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As one approaches the northern coast of South America from the Caribbean Sea, a majestic landscape unfurls on the horizon. The Sierra Nevada Mountains, with their lushly forested slopes, form an awe-inspiring backdrop to the city of Santa Marta. The dense jungles are the site of what is famously known as "The Lost City", Ciudad Perdida, the pre-Hispanic, spiritual home of Colombia's Tayrona Indians. Another major draw card is Santa Marta's proximity to the sea. It is one of Colombia's most popular resort towns, with long, sandy beaches, a warm climate, good value Santa Marta hotels and a laid-back ethos. >> Check out our customer feedback and book with us!
The city of Santa Marta lies along the coast, replete with features reminiscent of its colonial past. Further afield, banana and coffee plantations stretch out as far as the eye can see. These have been the dominant crops cultivated in the region since the days of Santa Marta's Spanish conquerors. The picturesque bay of Rodadero and Santa Marta's downtown area are colourful, lively areas; the warm hospitality of the locals welcoming you at the Santa Marta hotels, renowned all over Latin America for their traditional courtesy and impeccable Spanish, makes for an extremely pleasant and visitor-friendly ambience.
While at one time the region's economy was largely dependent on its banana plantations, in modern times it is tourism that is increasingly important. Given the city's vibrant, colourful vegetation, its varied topography and the emerald beauty of the Caribbean, it's not surprising that Santa Marta has earned the nickname, "Pearl of the Americas".
Besides growing in stature as a tourist destination, Santa Marta is also an important trading port. The harbour bustles with the arrival and departure of innumerable cargo ships. In recent years, there are an increasing number of cruise ships as well, docking at the marina, bringing in leisure travellers by the legion. From the beach, there are stunning views of the Caribbean Sea to the west. An enormous rock, big enough to be called an island, juts dramatically out of the water. To the right is the port, tucked away behind an even larger rock. Then there is Santa Marta's city beach - crowded, noisy and fun.
Two city attractions well worth a visit are the aquarium and a grand hacienda where Simón Bolívar spent his final days. Essentially however, Santa Marta is a take-off point for other attractions close by. El Rodadero, to Santa Marta's south is an upscale beach resort. To the north is the picturesque fishing village of Taganga. Further to the northeast is the fabulous Parque Nacional Tayrona. Trips and Santa Marta tours to Ciudad Perdida (the "Lost City"), Tayrona's fabled, pre-Hispanic city are also organised from here and are a must as it is a highlight of a trip to Colombia. You can use our Santa Marta map to choose your hotel in Santa Marta to ensure you stay close to what you wish to see and do on your Santa Marta holiday.
Prior to the arrival of the Spanish, native Indian groups like the Karib and the Arawak inhabited this territory. Among these indigenous peoples, the Tayrona Indians were the most evolved in terms of social organisation, economy, religion and government. The Tayrona also developed terraced fields and a complex irrigation system that would sustain their agriculture.
Santa Marta's superb natural harbour and splendid views were not the only reasons for the Spanish choosing to build their first settlement here. It was also the irresistible lure of gold. The Tayrona Indians were skilled goldsmiths and Rodrigo de Bastidas, thanks to his prior expeditions, was well aware of the immense treasure to be found here. Today, some of these ancient indigenous works, which escaped getting shipped to Spain, can be viewed in Santa Marta's Museo Del Oro, located in the Bank of the Republic, as part of the Treasures exhibits.
Santa Marta was also a convenient gateway for further Spanish explorations into the Colombian hinterland. In 1536, Jiménez de Quesada embarked from here on an arduous expedition to the Magdalena Valley, to found the city of Bogotá two years later.
Santa Marta has a hot climate. In the evenings though, sea breezes blowing into the coast bring down the temperature, making it wonderfully conducive for the simple pleasure of strolling around the streets, savouring street food, or hanging out with friends at the open-air cafés on the beach front, over beer or a glass of fresh juice.
Check out our Santa Marta hotel listings for a full range of accommodation in Santa Marta. We also offer a range of exciting tours in Santa Marta for travellers to explore this unique destination. We have a range from simple budget Santa Marta hostels through to luxury resorts and hotels in Santa Marta. You can book your Santa Marta accommodation and Santa Marta tours quickly and with confidence through our Santa Marta hotels site.
