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Santa Marta

In the north of Colombia lies Santa Marta, a city and municipality by the Caribbean sea and Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains. Some historians say Santa Marta’s actual name is “Santa Marta de Astorgas” as a Spanish conqueror Rodrigo de Bastidas was the first to discover the city, he would have named it after the Spanish city he visited earlier. As of latest measurement the Santa Marta has a population of 430 thousand people.

From most destinations within Colombia it’s recommended to fly to Santa Marta through Simón Bolívar airport, there are non stop flights available from Bogotá, Cartagena and Medellín. Once landed at the airport it takes a 20 minute taxi ride into town, when staying at a beach resort the ride shouldn’t be longer than 10 minutes depending on traffic. The bus station is out of town, if going there it’s recommended to take the mini bus for the price of 1000 pesos (about $0.50 US).

The city of Santa Marta is an important maritime port and hub for history, culture and sightseeing. Everyday cargo ships import and export products worldwide, and there actions are visible. From El Rodadero (Santa Marta’s main beach) you can view the Caribbean Sea, which at night times have breathtaking sunsets. The beach is of decent quality, it’s quite wide and you find yourself a place to sit, though people, vendors and music break the silence. Vendors are rather aggressive and/or try jacking up the price for tourists. The high season starts in December till April, months after up till November are considered low season.

Sightseeing and other tourist activities are mainly done near the beach area of Santa Marta include scuba diving at the coral reefs, jet ski’s can be rented in increments of 10 minutes (life jacket’s provided) or rent a boat for the day to tour around on the Caribbean Sea. A day at the beach gets you hungry easily, luckily enough Santa Marta has a nice variety of restaurants and cuisines available. Their specialty seems to be roasted and grilled chicken, the Colombians defiantly do a good job to make the food flavorful and tasteful. Another local special on the menu is seafood caught in the Caribbean Sea, it’s inexpensive and usually served with a shrimp cocktail.

Tourists staying in Colombia for up to 90 days will not need a visa, but tourists planning on staying longer can get a permit for an extra 120 days of stay. Business travelers are required to have a business visa and a return ticket is required for anyone traveling to Santa Marta, Colombia. Unlike other big cities, taxi’s in Santa Meter do not run on meters. You have to negotiate the price with the driver before getting in.

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