10 tourist sites in Santa Marta

10 tourist sites in Santa Marta

Places for Tourism in Santa Marta

Santa Marta awaits you with a charming mix of natural beauty and cultural treasures. Starting with the famous Tayrona National Park, you’ll find paradisiacal beaches, crystal-clear rivers, and waterfalls flowing from the majestic Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Not only that, but you can also get to know indigenous communities and towns, descendants of the Tayrona people, explore nature trails, enjoy spectacular views, and spot unique bird species. And to top off the experience, savor the delicious Caribbean cuisine!

Santa Marta Magdalena stands out for offering experiences such as ecotourism, rural tourism, indigenous tourism, ethnotourism, exciting adventures, and relaxing days at the beaches.

  1. El Rodadero

El Rodadero, recognized as an internationally acclaimed tourist destination for being one of the most charming bays in the world, is just 10 minutes away from the Colombian city. This wonderful resort is surrounded by lovely hotels and has won the hearts of travelers for its serene atmosphere, crystal-clear waters, and soft white sands that invite you to immerse yourself in shallow waters, perfect for swimming.

Apart from its daytime appeal, El Rodadero is famous for its lively nightlife. The area comes alive with a variety of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, along with musical performances along the beach. Safety is a priority in this place, as law enforcement provides exceptional protection both day and night.

  1. Ciudad Perdida

This destination is one of the most prominent in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. It is an ancient city built around 650 AD, home to the Tayrona indigenous community that inhabited this region for about 500 years until the arrival of the Spanish conquest, an event that unfortunately led to the massive extinction of this ancient community.

The Lost City, also known as Teyuna, is a sacred place for the indigenous people, emanating a special and mystical energy that makes it a magnificent site for purifying the spirit and recharging vital energies. Through a guided adventure with our Indigenous Guides, you can explore this place on a 4, 5, or 6-day expedition, depending on the tour choice and difficulty (Lost City Trek).

During the journey, covering altitudes between 900 and 1200 meters above sea level, you can appreciate the richness of fauna and flora in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The Indigenous Guides, bearers of ancestral knowledge, offer a unique perspective on nature and its surroundings.

The trekking presents three duration options, with walks of 8 to 10 hours daily. Prior physical preparation is advised as it represents a personal challenge, with the greatest satisfaction of reaching this ancestral city and capturing the best panoramic photos of these ancient archaeological ruins.

Access to the Lost City is restricted, and entry is only possible with an authorized guide. These guides know the special corners of the place and are responsible for preserving and protecting this area, protected by national organizations and indigenous ethnic groups.

The campsites have sanitary facilities, hot water, electricity, and a restaurant. Reservations for tours, hikes, trekking, and excursions with Indigenous Guides can be made online through our website.

We offer different options to explore this exceptional site:

  1. Tayrona National Park

10 tourist sites in Santa Marta Park tayrona

The Tayrona National Natural Park, located north of Colombia, just 34 kilometers from the city of Santa Marta, is a natural treasure that spans 15,000 hectares along the slopes of the majestic Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, reaching the shores of the Colombian Caribbean Sea.

This astonishing park is recognized for its charming bays, surrounded by imposing palm trees, lush tropical forests, a natural reef, coastal lagoons, and crystalline beaches that host vast biodiversity. With more than 100 species of mammals, 1,000 marine species, 31 reptiles, 471 crustaceans, 202 sponges, 300 birds, and 15 amphibians, it is a paradise for nature lovers.

At the heart of this magnificent site lies a set of ruins that make up a small village. These archaeological structures are accessible through forest paths, revealing balconies, terraces, and monuments erected by the ancient Tayrona population.

  1. Mamancana

10 tourist sites in Santa Marta natural reserv mamancana

Mamancana, a natural treasure covering approximately 600 hectares of lush tropical forest, is strategically located between Simón Bolívar Airport and the city of Santa Marta, at the foothills of the majestic Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. This site is a paradise for nature-loving travelers.

Exploring Mamancana means immersing oneself in the diversity of birds while riding through its trails or participating in thrilling extreme sports like paragliding, canopying, or hiking.

