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El Rodadero Beach

Santa Marta

History, Culture, Tourism, and Travel Activities and Restaurants in Santa Marta, El Rodadero, and Tayrona National Park Colombia.

Overview of Santa Marta

When you arrive in Santa Marta, you will see a welcome sign which says: Here you can have it all.  With the wide variety of activities available in Santa Marta, this slogan is not far from the truth.

Santa Marta is the oldest remaining city in Colombia, founded in 1525 by Rodrigo de Bastidas, a Spanish conquistador.  While the city is a major port for much of Colombia's Caribbean trade, it also possesses a number of beautiful beaches, including El Rodadero, just 8km to the south, and Taganga, 5km to the north.  Santa Marta experienced a huge population boom due to a combination of tourism activity and people displaced by the armed guerrilla conflict, and the city seems to have an aura of new life and new opportunities surrounding it.  In addition to being a popular Colombian travel destination, the construction of Santa Marta's marina, completed in 2011, attracts yachts  from around the Caribbean, especially during hurricane season as Santa Marta's mountains and orientation protect it from storms.


Alongside Santa Marta's natural beauty, the city also possesses a rich history.  South American Liberator, Simon Bolivar took his dying breath in La Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, and his remains were held in the Cathedral until 1842.  Today, La Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino stands as a museum celebrating Bolivar's life, and its grounds feature beautiful gardens which are home to many of Colombia's most beautiful tropical flora.

Surrounding Area

To the south, El Rodadero Beach is immensely popular with Colombian tourists.  The beach is lined with medium and high end beach resorts, and while beautiful, it can be rather crowded, even in the off season.  Taganga, which sits to the north, is home to a number of nightclubs, including local favorites Mirrador and Sensations.  Taganga is also becoming a mecca for scuba diving schools.  3 and 4 day diving certification classes are available for as low as $300, making Taganga one of the cheapest places in the world to learn to dive.

Further north of the city lies Tayrona National Park, one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in South America.  In addition to gorgeous views and incredible biodiversity, the park houses a number of archeological sites with Tairona Indian ruins, including La Pueblita.  Tayrona is Colombia's second most visited park.  Tent camping and hammock rentals are available, as well as luxury nature suites

  • Things to Do

    Activities, Places to Visit, Things to Do and See, Points of Interest in Santa Marta Colombia

  • Restaurants

    Restaurants, Dining, Food and Cocktails available in Santa Marta Colombia

  • Travel & Transportation

    Information on Bus and Airline Travel to and from Santa Marta Colombia