Colombia

Santa Marta

Here you’ll find travel reports about Santa Marta. Discover travel destinations in Colombia of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

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  • Day36

    Originally, we thought to come to Santa Marta only as the gateway to the Lost City. But we were positively surprised by the city’s charme. It’s a lot less pretentious (and fancy) than Cartagena, but also has a nice old city with a lot of beautiful colonial houses, colourful facades, and nice cafés to hang out. Just everything seems more relaxed, less busy, less “2-worlds-type” as we saw in Cartagena with the polishes old town and the slums on our way to the bus terminal.

    After a breakfast at one of them (Ikarus Café - highly recommended, nice coconut latte and almond milk shakes), we checked out tour operators for the Lost City trek which we will do as of tomorrow. No haggling needed, it’s all 850.000 pesos, 240 euros.

    We then made it to the harbour but soon escaped the heat in one of the mini buses heading to La Quinta where Simon Bolívar lived for some time and also died. Best idea! Not only did we see the beautiful scenery of a former sugar cane estate but also a pre-taste if the jungle with iguanas, many different birds, and.... squirrels :-)

    Heading home for self-cooked dinner, we investigated options to spend time at the beaches of Tayrona National Park after the seemingly quite challenging Ciudad Perdida trek. And finally: we booked the plane to Quito, Ecuador. We will land on November 21, 16:00. Any tips welcome!
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  • Day22

    Día 1: People have to vote in Colombia, so it's prohibited to sell alcohol today. The city is dead and bored af.

    Día 2: The sun is the hottest here. Walking through the city is sweaty, but still we just prepared the next adventure and later relaxed at the pool with some beer.

    Día 3: The adventure (4 días) to the lost city was a huge success. Even though we are tired, we went to the city (2min walk), ate really good and drank some cocktails while listening to great life performed streetmusic.Read more

  • Day5

    Santa Marta isn't much of a tourist town, though tourism is starting to pick up. We only spent one evening here, which was plenty. The main touristy area is pleasant, but the city itself is huge and sprawling. After wandering around and eating dinner, Nick and I repacked our bags because the next stop was 4 days of trekking through the Sierra Nevada mountains so we were only taking small bags.

  • Day8

    Hoje é dia de recuperação, tenho uma pequena mazela no tornozelo mas nada de crítico, o Valentim está um pouco pior, mas estamos os dois fisicamente cansados. Queremos ir para a praia Cristal. Antes de irmos lemos que o percurso de barco era horrível por isso íamos mais ou menos preparados. 

    São 45 minutos num barco de 8m, sem nenhumas condições. A baia de Taganga é muito calma mas mal saímos da baia, passamos com a nossa embarcação para uma ondulação de mais de 2m, em que cada vez que desciamos uma onda e a proa do barco batia na onda, parecia que o barco ia se partir e nós encolhiamos um milímetro com a impacto nas costas. A acompanhar iam os gritos de medo de uma miúda no barco. 

    Mas valeu a pena para estarmos numa praia tranquila, a comer, dormir e fazer snorkeling. A volta de barco foi igualmente agitado para além de que tivemos que fazer uma paragem para verem alguma coisa no motor, muito tranquilizador. A melhor parte foi que com os atrasos devido ao problemas no motor, vimos um pôr do sol inesquecível no mar. 

     Taganga, uma vila piscatória com estradas de terra batida e o melhor sistema de som em cada uma das casas,  até lá mais pobres. Parece que os vizinhos estão em constante guerra de músicas e decibéis. 

    A música parou as 3h da manhã mas as 5h, o vizinho que morava 3 casas abaixo, abriu as portas de casa e colocou a música tão alta, que nem a minha coluna no quarto conseguiria abafar o som. Pelos vistos acordam cedo para limpar a casa e só conseguem limpar com salsa a destruir os tímpanos. 
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  • Day21

    Der Tag heute fing schon mit schwitzen an. Die meiste Zeit der Nacht war kein Strom da, also lief auch kein Ventilator. Um acht war ich dann zum Yoga im Nachbarhostel und da es heute mal nicht bewölkt war, knallte die Sonne meine Güte. Zurück in unserem Hostel konnte ich dann direkt frühstücken, denn Tina hatte schon für mich mit bestellt. Zu Fuß ging es dann in der Mittagshitze den einen Kilometer hoch zur Hauptstraße und mit dem lokalen Bus für nicht mal drei Euro knapp über zwei Stunden nach Santa Marta. Mit offenen Fenstern und Türen war es ziemlich angenehm, fröhliche Musik klang aus den Boxen und die Fahrt entlang der Küste war einfach zu schön :)

    Im Santa Marta hatten wir dann ein wenig Pech, das Zimmer war noch nicht fertig bzw. man wusste nicht, dass es schon fertig war. Dafür hatte ich drei Stunden in der Hängematte und bin mit meinem (immer noch ersten) Buch ein Stück weiter gekommen. Tina hat derweil im Pool gechillt und später sind wir noch mal in die Shopping Mall gelaufen, dort vergisst man glatt, dass man in Kolumbien ist. Ein Eis und neue Schuhe später gab es dann Essen im Hostel, weil wir keine Lust mehr hatten noch mal ne halbe Stunde in die Stadt zu fahren. Achso, und Happy Hour gab es auch ;)
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  • Day156

