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Santa Marta Itinerary – Is 4 to 7 Days in Caribbean Colombia Enough?

Santa Marta Itinerary - Is 4 to 7 Days in Caribbean Colombia Enough?

Santa Marta Itinerary – Santa Marta doesn’t come up as the first idea when tourists think about what to do in Colombia. However, if you’d like to explore Caribbean Colombia, Santa Marta, Cartagena and the surrounding mountains of the Sierra Nevada and Tayrona National Park can be a part of your itinerary.

In this guide we’ll look at how many days in Santa Marta Colombia you might need depending on the experience you’re looking for, and we’ll have Santa Marta itinerary 7 days samples and other no. of days for a full Santa Marta itinerary – from 4 to 7 days, and of course, mixing some of Santa Marta’s best towns to visit next.

Related Travel Guides on Santa Marta Colombia

Getting Your Sim Card in Santa Marta Colombia

I wouldn’t recommend you to buy a sim card at the Cartagena airport. If you wish for something really comfortable, you can buy eSim online and if you aren’t in a hurry just go around phone shops in the city and compare prices to buy the cheapest sim card in Cartagena. Read here Colombia sim card for tourist and best Colombia eSim.

You can find the cheapest Colombia eSim with Airalo Colombia eSim prepaid for $8 USD with 1 GB data valid for 7 days. For $15 USD with 2 GB data valid for 15 days. For $21 USD with 3 GB data and for $32 USD with 5 GB data valid for 30 days. (USING DISCOUNT CODE GAMINTRAVELER 10%).

Holafly Colombia eSim for $44 USD if you use our code GAMINTRAVELER coming with 6 GB data valid for 15 days.

Book Your Travel Insurance

You can read Heymondo Vs Safetwing cheapest travel Insurance. You can get for $135 USD your Heymondo Travel Insurance with Heymondo discount code valid for 90 days. Read our full Heymondo Travel Insurance Review

You can get Safetywing Travel Insurance for Digital Nomads valid for 28 days Safetywing for $50 USD per month with kids until 10 years old included

WHERE TO STAY IN SANTA MARTA

There are numerous hotels and B&B that you can choose from especially in Santa Marta area. Accommodation prices can take you around $15-20 USD if you sleep in a dorm. For mid-budget accommodation starts at $40-60 USD and for more than $100 USD you will find luxury accommodation in Santa Marta.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION IN SANTA MARTA

Top Things to do in Santa Marta Colombia – Santa Marta Itinerary

Some popular things to do in Santa Marta, Colombia include:

Visit the Historic Center in Santa Marta Colombia

Santa Marta Itinerary - Is 4 to 7 Days in Caribbean Colombia Enough?
Santa Marta Cathedral in Colombia – Santa Marta Itinerary

The city’s historic center is home to a number of colonial-era buildings and monuments, including the Cathedral of Santa Marta and the Simon Bolivar Park.

Explore Beaches in Santa Marta Colombia – Santa Marta Itinerary

Coast in Santa Marta Colombia - How Many Days in Santa Marta for a Santa Marta Itinerary
Coast in Santa Marta Colombia – How Many Days in Santa Marta

Santa Marta is located on the Caribbean coast, and there are many beautiful beaches in the area. Some popular options include Playa Blanca, Rodadero Beach, and Taganga.

Visit the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains

Views of Sierra Nevada Mountains - Santa Marta Colombia, Santa Marta Itinerary - Is 4 to 7 Days in Caribbean Colombia Enough?
Views of Sierra Nevada Mountains – Santa Marta Colombia

The Sierra Nevada mountains offer a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, and bird watching. The Lost City Trek is a popular multi-day hike.

Visit the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino

this is the place where Simon Bolivar, the liberator of Latin America, died.

Visit the Parque Natural de Taganga – Taganga Natural Park

Views of Taganga Beach - Santa Marta Itinerary,
Views of Taganga Beach – Santa Marta Itinerary

Located just a few miles from the city center, this natural park offers a variety of outdoor activities, including snorkeling, diving, and kayaking.

How many days in Santa Marta – Are 4 to 7 Days Enough?

The amount of time you should spend in Santa Marta depends on what you are interested in doing and how much time you have available. Three to four days is a good amount of time to explore the city and its surroundings.

This would give you enough time to visit the historic center, explore the nearby beaches, and take a day trip to the Sierra Nevada Mountains or Parque Natural de Taganga. If you are planning to do the Lost City Trek, this could be a 4-5 days adventure.

If you’re looking for a more leisurely and relaxed holiday, with the main focus on enjoying the beaches, you can plan to stay for a week.

If you have more time available, you might also consider visiting other nearby destinations such as the La Guajira Peninsula or the colonial town of Minca.

