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Best Santa Marta Colombia Beaches to Visit in 2024

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Looking to visit Santa Marta and the best Santa Marta Colombia Beaches for you to travel to and enjoy? We compare all of the best beaches in Santa Marta Colombia in this guide, including beaches near Santa Marta Colombia to add to your itinerary!

If you’re planning a trip to Santa Marta and wondering about the beaches, you’ve come to the right place. Santa Marta isn’t just another coastal city in Colombia; it’s a place where you’ll find some of the most chill and diverse beaches around. We’re talking about places where you can just kick back with a cold drink or dive into all sorts of water sports.

In this guide, we’re going to walk you through the best spots – from the ones everyone talks about like Rodadero and Playa Blanca, to those hidden little beaches that only a few know about. Whether you’re looking to mingle with the crowds or find your own peaceful spot by the sea, Santa Marta’s got you covered. So, let’s dive in and check out what these beaches have to offer!

Related Travel Guides (Santa Marta Colombia Beaches)

Where to Stay in Santa Marta – Santa Marta Beaches Colombia

See the map below to see how close your accommodation will be to the best beaches in Santa Marta Colombia or even the beaches near Santa Marta Colombia.

Popular Beaches in Santa Marta

Alright, let’s talk about some of the beaches in Santa Marta that everyone’s buzzing about. These are the spots where you’ll find a bit of everything – sun, sand, and a whole lot of fun.

  1. El Rodadero: This beach is like the heartbeat of Santa Marta’s beach scene. It’s super popular, so expect some company, but that’s part of the fun. It’s got everything – hotels, restaurants, and all the water sports you can think of. Great for a day of jet skiing or just lounging on the beach.
  2. Playa Blanca: Now, if you’re up for a short boat ride, Playa Blanca is a must-visit. It’s a bit more laid back than Rodadero. Picture clear waters, soft sand, and fewer crowds. It’s perfect for snorkeling or just floating around in the water.
  3. Bahía Concha: Want a beach that’s a bit off the beaten path? Bahía Concha is your spot. It’s part of Tayrona National Park, so there’s a small entry fee, but it’s totally worth it. The vibe here is more natural and relaxed. Bring your own food and drinks, and enjoy a chill day at the beach.

Each of these beaches has its own charm and offers a different experience. Whether you’re into water sports, snorkeling, or just want to soak up the sun, you’ll find something that suits your style. And hey, don’t forget to try some local street food from the vendors – it’s part of the experience!

Hidden Gems: Lesser-Known Beaches

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Now, let’s venture off the beaten path and discover some of Santa Marta’s hidden gems. These beaches might not be as famous, but they’re definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for a more laid-back vibe.

  1. Playa Los Angeles: This one’s a little secret. Tucked away near Tayrona National Park, Playa Los Angeles is a serene spot where you can really connect with nature. It’s quieter than the popular beaches, making it ideal for a peaceful day under the sun.
  2. Taganga: Just a short drive from the city center, Taganga is a small fishing village with a lovely beach. It’s got a bohemian feel, with cozy cafes and bars. The water here is calm, perfect for a swim or a snorkeling session.
  3. Playa Grande: A bit further from Taganga, you’ll find Playa Grande. It’s a bit more accessible than some other secluded beaches but still offers that tranquil atmosphere. It’s great for a day trip, with some nice spots for lunch right by the water.

These beaches offer a chance to escape the crowds and enjoy a different side of Santa Marta’s coastal beauty. They might require a bit more effort to get to, but the peaceful setting and untouched nature are well worth it.

Beaches in Tayrona National Park

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Tayrona National Park is a haven for beach enthusiasts who appreciate unspoiled natural beauty. This section of the guide highlights the beaches within the park that offer a unique blend of ecological wonders and serene landscapes:

  1. Crystal Beach: Known for its transparent waters, this beach is perfect for snorkeling and marine exploration.
  2. Cabo San Juan: A picturesque spot offering a combination of sandy shores and rocky outcrops, ideal for hiking and overnight camping.
  3. Bahía Concha: A quieter beach within the park, Bahía Concha is ideal for a peaceful day by the sea, surrounded by natural scenery.
  4. Cinto Beach: Accessible only by boat or hike, this secluded beach offers an escape into nature’s untouched beauty.
  5. Arenilla and La Piscina: These beaches are known for their calm waters, making them great for swimming and family activities.
  6. Arrecife Beach: A beautiful but strong-current beach, suitable for experienced swimmers and surfers.
  7. Siete Olas Beach: Noted for its breathtaking views, this beach is more of a viewpoint than a swimming spot, perfect for photography enthusiasts.
  8. Chengue Beach: Although currently closed to the public, Chengue Beach is known for its ecological importance.

