The romantic port city of Santa Marta, the oldest in Colombia, is located in the area of one of the most important ancient civilizations in the world, the Tayrona Culture. It has the highest coastal mountain range in the world and is bordered by beautiful sandy beaches of the Caribbean. Simón Bolívar, the Liberator, died in the Hacienda of San Pedro Alejandrino, known for producing rum, honey and panela, housing today the Mausoleum and Museum of Bolívar.
The Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta has all the thermal floors , making it the richest area in biodiversity . It begins with snow-capped peaks, goes down through a tropical rainforest , and ends in the sea. The archaeological World Heritage Site known as “The Lost City of the Tayronas”, lies in the lush forests of Tayrona National Park.
Santa Marta – the Pearl of America – has a deep water natural port that enables large intermodal container ships and bulk carriers for coal, to drop anchor all year long. The city has had bananas, as its main export product, from the early years of the 20th Century.
Its architecture reflects the historical past, with very few examples of Spanish colonial buildings remaining. One of these, is the Cathedral, which is the first church built in South America. Another one, is the San Juan Nepomuceno Cloister, today the “Casa de la Cultura”. In the mid-30s, Republican architecture became present in governmental buildings. You can see it today, in the “Casa de la Aduana” and the “Casa de la Alcaldía”.
In July, the “Fiestas del Mar” (Festival of the Sea) takes place in Santa Marta, along with the Nautical Games and the International Sea Beauty Pageant. You can go swimming with dolphins, diving and snorkeling in its colorful reefs. If you love birding, Tayrona Park has over 300 species, such as the lance-tailed manakin, the military macaw, and the solitary eagle.