Santa Marta is a city where you stop to visit the Tayrona Park. I had read in many reviews and opinions that this “stage” town was of little interest. But I do not agree at all! This city has charm, cultural riches (the oldest city in Colombia) and especially a Caribbean identity well marked! It is famous for its atmosphere and for its ideal location between Tayrona Park and the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains. If you’re still wondering what to see in Santa Marta or what to do in Santa Marta, read on …
What to see in Santa Marta? The historic center
The historic center of Santa Marta with its colonial houses and squares dedicated to Simon Bolivar (died in Santa Marta in 1830) is friendly and worth the visit!
From our hotel we were able to walk through the historic center on foot in the morning.
We used the map given by the hotel and visited the Cathedral, Simon Bolivar Square, the Gold Museum, the Los Novios Park.
What to do in Santa Marta? Prepare your trip to Tayrona Park
That’s what we did in the afternoon. I knew we could take the bus from the market to the park and fend for ourselves. We locate the places. We learn that the bus runs every 20 minutes and that it will drop us at the main entrance of the Park. The price is 8 000 COP is about 2.50 Euros.
We learn that entry to the Tayrona Park costs 54,500 COP (about 16 Euros). It will then add the price of a minibus 15,000 COP (4 Euros) to save 4 km of walking at the entrance of the Park.
Back at the hotel we will check the information and the progress of the visit on the aviatur website: http://www.parquetayrona.com.co/contenidos/parque-tayrona
We will take the bus at 7:00 am (opening of the park at 8:00 am) and think about taking water and our passports.
What to do in Santa Marta? Prepare your excursion for the Cienaga Grande
I wanted to organize for the day of Monday, August 13 (ie 2 days later since we were on Saturday) an excursion to the Cienaga Grande nature reserve of Magdalena. It is a huge mangrove with hundreds of birds and 300 families of fishermen traditionally live in houses on stilts.
I thought we would easily find a local agency that would offer us this excursion. But after questioning them all, we could not count on any Santa Marta branch office.
Disappointed but still stubborn, I decided not to give up. So I went back on the Internet and I made requests to all the agencies on the net who were in the region of Santa Marta hoping to get a quick answer …
Where to change money in Santa Marta?
After our installation, 2 priorities: buy water and change Euros.
To buy cheap water (870 COP the bottle of 1,5 l is 25 cents instead of 3,000 COP in cafes or restaurants (1 €), we go to the supermarket EL EXITO Carrera 5 No. 19-20, 10 minutes walk from our hotel This supermarket is open every day, even on Sundays.
In the gallery, there are 2 ATMs where you can withdraw our Euros (in front of the crates and in the small café on the right of the crates). This is where we will fill our portfolios again.
Cheap restaurants in Santa Marta
- To eat fast and really cheap (for 1 or 2 Euros), you can enjoy the Cafeteria on the floor of Exito supermarket.
- For next to the hotel you are spoiled for choice as the restaurants are everywhere with great prices and nice terraces facing the beach. We eat for 5 Euros but do not expect great food. It’s “comida corriente” or pizza or fast food. We regret our trout on patacon of the coffee region.
- To eat cheap at about ten minutes from our hotel, we were at Caribbean Wings Calle 17 # 2- 59. The atmosphere is very nice, the food rich and varied.
- To eat in the air of good burgers or fresh salads, we discovered Radio Burger Carrera 3 # 18-52 on the Parque de los Novios. In a set dedicated to music, we enjoyed being able to eat in the freshness of air conditioning (which we could not do on the terrace …). Well, it’s true that it’s fast food, but it’s so nice to eat in the cool at 40 ° C to 13h!
Cheap hotel in Santa Marta
We chose the Park Hotel on Carrera 1 # 18-67 which is right on the beach. If the beach is beautiful especially at sunset, do not look to the right because we see in the background of industrial infrastructure not very aesthetic …
But this hotel is very well placed because in the heart of the historic center, shops, restaurants and various activities.
It is a bit dated but certainly with large rooms clean, air conditioned and well equipped (TV, fridge, wardrobe, safe …). Its small pool is nice because in Santa Marta it is very hot!
As we were given a room that did not correspond to the booking description, we asked for another room. And there, bingo !!! They offer us a nice suite without extra charge. And here we say that this hotel knows how to do with tourists and it is really the right plan!
Discover in the articles that follow our
and our wonderful excursion to the