Apart from being the oldest Colombian city still functioning, Santa Marta has become a hub for travelers wanting to explore the caribbean cost of Colombia.
The old center is always lively, with a number of good restaurants, and when the night falls, there is always some place to go out dancing. La Puerta is a local favorite, while you can enjoy live Cuban music at El Rego.
We have had volunteers with us that have combined their work at the organization with traveling and seeing this beautiful country.
Parque Tayrona is easily accessible for a one or two day trip, located about 1,5 hours away from Santa Marta by bus.
La Ciudad Perdida (the lost city) is Colombia’s answer to Machu Picchu. A four day trekking in the jungle will take you there and back again.
Be aware: the hike is pretty tough, but in return you will see the impressive jungle rainforest of Tayrona and see the remaining ruins of a native city older than Machu Picchu.
Taganga is a fishermen’s village located only 15 minutes away from the center of Santa Marta by local bus. The beaches are a level over Santa Marta’s, so this is the place to chill on a free day.
Taganga is also the place where the diving boats set off. Dive courses can be ordered in Santa Marta though, so you don’t need to go to Taganga for that. The diving takes place inside Parque Tayrona, about 30 min off Taganga by boat. There is a lot of wildlife in the ocean, and if you’re not that experienced, this is also a perfect spot to finally get the license.
Cartagena is a fine Colombian pearl and a bigger city than Santa Marta. It takes around 4 hours to get you there by bus, but you can easily spend two or three nights in the city.
From Cartagena you can also reach Islas del Rosario. A group of beautiful islands with clear blue water that let you take relaxing to another lever.
Other places to visit nearby is, but not limited to Minca, Palomino, Guajira and Barranquilla.