Santa Marta travel guide

Santa Marta Tourism | Santa Marta Guide

You're Going to Love Santa Marta

The northern city of Santa Marta is known for its pristine beaches, diverse ecosystem, and beautifully preserved nature parks. Thousands visit Colombia every year to enjoy the many outdoor activities and sports associated with Santa Marta's landscape.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Santa Marta

1. Tayrona National Natural Park

Explore some of the most beautiful beaches, coves, lagoons, and rainforests in this large area of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

2. Minca

Visit this charming town nestled in the mountains that overlook Santa Marta and kick back at one of the many restaurants and bars.

3. Acuario Mundo Marino

Take your time to understand Colombia's rich aquatic diversity through this aquarium's many interactive exhibits and shows.

4. Scuba Diving

Get away from the touristy Rodadero Beach to dive among some of Colombia's best coral reefs in Taganga.

5. Museo Bolivariano de Arte Contemporáneo

Browse the work of modern Latin American artists at this hacienda-turned-contemporary art museum.

Where to Eat in Santa Marta

Asadero Camarita, near Minca, is a great restaurant serving BBQ pork for around COL$12,000-14,000, including side dishes.

When to visit Santa Marta

Santa Marta in April
Estimated hotel price
1 night at 3-star hotel
Santa Marta in April
Estimated hotel price
1 night at 3-star hotel

The best times to visit are from January to March or June to August due to the clear skies and dry weather.

Data provided by weatherbase
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Santa Marta


The Simón Bolívar International Airport (CCS) is located 10 miles outside of the city. Most visitors take a taxi from the airport to their hotel or accommodation.


Motorway 90 will take you from Barranquilla to Santa Marta in just over two hours.


The Santa Marta Bus Terminal is a 30-minute drive outside of the city center. Cochetur has services between Santa Marta and cities like Cartagena and Barranquilla; the trip lasts between 3-5 hours. One-way tickets cost COL$50,000.

Airlines serving Santa Marta

United Airlines
Good (2,307 reviews)
Good (1,044 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (3,758 reviews)
Excellent (2,544 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (930 reviews)
Good (529 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (456 reviews)
Spirit Airlines
Good (2,278 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (557 reviews)
Good (637 reviews)
Good (768 reviews)
Copa Airlines
Good (393 reviews)
Good (158 reviews)
Good (40 reviews)
Excellent (2 reviews)
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Where to stay in Santa Marta

Emerald Green Guest House looks like an Irish castle with lovely room decor. Casa Loma Minca Hostel has beautiful views from the mountains and rooms ranging from dorms to private suites.

Popular neighbourhoods in Santa Marta

Rodadero - this area has some of the most popular beaches in the city as well as many hotels, bars, and restaurants.

Tayrona - visit this area to venture into the National Park's protected jungles and beaches.

El Dorado - this region is popular for bird watching and is one of the most important bird reserves in the world.

Where to stay in popular areas of Santa Marta

Most booked hotels in Santa Marta

Hotel Boutique Casa Carolina
Excellent (9.1, Excellent reviews)
Tayrona Paradise
Excellent (9.1, Excellent reviews)
Mercure Santa Marta Emile
Excellent (8.9, Excellent reviews)
Zuana Beach Resort
Excellent (8.8, Excellent reviews)
Hotel Tamacá Beach Resort
Excellent (8.6, Excellent reviews)
Villa Maria Tayrona, a Kali Hotels
Excellent (8.5, Excellent reviews)
See all hotels

How to Get Around Santa Marta

Public Transportation

Tickets cost between COL$3-5,000 for your journey depending on the end destination, and can be paid to the driver upon entering the bus.


Taxis in Colombia do not run by meter, but instead by time spent in the car. Rides can cost between COL$3,500 to COL$20,000, depending on your negotiating skills.


Rental car prices start at COL$45,000 per day and can be picked up at any of the main transportation centers.

Car hire agencies in Santa Marta


Find car hire in Santa Marta

The Cost of Living in Santa Marta

Shopping Streets

Many visitors enjoy buying souvenirs from individual vendors along Rodadero Beach; be prepared to bargain. The Ocean Mall is the biggest mall with bigger name brands and international stores.

Groceries and Other

The two main food stores are Éxito Santa Marta Centro and Supermercado Rapimercar. A dozen eggs costs COL$3,500.

Cheap meal
A pair of jeans
Single public transport ticket