    Innerhalb kolumbiens sind die Flugpreise sehr günstig und die strecken weit also nutzt man häufig das Flugzeug um von a nach b zu kommen und somit haben wir uns auch einen Flug in die Karibik gegönnt da wir sonst tagelang km Bus gesessen hätten. In Santa marta angekommen regnete es aber es war schön warm wieder im Gegensatz zu Bogota und auch nicht so heiß wie in der Wüste also ideal :-) unsere Unterkunft Hostal Samaria Boutique war echt schick und wir hatten ein tolles Doppelzimmer mit Balkon und luxuriösen Bad. Sowas habe ich mir seit Monaten nicht gegönnt! Die Türkisen hohen Holztüren und vielen Vasen mit Blumen Überfall machen echt was her! Die Stadt selbst ist zu Fuß gut zu erkunden. Abends spielen in der angesagtesten Straße verschiedenste Künstler von einem alten Herren der auf einem aus Müll zusammen gebastelten Schlagzeug spielt und singt über ein duo aus zwei jungen Musikern mir Cajon oder Bands wie vier Jungs mit top ausgestatteten Verstärker und Bluetooth Mikro für die Violine. Diese kann man den ganzen Abend lauschen und echt eine tolle Zeit verbringen. Der Flair in der Straße ist echt toll da diese bestückt mit Girlanden voller verschiedenen Restaurants und Bars ist. Ob einzigartige Ravioli mir Kürbis und Käse gefüllt oder Tortillas mit chorizo, Bohne, Banane und Avocado - wir futterten uns durch so einiges durch und der Cocktails (meist zur happy Hour) durfte na klar nicht fehlen. Santa marta hat ansonsten viele kleine schöne Straßen wo immer mal wieder eine Wand unsere Aufmerksamkeit forderte da sie mit Street art gesprenkelt war. Im Hafen stehen dicke boote und große Hotels und bisschen außerhalb werden die Container verladen. Interessanter mix! Was uns zuerst auffiel waren die überfluteten Straßen als wir ankamen! Anscheinend klappt hier das Abwassersystem nicht sodass so manche reifen der Autos nicht mehr zu sehen waren wegen der Fluten uns sogleich taten sich neue Jobs auf denn Männer legten Bretter über die Pfützen oder verhalfen einem mit leeren bierkästen über die Fluten - natürlich gegen einen opulus! Echt lustiger Anblick!Read more

  • Day3

    Tendo em conta que num dia tivemos pouco tempo para visitar Bogotá, decidimos acordar cedo e já com as mochilas passar pela Praça Bolivar, praça principal da zona histórica, mas é só uma praça colonial com milhares de bombos em que não se pode sentar em lado nenhum porque está cheio de cocó pombo. Seguimos ainda para o mercado Paloquemao, um mercado de frutas e legumes para os locais, com todos o tipo de frutas, legumes, plantas aromáticas, folhas de cactos, entre outras coisas que não sei o que é. Claro que com a nossa cara de turista compramos dois magostins pelo dobro do preço. Mas já não nos deixamos enganar quando compramos os morangos. O cheiro a fruta nesse mercado dá vontade de comprar tudo.
    Apanhámos o avião para Santa Marta, foi só deixar as malas no hostel, comprar um bikini e apanhar um autocarro para a vila ao lado. No autocarro cada dá o dinheiro a entrada e ao longo do percurso o motorista vai devolvendo o troca, estica a mão e diz : "Para quem deu 10.000". É o troco passa de mão em mão até chegar ao dono.
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  • Day121

    After having such a great time in San Andres and Cartagena, I really didn't think things could get better. I hadn't heard amazing things about Santa Marta - and quite mixed reviews of Tayrona, so I guess my expectations were pretty low.

    But boy were they exceeded!

    The town of Santa Marta is probably best to avoid, but the area and region around the city is just beautiful. We spent the first night in the dreamer hostel - which tbf is okay - just around the pool.

    The next day we'd heard about the tubing at El Rio hostel, and so got the bus to the little village of Buritaca which is on the way to Palomino. El Rio hostel is just amazing. Tucked away in the rainforest, it has its own little beach and river. The hostel is made of little huts and is so cool. We did the tubing which was really fun, apart from the barefoot hike to get far enough up the river. At times the river was really calm and I'd go really slowly, but at other times we would come into rapids and be thrown around.

    We spent the rest of the day just chilling and drinking gin and tonics by the bar. The hostel was really social and so we met a lot of nice people there.