Each of these beaches in Tayrona National Park offers a unique experience, from adventurous hiking and camping to tranquil retreats in nature’s lap.

Crystal Beach: A Guide to Access and What to Expect

Crystal Beach, known locally as Playa Cristal, is a gem within Tayrona National Park, celebrated for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant underwater life, making it a hotspot for snorkeling. The beach offers a serene escape into nature’s lap, with its transparent waters providing a perfect window into the marine world below.

How to Reach Crystal Beach:

  1. By Car or Bus: The journey to Crystal Beach begins with reaching the main entrance of Tayrona National Park, El Zaíno. If you’re coming from Santa Marta or Taganga, you can take a taxi or a bus. A taxi from Santa Marta or Taganga will cost around COP $80,000 and takes about 45 minutes to the main entrance. Alternatively, city buses depart every 20 minutes from Santa Marta, costing COP $7,000 and taking 30 minutes to an hour to reach the park’s entrance.
  2. By Boat: For a direct approach, there is a boat service from Taganga to the principal beaches in Tayrona, including Cabo San Juan, which is relatively close to Crystal Beach. This boat departs at 9:30 AM and returns around 4 PM. The journey takes about an hour and costs COP $40,000 each way. The boat ride offers spectacular views along the coast but can be quite adventurous, especially during the windy season from January to March.
  3. Hiking: Once at the entrance of Tayrona National Park, you can choose to hike. The hike through Tayrona’s dense jungle to reach Crystal Beach is part of the adventure, unveiling the park’s rich biodiversity. Be prepared for a trek that involves walking through varied terrain, including dirt trails, sand, and staircases.

What to Expect at Crystal Beach: Crystal Beach is a haven for those seeking both relaxation and a glimpse into the vibrant marine life of Tayrona. With its relatively calm waters, it’s an excellent spot for swimming and snorkeling. The beach is surrounded by lush greenery, providing a refreshing contrast to the blue waters.

Remember to bring essentials like sunscreen, hats, and insect repellent, and be prepared for a journey that’s both physically demanding and rewarding. This beach, with its serene beauty and clear waters, truly encapsulates the essence of Tayrona National Park’s natural splendor.

Cabo San Juan: A Guide to Access and What to Expect

Cabo San Juan, located within Tayrona National Park, is one of the most iconic beaches in the area. Known for its distinctive rock formations and the famous double bay, it’s a favorite among travelers for its picturesque scenery and the unique opportunity to camp right on the beach.

How to Reach Cabo San Juan:

  1. By Car or Bus: The journey to Cabo San Juan starts with getting to the El Zaíno entrance of Tayrona National Park. A taxi from Santa Marta or Taganga to El Zaíno costs approximately COP $80,000 and takes around 45 minutes. Alternatively, city buses are available from Santa Marta every 20 minutes, costing about COP $7,000 and taking 30 minutes to an hour to reach the park entrance.
  2. By Boat: A more direct but adventurous option is to take a boat from Taganga directly to Cabo San Juan. The boat ride, costing COP $50,000 one way, takes about 50 minutes and offers stunning views along the coast. Be aware that the sea can be rough, especially from January to March.
  3. Hiking: After entering through the El Zaíno or Calabazo entrances, a hike is required to reach Cabo San Juan. From El Zaíno, it’s a scenic but challenging hike of up to two hours along coastal trails and through jungle terrain. The Calabazo entrance offers a longer, more strenuous hike but with fewer crowds and more wildlife sightings.

What to Expect at Cabo San Juan: Cabo San Juan is a paradise for beach lovers and hikers alike. The beach is known for its clear waters and soft sand, making it ideal for swimming and sunbathing. The famous hammocks and camping spots offer a unique experience to spend the night listening to the waves. The area also has basic amenities like a restaurant and bathroom facilities, but it’s recommended to bring essential supplies.

This beach is perfect for those who enjoy a combination of adventure and relaxation. Its natural beauty, coupled with the opportunity to stay overnight by the sea, makes Cabo San Juan a must-visit destination in Tayrona National Park.

Bahía Concha: A Guide to Access and What to Expect

Bahía Concha is another gem in the crown of Tayrona National Park’s beaches. Known for its vast stretch of sand and calm waters, it’s a favorite among those seeking a more relaxed beach experience away from the more crowded spots.

