the palate of both locals and tourists.
  • Agave Azul - Sabores de Mexico, Calle 14 No 3-74 phone 431 6121. Very good Mexican food prepared by fabulous New York trained chef Michael McMurdo. With a range from burritos to steaks to seafood this very elegant food will blow your mind but not break the bank. With lunch menu for $4 and dinner menu from $8 to $13. Open Tu-F for lunch and dinner and Saturday for dinner only. Happy Hour Margaritas 2X1 from 5-7 everyday.
  • Merkabar / Welcome Restaurant, Calle 10 No 2-11. Good combination of local and gringo food. Good breakfasts, cheap filling lunches, and their famous "sopa del mar", soup overflowing with seafood. Their fruit juices are excellent. Gilberto, one of the brothers that owns and runs Merkabar, speaks English and is friendly and helpful with tourist needs.
  • Ben & Josep´s bar & restaurant Carrera 1 # 18-67. (Dutch owner) On the beach road in front of the Park Hotel. The very best steak (filet mignon)in Santa Marta. Fine dining for a reasonable price.
  • Restaurante El Escorial. A good restaurant is in the middle of the block behind the beach on 11th street
  • Restaurante y Pescadería Manuel - Carrera 1A # 26-167, Santa Marta. 5-4231449. Very nice seafood.
  • Restaurante El Santo Calle 21 - 2a 52 Centro Histórico, Santa Marta 5-423-6170 One of the few places in SM with good tender Argentinan meat and nice wine. Argentinan and Islandic owner. Very nice and welcoming.Check them out at Facebook: [6]
  • Tim's Gourmet Coffee Shop Cra 1A 23-57 only 50 m from the entrance of the Marina in downtown Santa Marta. You´ll get free Wi-Fi while you´re having a Fresh coffee made by beans direct from the organic growers on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada,Western Canadian/German pasteries and European style breakfasts daily until 2PM. Crepes and Deli Sandwiches all day. Phone:(5)431 5446 Cell: 311 663 3858 E-mail timscoffee@tayronadevelopments.ca Homepage: http://www.timsgourmetcoffee.com Opens at 7.15AM everyday.

Tim's Owls Den Pub open until 10PM weekdays. 2AM Friday & Saturday. 2 X 1 cocktails.

Street Food:

  • Excellent seafood soup from a man at the corner of 13th st. and 4th Carr (diagonally opposite the small church.. next to sunglasses vendors. You'll see huge pots of soup). Very cheap and delicious, but only in mornings. Sells out by noon.
  • There is a man who has been sitting on 14th street between 3rd and 4th carrera (behind the beach) selling shrimp cocktail at a reasonable price for 23 years.
  • There is another man who has been sitting on 22th street on 1st carrera (in front of the beach) selling a delicious shrimp cocktail at a reasonable price and he is very reliable and well known in the city.

Drinks

  •    Seko Bar, Calle 19 4-11, Santa Marta. Good music, cocktails, excellent prices, slightly insane. Very popular.
  • Santo Domingo, Calle 17 No. 3 - 70 near the cathedral.. The best place to party in Santa Marta. The owners are super nice, they will personally attend. The owners are two Spanish. That women more beautiful and rumba, to good music and really nice atmosphere.I always found it a good show. Thanks Elena and Kike.
  • Crab's Bar, Calle 18 No. 3-69 (between Carr 3 & 4). a fun rock n' roll bar. The Colombian owner (who is a spitting image of Neil Young) used to own a large rock club in Bogotá, but he sold it to settle down here. Every evening he VJ's videos of all the great classic rock bands. Friendly staff, great vibe, nice decor.
  • Burukuka. A trendy nightclub on the way towards El Rodadero. Burukuka sits on top of a hill overlooking the sea, with a great terrace. It's a high-end place, so dress appropriately. Also serves food. Vía al Edificio Cascadas del Rodadero, just out of town, to the south.

The drink of choice is, of course, beer. Because Santa Marta can get brutally hot during the summer (upwards of 35 C/95F), it is a good idea to constantly have a bottle of water with you. During the evenings, when it gets cooler, beer and friends is often an excellent combination. It would be good idea to take a couple of "Stubbie Coolers" (Australian vernacular for an item which keeps the beer in your bottle cooler or longer) as the heat will have you drinking warm beer by the time you are at the end of your drink.

Soft drinks can be found at nearly every restaurant - sometimes you can even pick it up in glass bottles. They are cheap: a Drink usually costs no more than 2,000 COP.

Ask about Ben´s Bar on the Beach. Barrio Samario, La Puerta, and El Garage.

Shopping

Santa Marta is famous for its beach sellers. someone can go to the beach 365 days a year, there are always people wandering up and down the beach selling anything. The beaches in the northern suburb El Rodadero have aggressive sellers, take this as an opportunity to haggle. Usually aim for 2000-3000 Pesos below the price asked.

If you are planning to go to Tayrona and need to buy snorkeling gear, you'll be disappointed to see only a couple of very basic Chinese packs, the same in all the shops. If you decide to buy them, the cheapest prices are in a kitchenware shop at calle 15 with carrera 3 (15COP for the "good" one).

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Santa Marta on Wikivoyage.

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