    In the morning we got up and headed to Tayrona. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Tayrona actually, as I had heard some people saying it wasn't that great. We walked to Cabo San Juan which has one of the nicest beaches, which you can swim at, in the park. We rented hammocks for the night because it was way too hot for a tent. We met a really nice Colombian guy called Julian and we explored the other beaches - la piscina and playa nudista (although it was empty and clothes were kept firmly on) - with him.

    There is lots of cool wildlife in the park. We saw wild monkeys in the trees, brightly coloured lizards and iguanas, snakes and even a cap aburra. In the night, if you go into the jungle just a tiny bit you can see hundreds of fireflies glowing which was pretty special.
    I fell asleep pretty early but Josh and Julian saw a Cayman on the beach at night.

    After what wasn't exactly the most comfortable sleep in the hammock, we woke up and had a nice morning cup of tea on the beach (cut me and I bleed English). We were leaving the park that day but decided to leave a different way so we could go to Pueblito which is the indigenous settlement in the park. The route to Pueblito was pretty hard because it was so humid and we had to climb up hill on rocks for about an hour and a half. When we got to Pueblito we saw the settlements which was cool and had lunch. Josh and I then set off to the road back to Santa Marta which took us probably another 2-3 hours. Pretty exhausted and sweaty from all the walking, we arrived back in Santa Marta and were so happy to have a shower!

    The next day we had to wait around because our flight to Medellin was rescheduled from 4pm to 9pm. After all that trekking we didn't really fancy a big day out so we spent the day by the pool at the dreamer. The highlight was probably throwing away our disgusting leftovers from dinner the night before and instead having our amazing McDonalds (I have not had one since the terrible one I had at Santiago airport) which was so filling - we had 1.5 meals each.

    All in all, we managed to fit a lot into Santa Marta and had a great time. Tayrona is so beautiful and El Rio was lots of fun! On to Medellin, the last leg of our trip because Josh heads back to England and I to Panama.
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  • Day103

    Within an hour of arriving in Colombia, me and Maycon were sat in a bar in Cucuta watching the epic champions league final. We drank colombian beer and ate home cooked food, but paid in pesos at over 5 times Venezuelan price, something I would have to get used to. I also used an ATM for the first time in months and we went to the bus terminal to by tickets for the night-bus to Santa Marta (North Colombia). I was suprised to find out that the journey cost so much; 80,000 pesos (around $30), when in Venezuela the same journey would cost over 10 times less (around $2). However, I was further suprised to find out the bus had reclining sears, air conditioning, wifi, and a toilet, which was lucky for me as I spent the next 16 hours on and off the bumpy toilet with diarrhoea.

    After an unpleasant ride and not much sleep, we arrived in Santa Marta on Sunday morning. Maycon headed to nearby Minca, a town up in the mountains, and I stayed in a hostel in the city to explore and organise Spanish lessons. The sunset over the carribean viewed from Santa Marta is incredible, and it's also great to see so many people out after dark; another thing I'm not used to from Venezuela. However, this place is also PACKED with tourists and backpackers, which is different, but not necessarily a bad thing. The central squares and the seaside liven up at night, there are many restaurants, bars, even casinos, and plenty of tourists to go around...

    On Tuesday I had my first Spanish Lesson with Elsa, a lovely woman and qualified spanish teacher. We had an intensive 3-hour private lesson with all the conversation in Spanish, but it went really well and we organised to do one every morning for a week. At the same time, I'd found a great workaway in a fancy hostel in Rodadero (the touristic beach town south of Santa Marta), where I would volunteer for a week and stay for free. My daily routine would be to leave the hostel at 8am to catch the 'around the hills' bus to Santa Marta, for my 3 hour spanish class at 9. Then I would return to the hostel by 1 to 'volunteer' working as handyman, painter and repairs. After around 5 hours work I would go to the beach for the incredible sunset and steet-food, before returning to the hostel to study spanish 'homework' for the next days class. This would usually take 3 hours, before falling asleep and waking up early to do it all again.

    I make it sound like hard work but really I had a great time and met so many different people around the hostel, and I was learning and speaking spanish FAST. The work in the hostel was easy, and the location ideal for everything I needed. On a day off I climbed up to the top of the hills separating Rodadero and Santa Marta, and I arrived at the peak just after sunrise at 5.30. The views were incredible; The sky was perfectly clear and colourful. I could see out over the two coastal cities, with the beaches all around the bright blue carribean sea, and the tallest coastal mountains in the world as the backdrop.  It was one of the best sunrises I've ever seen.

    I stayed in Rodadero a little longer than planned; I took a few extra spanish lessons, worked in the hostel a couple extra days, and then stayed at the managers house while I figured out my next workaway. I also took a trip to Taganga (a fishing village) and playa grande for walking and sea-kayaking, before I finally headed to Santa Marta to meet Hanna, and toik a bus to the incredible place I would live and volunteer for the next 2 weeks. My welcome was to walk shoeless through a river before an uphill walk in the pouring rain in dense humid jungle, and I loved it...
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Santa Marta, سانتا مارتا, סנטה מרתה, SMR, Санта Марта

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