How about a 3-day Santa Marta Itinerary

Here’s a possible 3-day itinerary for exploring Santa Marta:

Day 1

Start your day by visiting the historic center, where you can see the Cathedral of Santa Marta and the Simon Bolivar Park. Take a walk around the streets and admire the colonial-era architecture.

In the afternoon, head to one of the nearby beaches like Playa Blanca or Rodadero Beach. Spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach and swimming in the Caribbean Sea.

Day 2

Take a day trip to the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains. Go for a hike and explore the lush vegetation, or visit the indigenous communities and learn about their culture.

If you’re interested in history, visit the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, the last home of Simon Bolivar.

Day 3

Spend the morning visiting the Parque Natural de Taganga, where you can snorkel, dive or kayak in the crystal-clear waters.

In the afternoon, take a boat trip to the nearby beaches, like the Playa Cristal, or Playa Grande, to relax and enjoy the Caribbean sun.

On the last night, you can enjoy dinner in one of the seafood or traditional cuisine restaurants.

Of course, this is just one possible itinerary, and you can adjust it to your own preferences and interests. Depending on the season, some activities could be affected, like the availability of boat trips or the weather conditions for hiking.

Spend the morning visiting the Parque Natural de Taganga, where you can snorkel, dive or kayak in the crystal-clear waters.

In the afternoon, take a boat trip to the nearby beaches, like the Playa Cristal, or Playa Grande, to relax and enjoy the Caribbean sun.

On the last night, you can enjoy dinner in one of the seafood or traditional cuisine restaurants.

Of course, this is just one possible itinerary, and you can adjust it to your own preferences and interests. Depending on the season, some activities could be affected, like the availability of boat trips or the weather conditions for hiking.

Is a Day Trip good enough for Sierra Nevada?

It depends on what you would like to see and do in the Sierra Nevada mountains. A day trip to the Sierra Nevada will give you a taste of the area, but it may not be enough time to fully explore all that the mountains have to offer.

If your main interest is to hike, a day trip may allow you to complete a shorter or less demanding trail, and see some of the most spectacular viewpoints.

A more popular and demanding hike is the Lost City Trek, which usually takes 4-5 days, however, if you’re short on time and would still like to see it, you can do a 1-day guided tour of the trek, which will give you a taste of it, but it won’t be the full experience.

If you’re also interested in visiting the indigenous communities and learning about their culture, a day trip may not be enough time to fully immerse yourself in the experience.

If you’re short on time, a day trip to the Sierra Nevada can be a good way to get a sense of the area, but if you’re looking to really experience the mountains, it’s probably best to plan a longer trip.

Best Towns to visit before/after Santa Marta – Santa Marta Itinerary

There are several towns and destinations that are worth visiting before or after your time in Santa Marta. Some of the best options include:

Minca

Santa Marta Itinerary - Is 4 to 7 Days in Caribbean Colombia Enough?

This small town is located in the mountains just a short drive from Santa Marta. It’s known for its coffee plantations, picturesque landscapes and mild climate. You can visit the coffee farms, go hiking and bird watching, or relax at one of the many eco-lodges.

Palomino– Santa Marta Colombia

This charming town is located on the banks of the Palomino river and is known for its beautiful beaches, and outdoor activities like rafting, tubing, and canyoning.

La Guajira Peninsula

This desert-like region is located in the northeasternmost tip of Colombia. It’s home to the indigenous Wayuu people and is known for its unique landscapes and culture. Visit the Dunes of Taroa, go kite-surfing at Cabo de la Vela or Punta Gallinas, the most northern point of South America

Tayrona National Park

This national park is located about an hour and a half drive from Santa Marta, it features a variety of beaches, hiking trails, and archaeological sites.

Barranquilla

The city of Barranquilla is located about 2.5 hours drive from Santa Marta. Its known for its Caribbean carnival and other festivals and also as an industrial center in the Caribbean coast
Each of these destinations has its own unique charm and offers a different experience. You can visit one or more of these towns depending on the amount of time you have available, your interests, and what you want to see and do.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION IN SANTA MARTA

Best Time of the Year to Visit – Santa Marta Itinerary

The best time to visit Santa Marta depends on your preferences and the activities you are planning to do. The city has a warm tropical climate all year round, but there are some variations in temperature and rainfall throughout the year that can affect your trip.

The dry season, which runs from December to April, is generally considered the best time to visit Santa Marta. The weather is sunny and dry, making it perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and sunbathing. However, during the hottest months (February-March) temperatures can get very high, reaching up to 38°C.

The wet season, which runs from May to November, is characterized by more rainfall and higher humidity. While the rainfall is not constant and doesn’t stop most of the activities, the downpours can be heavy and sudden, so you’ll want to be prepared with rain gear and be flexible with your plans. Even during this season, the temperature remains high, around 32-35 °C.