From: USD 105
This beautiful beach apartment is located at the beach of Los Angeles, next to the Tayrona National Park in Santa Marta. It is the ideal accommodation for couples and small traveler groups who want to enjoy privacy and ecotourism next to a natural beach area and the Caribbean Sea.[more info]
From: USD 84
The lodge at the beach of Cabo San Juan within the Tayrona National Park has some of the best views of the sea. Cabo San Juan del Guía is definitely one of the most beautiful and best beached to swim in - without any worries or dangers - in the entire park[more info]
From: USD 366
Eco Hotel Merecumbe is a luxury eco cabana in Santa Marta full of comfort and privacy, in the middle of exuberant tropical vegetation and right next to the beach. It is also close to the estuary mouth of theBuritaca and Tayrona National Park. Eco Hotel Merecumbe is deluxe spot for relaxation in nature; an oasis of tranquility on the beaches of the Sierra Nevadas of Santa Marta.[more info]
From: USD 343
These paradisiacal and exclusive ecohabs are located right next to the beach of Cañaveral in the Tayrona National Park. It is a luxury ecotourism accommodation with dream views, where you can enjoy privacy and full comfort of one of the most spectacular natural areas of Santa Marta and Colombia.[more info]
Apartment Rodadero is a holiday apartment right next to the beach of Rodadero in Santa Marta. It is completely furnished and offers all comforts like air- conditioning and a terrace with view of the Sea. It's a great accommodation for travelers who are looking for an economic place to stay for a relaxing holiday with your couple, family or friends.[more info]
From: USD 85
This nice apartment is perfect for 4-6 people who want to enjoy their holidays in Santa Marta in a private and comfortable way, only one block from the beautiful beach of Rodadero. The apartment offers a sea view and all the necesary tourist infrastructure you need for a great vacation![more info]
From: USD 239
Enjoy full privacy, incredible ocean views and all comforts at this spectacular beach house and experience a dream vacation! It is located on a rock at the beach Ios Naranjos, from where you may enjoy incredible views of the Caribbean Sea, the river and the magical surrounding area of the Tayrona Park in Santa Marta, while relaxing on your private terrace or in the pools.[more info]
This beautiful beach house of big dimensions is located in the most exclusive zone of Santa Marta. It has been very well- kept and it offers all types of comforts and services for great stay in the Colombian Caribbean. It is an ideal accommodation option for large groups and events.[more info]
In the morning, you will discover the picturesque town of Minca on the way to the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, exotic birds and flowers and the refreshing waterfalls of Marinca...and in the afternoon, you will experience the beauty of the caribbean coast by the wonderful Bahia Concha beach in the Tayrona National Park, where you can swim, snorkel, enjoy the sun and delcious seafood...
We complete the day with a panoramic tour through the city of Santa Marta and a short visit to Taganga, the cute fishermen village in a romantic bay to enjoy the sunset...[more info]
This Santa Marta tour package includes a visit to the Tayronaka reservation of the Tayrona descendants, the Koguis, in the morning, where you also will enjoy delicious local dishes and the refreshing river Diego....in the afternoon, you will experience the beaches of the area of the Tayrona National Park like Los Angeles, los Naranjos, Casagrande or Buritaca and the natural pools of the waterfalls of Valencia...
At the end of the day, we will realise a panoramic tour through the city of Santa Marta and a short visit to Taganga, the cute fishermen village in a romantic bay to enjoy the sunset...[more info]
This tour is an amazing combination so that you can enjoy Santa Marta's most beautiful natural places in only one tour and at a special rate: The Tayrona National Park and the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta...[more info]
Hola from Santa Marta!
Hola! Meet Oliver Blanco, and the team from Las Pleyades -- your local connection in Santa Marta, Colombia, the pearl of the Colombian Caribbean. We are excited about the opportunity to share the very best of Santa Marta and the surrounding region with you. We hope that by offering a selection of high-quality accommodations, tours, and experiences involving our local communities, we can give visitors the great satisfaction of enjoying a wonderful holiday while contributing directly to the well-being and sustainability of our incredible destination.
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Customer FeedbackFabiola was exceedingly helpful -- answering all my questions in a kind and timely manner.
Mrs Michelle A. - United States