How to Reach Bahía Concha:

  1. By Car or Taxi: Bahía Concha is relatively easier to access compared to other Tayrona beaches. It’s a short drive from Santa Marta, making it a convenient option for those not looking to hike. A taxi ride from Santa Marta can be arranged, and it takes approximately 30 minutes to reach the beach.
  2. Public Transport: While less frequent, there are public transport options available from Santa Marta to Bahía Concha. These might not take you directly to the beach, so be prepared for a short walk or arrange a local taxi from the nearest drop-off point.
  3. By Bike or Motorbike: For the more adventurous, renting a bike or motorbike in Santa Marta to ride to Bahía Concha can be an exhilarating way to enjoy the scenery along the way.

What to Expect at Bahía Concha: Bahía Concha’s appeal lies in its tranquil ambiance and natural beauty. The beach is spacious, offering plenty of room for sunbathing, picnics, and beach games. The waters here are calmer than at other Tayrona beaches, making it suitable for swimming and paddleboarding.

Visitors should note that while Bahía Concha is less developed than beaches like El Rodadero, it still offers basic amenities like food stalls and rental chairs. However, it’s advisable to bring your own supplies, especially water and snacks, to ensure a comfortable day at the beach.

Bahía Concha is ideal for those who want to experience the beauty of Tayrona’s beaches without the need for a strenuous hike or boat ride. Its easy accessibility and peaceful setting make it a great option for a relaxing day trip from Santa Marta.

Cinto Beach: A Guide to Access and What to Expect

Cinto Beach is a secluded paradise within Tayrona National Park, offering an escape to a more private and untouched natural setting. Its remote location makes it one of the most tranquil beaches in the area.

How to Reach Cinto Beach:

  1. By Boat: The most common way to reach Cinto Beach is by boat from Santa Marta or the nearby beaches. This method is preferred due to the beach’s remote location, which is not easily accessible by land. The boat ride offers stunning views of the coastline and the lush jungle backdrop.
  2. Hiking: For avid hikers, Cinto Beach can be reached by a challenging trek through the park. This route is less traveled and requires a good level of fitness and preparation. The hike offers an immersive experience in the park’s natural beauty but is recommended only for experienced hikers.

What to Expect at Cinto Beach: Cinto Beach is the epitome of a hidden tropical paradise. With its soft sand and crystal-clear waters, it’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and simply relaxing away from the crowds. The beach is surrounded by lush forest, providing a sense of isolation and connection with nature.

Facilities at Cinto Beach are minimal, so visitors should come prepared with all necessary supplies, including food, water, and sun protection. This lack of development is part of the beach’s charm, offering a more authentic and untouched beach experience.

Cinto Beach is ideal for those seeking solitude and a break from the more touristy areas of Tayrona National Park. Its pristine environment makes it a memorable destination for a peaceful day or a quiet camping experience.

Arenilla and La Piscina: A Guide to Access and What to Expect

Arenilla and La Piscina are two serene beaches located within Tayrona National Park, known for their calm, crystal-clear waters, making them perfect for families and swimmers.

How to Reach Arenilla and La Piscina:

  1. By Car or Bus to Park Entrance: Like the other beaches in Tayrona National Park, the journey to Arenilla and La Piscina starts with getting to the main entrance of the park, El Zaíno. You can take a taxi or a bus from Santa Marta or Taganga to reach El Zaíno.
  2. Hiking from El Zaíno: After entering Tayrona National Park through El Zaíno, a scenic hike is required to reach Arenilla and La Piscina. The trails are well-marked, and the hike offers a beautiful journey through the park’s diverse landscapes.
  3. Boat Access: Alternatively, you can opt for a boat ride from nearby locations to get closer to these beaches. The boat trip offers a different perspective of the park and its coastline.

What to Expect at Arenilla and La Piscina:

  • Arenilla: This small beach is known for its serene atmosphere. It’s less crowded, providing a quiet spot for visitors to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings.
  • La Piscina: True to its name, which means “The Pool,” La Piscina is famous for its calm waters, creating natural swimming pools protected by rock formations.

Both beaches are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and enjoying the tranquility of Tayrona National Park. They offer a more relaxed beach experience, away from the larger crowds found at other beaches in the park. Facilities are basic, so visitors should bring essential supplies, including water, snacks, and sun protection.

Arenilla and La Piscina are perfect for those seeking a peaceful day by the sea, surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of Tayrona National Park.

Arrecife Beach: A Guide to Access and What to Expect

Arrecife Beach is one of the most visually striking beaches in Tayrona National Park, renowned for its natural beauty and powerful waves.