Considered a sacred place for the Mamos, the local indigenous people, Mamancana witnesses their spiritual rituals and ceremonies. Additionally, here are four lakes of different colors: blue, black, red, and green. From the moment you arrive, you immerse yourself in a unique experience with nature, enjoying exquisite cuisine and stunning views.

A crucial aspect of this nature reserve is Zandua, a luxury natural retreat located in the heart of a dry tropical thorny forest. These ecosystems are scarce, representing only 1% of the planet’s ecosystems. Zandua is a jewel preserved for over 27 years, housing unparalleled flora and fauna in its beauty and conservation.

  1. Taganga

10 tourist sites in Santa Marta Taganga

If you seek to make your trip even more exciting, you cannot miss visiting Taganga. This destination has become a favorite among adventurers who want to immerse themselves in nature in all its grandeur.

Taganga offers a truly impressive marine and natural environment. Here, you’ll be surrounded by beaches and mountains, providing an ideal environment to enjoy safe and fun camping. Moreover, its proximity to the city of Santa Marta, just 20 minutes away, makes it an unmissable stop.

Known among locals as the “fishing village,” Taganga is nestled in a hidden place between forests and hills, embraced by the immense blue sea.

The boardwalk, diving in coral reefs, and the surprising marine diversity are just some of the attractions this beautiful town has to offer.

  1. Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

10 tourist sites in Santa Marta sierra nevada

The Excursion to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta offers an enriching cultural exchange with the Wiwa indigenous community at the Gotsezhy Refuge. Immersing oneself in the customs and traditions of this people is a unique opportunity to explore this tourist destination.

The guides are natives of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, making this experience feel like a visit to a friend’s home. Here, you can delight in the food prepared by the women of the community and admire indigenous crafts.

The historical struggle of this people, dating back to the 1980s, is an inspiring narrative. Amid armed conflicts, they have managed to reclaim their territories, sacred sites, and lands for cultural development and preservation. Your visit contributes to the cultural strengthening and environmental support of this community.

The Gotsezhy Refuge, located at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, is part of a Wiwa village, descendants of the ancestral Tayrona culture that once inhabited what we now know as the Lost City.

  1. Playa Inca Inca

10 tourist sites in Santa Marta Inca inca beach

Inca Inca is a stunning beach located on the coasts of Santa Marta, a true treasure still unknown to many locals and tourists visiting this region of Colombia.

Its spectacular landscapes, the majesty of the surrounding mountains, and the intense blue of the sea make this bay a favorite spot for those fortunate enough to discover its beauty. It’s a perfect space for strolling along the shore, taking a bike ride, or simply enjoying the sunset.

This terrestrial jewel is located near El Rodadero. To reach Inca Inca, you can take a walk from the pier of the popular beach, following the pedestrian bridge that crosses the drainage canal of the area’s lake. Once you reach the mountain, you’ll access this coastal paradise.

If you plan to take a dip in its calm and crystal-clear waters, it’s advisable to wear comfortable clothes, a swimsuit, a hat, sunglasses, enough water, and sunscreen. This way, you can ascend the hill without any problem and fully enjoy the surroundings.

And don’t forget to bring your camera because you’ll want to capture every moment of this unforgettable place to have a lasting memory.

  1. Cathedral of Santa Marta

10 tourist sites in Santa Marta Cathedral

The Cathedral of Santa Marta is a prominent National Heritage in Colombia, considered one of the most precious treasures from religious, architectural, cultural, and historical perspectives. It was the country’s first diocese and the first cathedral built in the American continent, back in 1763.

If you find yourself in Santa Marta, don’t miss the opportunity to visit this iconic temple known as “The Mother of Colombia’s Cathedrals.” More than a place to comfort faith, it’s a perfect spot to capture excellent photographs. It’s conveniently located just 5 minutes from the city center.

To enrich your experience, we recommend participating in guided tours by experts that delve into the history of this important Colombian cathedral. These tours usually offer the opportunity to observe valuable relics and objects left by pirates who once roamed the locality.

  1. Quinta San Pedro de Alejandrino

10 tourist sites in Santa Marta Quinta San Pedro Alejandrino

If you’re visiting Santa Marta, don’t miss the opportunity to explore an essential tourist destination in this Caribbean region.

