Cruise ships dock at Puerto de Colombia about 1/2 a mile to the center of town. The port is a container terminal with no facilities for passengers. A short shuttle will bring you to to the center of town by the beach next to the old Custom House.
It's easy to get around Santa Marta. It feels like a big small town. You can easily walk around the historic district without needing transportation. Leaving the cruise you can find all kind of tours operators offer city tours.
Printable map to take along.
Watch a destination video.
Santa Marta is situated on a perfect curve of beach, which makes it a popular vacation spot for Colombians. Alongside the beach is a cobblestone esplanade, and alongside the esplanade are dozens of small tents selling everything from ship models to jewelry to hand-carved domino sets.
Santa Marta, on Colombia's Caribbean coast, The recently renovated downtown of Santa Marta with its blend of colonial and republican architecture attracts more and more visitors among them several cruise ships a week. The beach at Santa Marta is very busy with lots of people, vendors and noise.
Founded in 1525 by Roger de Bastidas, Santa Marta is ideally located for visits to the Santa Marta mountain range, second in height only to the Andes running through Colombia and two national parks. While it doesn't have some of the tourism infrastructure of Cartagena down the coast, it has warm, clean beaches, many in Tayrona, or Tairona, park.
El Libertador Simón Bolívar died at a ranch named Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino on the outskirts of Santa Marta on December 17, 1830.
Travelers should exercise vigilance at all times due to the level of violent crime. Although kidnapping and homicide rates in urban areas of Colombia have dropped in recent years, they remain high. Outside the main tourist areas these dangers are greatly magnified - avoid any off-the-beaten-track travel. It's best to stick to the main routes and travel during daytime only. Regions to avoid include border areas with Ecuador and Venezuela, where criminal, guerrilla and paramilitary activities are a threat to travelers.
It pays to compare your cruise line shore excursions here.
There is an information desk and also some shopping right at the port.
The best shopping is in the city's Rodadero district.
The peso is the currency of the Republic of Colombia. 3065 Peso = 1 USD. The peso is highly volatile.
There are many cafes offering WiFi.
Most shops open 0900-1700 from Monday to Friday and 0900-1300 on Saturday, but some larger stores remain open until 2100 seven days a week.
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