How to Reach Arrecife Beach:

  1. By Car or Bus to Park Entrance: Start your journey to Arrecife Beach by reaching the main entrance of Tayrona National Park, El Zaíno. This can be done by taxi or bus from Santa Marta or Taganga.
  2. Hiking from El Zaíno: After entering the park, a hike is required to get to Arrecife Beach. The trail from El Zaíno to Arrecife is part of the park’s main coastal trail and is known for its scenic beauty. The hike takes about an hour and offers a fantastic way to experience the park’s diverse ecosystems.
  3. Guided Tours: For those less familiar with the area, guided tours are available that include transportation to the park and guidance on the trails.

What to Expect at Arrecife Beach: Arrecife Beach is celebrated for its stunning landscapes, featuring a long stretch of golden sand framed by lush greenery and the rolling sea. The beach is known for its strong waves and currents, so swimming here can be dangerous. However, it’s a perfect spot for sunbathing, beach walks, and enjoying the majestic views.

The beach area has basic amenities like food stalls and restrooms, but visitors are advised to bring their own essentials, including water and snacks. Arrecife is also a fantastic spot for photography enthusiasts, capturing the raw beauty of Tayrona’s coastline.

Arrecife Beach is ideal for those who appreciate natural beauty and a serene beach environment. It’s a reminder of the untamed beauty that Tayrona National Park has to offer, making it a must-visit for nature lovers and beachgoers alike.

Siete Olas Beach: A Guide to Access and What to Expect

Siete Olas Beach, also known as “Seven Waves Beach,” is unique within Tayrona National Park for its spectacular panoramic views and dramatic coastal landscape.

How to Reach Siete Olas Beach:

  1. By Car or Bus to Park Entrance: The first step is reaching the main entrance of Tayrona National Park, El Zaíno. This can be done via taxi or bus from Santa Marta or Taganga.
  2. Hiking from El Zaíno: After entering the park, a hike is necessary to reach Siete Olas Beach. The trail is well-marked and part of the park’s main walking routes. The journey is scenic, traversing through diverse terrain and offering stunning views along the way.
  3. Guided Tours: Considering the terrain and the hike, opting for a guided tour can be a good choice, especially for first-time visitors.

What to Expect at Siete Olas Beach: Siete Olas Beach is more of a viewpoint than a typical beach for swimming due to its strong waves and currents. It’s renowned for its seven visible wave breaks, which create a breathtaking natural spectacle.

The beach is an excellent spot for sightseeing, photography, and enjoying the natural beauty of the park. The panoramic views of the coastline and the deep blue sea are truly unforgettable.

Facilities at Siete Olas are minimal, so visitors should come prepared with essentials like water, snacks, and sun protection. It’s a perfect destination for those who appreciate nature’s grandeur and are looking for a serene environment to relax and take in the views.

Siete Olas Beach offers a unique experience within Tayrona National Park, combining the thrill of its rugged coastline with the tranquility of its natural surroundings, making it a must-visit for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts.

Chengue Beach: A Guide to Access and What to Expect

Chengue Beach is another beautiful location within Tayrona National Park, but it’s important to note that this beach is currently closed to the public.

How to Reach Chengue Beach:

  1. By Car or Bus to Park Entrance: Typically, the journey to Chengue Beach would begin by reaching the main entrance of Tayrona National Park, El Zaíno, either by taxi or bus from Santa Marta or Taganga.
  2. Hiking or Boat Access: In the past, access to Chengue Beach could be achieved either by a hike through the park or by boat. The hike would traverse diverse landscapes within the park, offering a chance to experience its natural beauty.

Current Status of Chengue Beach: As of the latest information, Chengue Beach is closed to the public. This closure is part of conservation efforts to preserve the natural environment and ecosystems of the area. The beach is known for its stunning natural beauty, unspoiled by development, and is an important habitat for local wildlife.

While Chengue Beach itself is not accessible, the surrounding areas of Tayrona National Park offer plenty of other beautiful beaches and nature trails for visitors to explore. It’s always a good idea to check the latest status and access rules for beaches within the park before planning your visit.

Chengue Beach serves as a reminder of the delicate balance between enjoying natural beauty and preserving it for future generations. Even though visitors can’t access this particular beach, Tayrona National Park offers many other incredible spots to explore and enjoy.

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Playa Blanca: A Guide to Access and What to Expect

Playa Blanca is a popular tourist hotspot in Santa Marta, known for its soft sand and crystal-clear waters. It’s a long stretch of beach that offers a variety of activities for families and visitors.