Quinta San Pedro de Alejandrino is an extensive estate that offers impressive natural landscapes and remarkable historical and cultural richness. The buildings surrounding the property are over 200 years old, a marvel to observe and admire.

Today, Quinta San Pedro de Alejandrino provides guided tours by experts that will immerse you in the history of this national heritage. It preserves the characteristics and values of its beginnings and boasts a fascinating botanical garden and a museum.

An intriguing fact about this place is its historical relevance: it was the site where the liberator Simón Bolívar spent his last days before his passing in 1830.

Exploring Quinta San Pedro de Alejandrino in its entirety leaves more than one amazed by its grandeur and beauty, offering a fascinating experience for visitors.

  1. Acuario Mundo Marín

10 tourist sites in Santa Marta acuario

For the past 15 years, Mundo Marino has been accessible to the general public. Its main objective is to raise awareness about the diversity of marine species, placing strong emphasis on the research and conservation of these beings.

In this recreational museum, you’re invited to explore and enjoy marine life in its natural habitat with your loved ones through various guided tours led by experts.

This incredible location is just 20 minutes from Santa Marta. To access its facilities, it’s necessary to purchase an entry ticket.

More tourist places in Santa Marta to discover

Taironaka Nature Reserve

Planning a visit to the Taironaka Nature Reserve is an enriching experience that offers a unique fusion of nature, culture, and archaeology, providing an astonishing spiritual connection with the land.

Located approximately 56 km north of the city of Santa Marta and just 20 minutes from Tayrona Park, access to the Taironaka Nature Reserve is only possible via a scenic boat journey.

This reserve invites you to explore a small museum showcasing a varied collection of indigenous artifacts, representative of the diverse native cultures that populated the region. You can immerse yourself in a fascinating world by observing ruins of ancient huts, cobbled streets, and an ingenious system devised by the indigenous people for water collection. Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to witness spiritual rituals and learn in detail about the life and customs of the descendants of the Tayrona people.


The paving of the road to Minca has increased its importance for locals and tourists visiting this charming destination. The village of Minca, located at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, is a rural town. Here you’ll find rivers, waterfalls, natural pools, viewpoints overlooking the city of Santa Marta and the Sierra Nevada, as well as coffee-producing farms where tourist activities like the coffee tour take place. How to get there? There are several ways: take a taxi to Minca, which can take from 40 minutes to an hour. Another option is to head to Santa Marta’s public market and take a taxi to the starting point of the vehicles going to Minca. You can also go to Yucal and take a motorcycle to Minca, an economical option although you should evaluate the alternatives before deciding.

Upon arriving in Minca, you’ll find many interesting options. Don’t miss the Marinka Waterfall and Pozo Azul, accessible by motorcycle from Minca or by walking about 30 minutes. If you’re looking for accommodation, I recommend two special places: Hostal Casa Elemento and Hostal Sierra Minca. The latter is a project that combines permaculture and ancestral practices of the indigenous peoples and peasants of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

Historic Center of Santa Marta

Santa Marta’s historic center offers a wide range of options, including hostels, cafes, restaurants, and ancient monuments, all near the beach. This place captivates both families and backpackers, inviting them to delve into the city’s rich history before delighting in the sea. In this space, there are several buildings exhibiting Spanish colonial style and plenty of places to visit in Santa Marta. (places to visit in Santa Marta)

Take a leisurely stroll through the heart of the city. Enjoy the view of the old white buildings distributed in the area. Enter the collection of gold and ceramics representing the Tairona civilization, housed in the Casa de la Aduana.

Don’t forget to take photographs of the majestic Cathedral of Santa Marta, located in Plaza de San Francisco. Its white facade is a faithful reflection of Spanish colonial architecture. This church is recognized as the country’s oldest and housed Simón Bolívar’s tomb in 1830. Bolívar was a prominent military leader who bravely fought for the independence from colonial rule.

The climate in Santa Marta is usually hot, so we suggest taking a break on a bench in the main square of the historic center while watching people come and go. Take the opportunity to enjoy a quiet day on the grass with your family.

To access the city’s historic center, one option is to take a small bus at the main Santa Marta tourist terminal. This journey will take you through the extensive suburbs for approximately 45 minutes. Once there, relax and immerse yourself in the colonial life of old Santa Marta.

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