For Colombians, Santa Marta is the vacation destination of choice. With long stretches of beaches and liberal amounts of sunshine, it’s a great place to reenergize, drinking a beer on one of the many waterfront cafes. As you’d expect from a popular tourist destination, there are many restaurants and bars dotted nearby to the coast. Santa Marta is also the base for visits to Tayrona Nacional Park and the Lost City. On its 85km of coast, Tayrona houses some of the best beaches in all of Colombia, and it’s a great area for seeing wildlife. Though it can get busy, Tayrona remains an idyllic area to escape from the city. For the adventurous, the Lost City is an otherworldly archaeological site dating back to AD 700. Lying deep in the dense jungle, the site remained undiscovered until 1972 and requires a considerable amount of trekking to be reached. It is undoubtedly worth it, however, for the overwhelming sense of tranquillity in the place.
Half a dozen buses run direct from Bogotá to Santa Marta, taking around 16 hours and costing roughly US$40. The nearest airport, Simon Bolivar, is 20km south of the city, with a bus to town costing less than US$1.
What to do in Santa Marta and Tayrona National Park
Aside from the beaches, one of Santa Marta’s main claims to fame is that it was the city where Simon Bolivar came to rest, and you can visit the villa where he died – Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino – from Santa Marta. Also of interest in the area is the cathedral overlooking the Plaza de la Catedral and the excellent archaeological collection found at Casa de la Aduana. Both Tayrona Nacional Park and the Lost City are there to be explored by foot, though riding a horse around Tayrona is very popular.
Santa Marta and Tayrona National Park Weather
Relatively humid throughout the year, the climate is made more manageable by an oft-present sea breeze. Expect temperatures of around 28°C in the day time.
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