How to Reach Playa Blanca:

  1. Boat from El Rodadero: The most common and convenient way to reach Playa Blanca is by boat from Playa El Rodadero. These boats offer a direct route to the beach, making it easily accessible.
  2. Aquarium to Playa Blanca: Another route involves going from the aquarium to Playa Blanca, then to Playa El Rodadero, though details about the cost of this route are unclear.

What to Expect at Playa Blanca:

  • Activities: Playa Blanca offers activities like sunbathing, kayaking, jet skiing, and banana boat rides. There’s also a unique zip-lining experience that runs over the beach.
  • Crowdedness: Be aware that Playa Blanca can get very busy, especially on weekends, making it challenging to find a spot for your towel on the beach.
  • Amenities: There are bars and restaurants along the beach, offering a chance to enjoy local food and drinks.
  • Caution: The beach gets crowded, and vendors set up tents along the beach, which might take up space.

Next, we’ll explore Inca Inca Beach, another family-friendly beach in Santa Marta.

Inca Inca Beach: A Guide to Access and What to Expect

Inca Inca Beach: A Guide to Access and What to Expect

Inca Inca Beach is a hidden gem nestled between Playa El Rodadero and Playa Blanca in Santa Marta. Known for its seclusion and tranquility, it offers a peaceful retreat from the more crowded nearby beaches.

How to Reach Inca Inca Beach:

By Land: The journey to Inca Inca Beach can begin with a taxi or public bus ride from Santa Marta to Rodadero, a nearby area. The taxi ride costs about $3 and takes around 15 minutes, while the public bus is a cheaper option, costing less than $0.80 and taking about 20 minutes. From Rodadero, you have two options to reach Inca Inca Beach:

  1. Hiking: A popular way to access Inca Inca Beach is by hiking. The trail is approximately 2.8 km long with an elevation gain of about 100 meters and takes around 45 minutes to complete. It’s an easy hike but can be challenging under the hot sun, so carrying water is essential. The trail offers scenic views and ends at the beach, allowing you to enter from the right side.
  2. By Boat: Although not as common, it is possible to charter a private boat from Playa El Rodadero to Inca Inca Beach. Public taxi-boats might not be regularly available, so hiring a private boat could be a viable option if you prefer a direct sea route.

What to Expect at Inca Inca Beach:

Atmosphere: Inca Inca Beach is much quieter compared to its neighboring beaches, making it an ideal spot for those seeking a calm and relaxing beach experience. Despite its smaller size, the beach usually has plenty of free space, even on weekends.

Facilities: Unlike many beaches in Santa Marta, Inca Inca Beach is not covered with tents. Instead, it offers more aesthetically pleasing, natural-looking cabana-like umbrellas made of grass, available for rent at similar rates. The beach also has minimal vendor presence, adding to its peaceful ambiance.

Activities: For an adventurous and unique experience, Inca Inca Beach offers an underwater walking tour. This activity allows you to explore the marine ecosystem with the help of safe and innovative helmets, making it accessible even for non-swimmers. The experience lasts about 15-20 minutes underwater at a depth of 4 to 5 meters.

Tips for Visiting:

  • Wear sturdy footwear for the hike, as the path includes loose rocks.
  • Bring plenty of sunscreen, as you’ll be exposed to the sun, especially during the hike.
  • Carry cash, as local vendors and umbrella rentals likely do not accept card payments.
  • Visit on a weekday for a more secluded experience.
  • Stay hydrated and bring enough water for your visit.

Nearby Attractions:

  1. Playa El Rodadero: A large and accessible beach, known for its palm tree-lined promenade, but also for being busy with vendors and tents.
  2. Playa Blanca: Another popular beach reachable by boat, known for its beauty but can be crowded.

Inca Inca Beach, with its serene atmosphere, beautiful surroundings, and unique activities like underwater walking, provides a distinctive beach experience away from the hustle and bustle of more tourist-heavy areas.

Los Naranjos Beach: A Guide to Access and What to Expect

Los Naranjos Beach, known for its appealing surf conditions, is located near the northern edge of Tayrona National Park, close to the mouth of the Piedras River. This beach is a prime spot for surfing enthusiasts and is often chosen for hosting sports championships due to its high-quality waves.

How to Reach Los Naranjos Beach:

Los Naranjos Beach is located near Tayrona National Park. Visitors can access the beach by traveling to the park, which is a well-known tourist destination. Specific details on transportation to Tayrona National Park can provide a reference for reaching Los Naranjos. Typically, visitors can take a bus or taxi from nearby cities like Santa Marta to the park.