Another thing to consider is the crowds, Santa Marta and its surrounding can get busy during the peak season (December to April), so if you prefer to avoid the crowds, you may consider visiting during the low season (May to November).

In conclusion, the best time to visit Santa Marta is during the dry season (December to April) which is popular and ideal for most activities.

Check the accurate weather in Santa Marta, Colombia here

Cost of travel for a Week for One Person – Santa Marta Itinerary

Santa Marta Colombia

The cost of travel for a week in Santa Marta will depend on a number of factors, including your accommodation, food, transportation, and activities. Here is a rough estimate of what you might expect to spend for a week-long trip in Santa Marta:

Accommodation

Prices for accommodation in Santa Marta can vary widely, depending on the type of accommodation you choose. A budget-friendly option would be to stay in a hostel, where you can expect to pay around $10-20 per night. For a private room in a budget-friendly hotel or guesthouse, you could pay around $20-30 per night. Mid-range accommodation options are around $50-70 per night.

Food

Food in Santa Marta can also be quite affordable. You can find a good meal at a local restaurant for around $5-10. Street food is even cheaper and offers a variety of options from seafood to traditional dishes.

Transportation

The city has a good transportation system, including local buses, “chivas” (open-air trucks), and taxis. A one-way trip on a bus or “chiva” will typically cost around $0.5, while a taxi ride will cost around $5-8. If you’re planning to take day trips or go farther afield, you may need to rent a car or take a tour.

Activities

Prices for activities will depend on what you choose to do. Visiting the historic center and the nearby beaches are free, and the entrance fees for the Sierra Nevada Mountains or Parque Natural de Taganga are around $10. The Lost City Trek ranges from $250 to $400 for a 4-5 days trip.

All in all, you can expect to spend around $50-70 per day depending on your choices. So, for a week-long trip, you can expect to spend around $350-500. This is just a rough estimate, and the cost of your trip will depend on your individual choices and preferences.

Where to Stay

Santa Marta offers a wide range of accommodation options, and the best area to stay in will depend on your interests and what you want to see and do during your trip. Here are a few popular areas in Santa Marta to consider:

Historic Center

Staying in the historic center of Santa Marta puts you close to the city’s main attractions, including the Cathedral of Santa Marta and the Simon Bolivar Park. You’ll also be near the city’s museums, restaurants, and nightlife.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION IN SANTA MARTA

Rodadero

This area is located just a few minutes from the city center and is known for its beautiful beaches. It’s a good option for those who want to spend their days relaxing on the beach, and also for those who want to have access to amenities like supermarkets and shopping centers.

Bello Horizonte

Bello Horizonte is a residential area located a few kilometers from the city center. This is a quiet and relatively upscale neighborhood. It’s a good option if you’re looking for a more peaceful and quiet place to stay, but still want easy access to the city’s main attractions.

Taganga

This is a fisherman’s village located about 8km from Santa Marta. It’s known for its beautiful beaches, and diving and snorkeling opportunities. It’s a great option if you want to stay close to the natural park of Taganga and enjoy a more laid-back and quiet atmosphere.

Ultimately, the best area to stay in will depend on your own preferences and what you want to see and do during your trip. It’s also possible to find different types of accommodation options in all these areas.

Hope you got all the information you need for your next visit to Santa Marta. How many days in Santa Marta Colombia will be up to you, 4 to 7 days could be good. If you have more time, try to visit other areas near Santa Marta – they are worth it.

Enjoy and til our next guide!

Ruben Arribas is the co-founder of Gamintraveler and a Spanish traveler who has traveled to more than 100 countries around the world. He is now a full-time digital nomad.

Louise Smith

Thursday 12th of January 2023

It’s the most dangerous city in Columbia- I got held up at knife point here. Sinister vibe as the difference between tourists and locals is stark. Filthy beaches as the port is huge and right in SM so lots of oil in the sea. Places to visit are far away especially La Guajira which is an extremely hard trip - three days in a bumpy car. Lost City is also an extremely hard trek. Medellin is a million times nicer just no sea but honestly I wouldn’t ever go back to SM

Ruben Arribas

Thursday 12th of January 2023

Sad to hear that you had such a bad experience in Santa Marta! We always need to be careful especially at night as we were traveling this time with a kid we most enjoyed day time and sunset.

Our favorite was Cartagena but we enjoyed at Rodadero in Santa Marta and the trips around the area were amazing. Going to Cabo de La Vela was amazing but for sure you need a few days for this! Taganga and Tayron are amazing day trips! Medellin and Bogota are also nice cities to visit and we enjoyed our time there in Colombia. But small places like Salento, Guatape and Barichara are safer and nice to spend a few days :)