What to Expect at Los Naranjos Beach:

Surfing: The beach’s prime location next to Tayrona Park, and its proximity to the Piedras River mouth, create ideal conditions for surfing. The quality of the waves makes it a popular spot for surfers and for hosting various surfing events.

Natural Beauty: Being close to Tayrona National Park, visitors can expect beautiful natural scenery, making it an ideal spot for nature lovers and photographers.

Considerations for Visitors:

  • Surfing Equipment: If you plan to surf, ensure you have the necessary equipment, as the beach is known for its surf-friendly waves.
  • Nature and Wildlife: Being near a national park, the area is rich in biodiversity. Visitors should respect the natural environment and wildlife.

It’s important to note that, as of 2019, certain beaches in Tayrona, including Chengue and parts of Bahia Concha, have been closed to the public. While there is no specific mention of Los Naranjos Beach being closed, it’s always a good idea to check for the latest information before planning your visit.

Los Naranjos Beach offers a unique combination of surfing opportunities and natural beauty, making it a must-visit for those looking to enjoy the ocean waves and the serene environment near Tayrona National Park.

Mendihuaca Beaches: A Guide to Access and What to Expect

Mendihuaca, located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, is a relatively undiscovered paradise, offering a tranquil and rustic beach experience. It’s an ideal destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of more touristy areas.

How to Reach Mendihuaca Beaches:

The best way to travel from Santa Marta to Mendihuaca is by bus. You can catch a bus from Santa Marta Market heading towards Palomino, which also stops near Tayrona National Park. The bus ticket costs around 7000 COP, and you should ask the driver to drop you at the entrance to Costeño Beach near the moto-taxi stop. From there, Mendihuaca is about a 10-minute walk or a short moto-taxi ride away.

What to Expect at Mendihuaca Beaches:

Activities: Mendihuaca is known for its great surfing opportunities. There is a surf school located right on the beach, offering lessons and equipment rental. For a more relaxed experience, you can enjoy the calm waters of the Mendihuaca River, ideal for swimming or renting a kayak.

Dining: There are a few restaurants in the area serving traditional food. You can find fresh fish served with coconut rice, and there are also cafes and bars where you can enjoy a drink while watching the sunset.

Accommodation: You’ll find several eco hostels and lodges right on the beachfront, offering a rustic and close-to-nature experience. There’s also a campsite with basic facilities. For a bit more luxury, there’s the Mendihuaca Hotel, a 3-star resort-style establishment.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • The area is quite rustic, so it’s advisable to bring a torch for navigation at night.
  • Power availability can be limited, so a power bank could be useful.
  • Connectivity can be an issue, with Claro being the best SIM card choice for the area.
  • Don’t forget to pack sunscreen and mosquito repellent.

Mendihuaca offers a unique, off-the-beaten-path experience with its stunning beaches, river, and surfing opportunities, making it an ideal destination for those seeking both adventure and relaxation in a more secluded setting.

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El Rodadero Beach: A Guide to Access and What to Expect

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El Rodadero Beach is a popular destination in Santa Marta, renowned for its beautiful white sands and surrounding mountains, making it an attractive spot for sun seekers and water sports enthusiasts.

How to Reach El Rodadero Beach:

From Santa Marta: You can take a taxi, which is an affordable and easy option, or opt for the public bus system. The buses run from Carrera 5, the main road in the historic center of Santa Marta, and you should look out for a bus signed for Rodadero. The bus fare is quite economical, about $0.50.

From Cartagena: If you are in Cartagena, you can book a public bus to Santa Marta, and then either take a bus or taxi to El Rodadero Beach. The bus journey from Cartagena to Santa Marta takes approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes.

What to Expect at El Rodadero Beach:

Space and Ambiance: The beach is quite large, ensuring plenty of space for visitors to relax and enjoy the day. Its popularity with tourists means you’ll find excellent food options at reasonable prices. There are also opportunities to enjoy a walk along the beach promenade, shaded by rows of palm trees.

Beach Vendors: A common aspect of the beach experience here involves vendors selling various items. While they generally accept ‘no’ for an answer, their frequent presence can be a bit overwhelming for some visitors.

Beach Tents: You’ll notice tents lining the beach, rented out for shade. While they take up some space and might be seen as an eyesore by some, they are beneficial if you prefer not to stay in the sun all day.

Safety: While the beach and main areas are considered safe, it’s advisable to be cautious in the less crowded backstreets around Rodadero.

Alternatives Nearby: If you are looking for quieter beach options, consider visiting Playa Inca Inca or Playa Blanca, both offering beautiful scenery and a more relaxed atmosphere compared to the bustling El Rodadero.

El Rodadero Beach offers a mix of vibrant beach culture, delicious local food, and a variety of activities, making it a must-visit destination for those exploring the Santa Marta region.

Taganga Beach

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Taganga Beach in Santa Marta offers a unique experience for travelers, blending its picturesque natural setting with a lively local atmosphere. It’s a small fishing village that has gained popularity among backpackers and tourists for its laid-back vibe and beautiful surroundings.

Getting There and Safety Considerations: Taganga is easily accessible from Santa Marta and other parts of Colombia. You can reach it by bus or taxi from Santa Marta. While the town has worked to improve its safety in recent years, it’s still advisable to exercise caution, particularly at night, and to stay in the main areas. There have been reports of increased crime during periods of economic hardship, so it’s wise to be cautious with your belongings and avoid carrying valuables when exploring the area.

Accommodations: Taganga offers a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets. From hostels and guesthouses for backpackers to more upscale, flashpacker-friendly hotels, you’ll find something that meets your needs. For a quieter stay, it’s recommended to choose a place a bit away from the main road, as the area can get quite lively, especially on weekends.

Beaches and Activities: Taganga Beach, though small and shared with the harbour, is a popular spot, especially on weekends when locals from Santa Marta visit. For a more serene beach experience, Playa Grande is a great option. It’s known as one of Colombia’s best beaches and is only a 15-minute walk from Taganga. However, it’s important to note that there have been reports of robberies along the trail to Playa Grande, even during the day. An alternative is to take a boat from Taganga Beach to Playa Grande, which should be a safer option.

Dining and Nightlife: Taganga offers a vibrant nightlife and a variety of dining options, ranging from local Colombian street food to restaurants serving fresh seafood. The area is also known for its street markets where you can try local delicacies.

Proximity to Other Attractions: Taganga is conveniently located near Tayrona National Park, making it an ideal base for exploring the park’s stunning beaches and rainforest.

In summary, Taganga is a charming destination with a rustic feel, offering beautiful beaches, a range of accommodation, and a vibrant local culture. It’s an excellent choice for travelers seeking a mix of relaxation and adventure, with a caution to remain vigilant about personal safety

Best with Friends and Family

Playa Grande in Taganga

Playa Grande, located near the small fishing village of Taganga, is a hidden gem just a short hike away from Santa Marta. This beach is a beautiful and easily accessible spot that offers a quintessential paradise vibe, making it a must-visit for those in the area.

How to Get There and Safety Tips: To reach Playa Grande, you can hike over from Taganga, following a simple and well-marked trail. Along the way, you’ll pass a smaller, quieter beach called Playa Genemaka, which is a great option if you’re looking for a more secluded spot. However, be aware that there have been reports of robberies on the trail to Playa Grande. To ensure safety, it’s advisable not to carry expensive belongings, or you can opt for a boat ride from Taganga Beach to Playa Grande, which should cost less than 10,000COP (around $2USD) per person for a round trip.

Activities and Facilities: Playa Grande, despite being relatively small, offers a variety of activities. You can enjoy snorkeling with abundant marine life or engage in other water activities like kayaking and jet skiing. However, the beach can get crowded with chairs and restaurants, leaving limited space for those who just want to lay down their towels. For those looking to hike, the trail continues beyond Playa Grande, leading to other beaches like Playa Sisiguaca, Playa Escondida, and Playa Rosita, though these are less known and explored.

Dining and Relaxation: The beach area is lined with restaurants and bars, perfect for enjoying a meal or a cocktail. It’s a great place to relax, sunbathe, and take a dip in the ocean to cool off. Moreover, Playa Grande is an ideal spot to watch the sunset.

Tips for Visiting: When visiting Playa Grande, it’s important to bring cash, as most vendors and rentals don’t accept card payments. Carrying a water bottle is advisable to stay hydrated, especially during the hike. Sunscreen is a must, and wearing sturdy footwear is recommended for the trail.

Alternatives Near Playa Grande: If you’re looking to explore further, Playa Cristal in Tayrona National Park is a stunning beach with white sands and blue waters, accessible by boat from Taganga. Another beautiful option is Bahia Concha, reachable either by boat from Taganga or by an hour-long drive. These beaches offer pristine and less crowded environments compared to Playa Grande.

In summary, Playa Grande near Taganga is a wonderful beach destination with easy accessibility, a range of activities, and beautiful natural scenery. It’s an excellent choice for a day trip, offering both adventure and relaxation.

Bello Horizonte

Bello Horizonte Beach in Santa Marta is a small, family-friendly destination known for its tranquility and safety. This beach is approximately 0.52km in length, making it an intimate setting for beachgoers.

Access and Amenities: Bello Horizonte is characterized by its multi-storey hotels and tourist residences, providing visitors with a wide variety of restaurants and entertainment venues. The beach itself, although smaller in scale, is praised for its family-friendly environment and gentle waves, making it an excellent choice for visitors with children.

Best Time to Visit: The ideal months to visit Bello Horizonte for good weather and potentially fewer crowds are January, February, May, and December. The hottest months are February through May, while the rainiest periods are from June to October.

Visitor Experience: Visitors have noted that Bello Horizonte’s environment is perfect for families, offering a more relaxed and safer atmosphere compared to other bustling beaches. However, some visitors have mentioned that the water can be murky compared to other nearby beaches, and there may be limited shade available.

General Considerations: When planning a visit to Bello Horizonte Beach, it’s important to keep in mind the local weather patterns and choose the time of your visit accordingly. As with any popular tourist destination, it’s also wise to prepare for the possibility of crowds, especially during peak travel months.

In summary, Bello Horizonte Beach offers a peaceful beach experience, especially suited for families, with its safe environment and variety of nearby accommodations and dining options​.

Cabo Tortuga Beach

Cabo Tortuga Beach, also known as Playa Cabo Tortuga, is a stunning beach located near Santa Marta. It offers a serene and picturesque environment, making it an ideal spot for travelers seeking a tranquil beach experience. This beach is particularly known for its easy access, vibrant bar, and a healthy food restaurant, providing a perfect combination of relaxation and enjoyment. Additionally, its welcoming atmosphere makes it a favorite among backpackers and other visitors. For those looking for accommodation options, Playa del Ritmo stands out as one of the best beachfront hostels in Santa Marta, offering direct access to Cabo Tortuga Beach and fostering a social and enjoyable environment.

Pozos Colorados Beach

Pozos Colorados Beach, located a few minutes’ drive from Simón Bolívar International Airport in Santa Marta, is a beautiful destination known for its white sandy beaches. This area, being part of Santa Marta’s tourist free zone, has seen significant growth in hotel and resort construction, catering to visitors with various services. The region is popular for its all-inclusive plans, making it an attractive choice for families.

What to Expect at Pozos Colorados Beach:

  • The beach is characterized by its clean, clear waters, making it ideal for swimming and water sports like snorkeling.
  • Its white sandy shores provide a picturesque setting for sunbathing and relaxation.
  • Being a part of a developed tourist area, you’ll find a range of accommodations and dining options catering to different budgets and preferences.

Activities and Amenities:

  • Pozos Colorados offers a variety of activities, including water sports, making it a great spot for those looking for both relaxation and adventure.
  • The area is equipped with amenities that cater to family needs, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

Getting There:

  • The beach is easily accessible by car, especially convenient for those arriving from the nearby airport.

General Tips:

  • As with any popular tourist destination, it’s wise to plan your visit considering peak seasons and weekends, which might see higher visitor numbers.
  • Considering the beach’s popularity and the range of facilities available, it could be a good idea to book accommodations in advance if you plan to stay overnight.

Pozos Colorados Beach, with its beautiful white sands and clear waters, coupled with the convenience of nearby facilities, makes for a perfect family-friendly destination in Santa Marta.

Conclusion and Our Final Thoughts on Best Beaches in Santa Marta Colombia (and Best Beaches near Santa Marta Colombia)

Santa Marta’s beaches, each with their unique allure, offer something special for every type of traveler. From the serene Playa Blanca to the vibrant El Rodadero, the tranquil Inca Inca Beach, the surfing paradise of Los Naranjos, the rustic charm of Mendihuaca, the backpacker-friendly Taganga, the picturesque Playa Grande, the family-friendly Bello Horizonte, the serene Cabo Tortuga, and the developed Pozos Colorados, each beach presents a distinct experience. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, family fun, or a glimpse into local life, Santa Marta’s diverse coastline has it all.

Each beach in this guide brings its own unique atmosphere and range of activities, from quiet relaxation spots to bustling tourist hubs. Santa Marta’s coastline is a testament to Colombia’s natural beauty, offering breathtaking landscapes, rich marine life, and a variety of activities that cater to different interests and ages.

As you plan your visit to these stunning beaches, remember to consider the best times to visit, local transportation options, and the availability of amenities. Whether you’re a solo traveler, with friends, and family, or seeking a romantic getaway, Santa Marta’s beaches are sure to provide unforgettable experiences and picturesque moments.

Hope we were able to guide you and let us know if you have questions!

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