Pelecanus

Santa Marta Colombia Travel Itinerary 7 Days

Santa Marta Travel Map

Updated on 01/25/2024

Dear readers,

My name is Frank and I run a travel agency in Bogota, Colombia. Have fun while reading!

At the end of this itinerary, you will find more Colombia itineraries with different durations and also different destinations in Colombia.

We would be happy to organize your trip tailored to your needs. Our travel agency is located in Bogota Colombia.

Santa Marta Colombia Trip Summary

Day 1 – Santa Marta
Day 2 – Santa Marta – Tayrona Park – Santa Marta
Day 3 – Santa Marta – Taironaka – Santa Marta
Day 4 – Santa Marta – Minca
Day 5 – Minca – San Lorenzo
Day 6 – Minca
Day 7 – Minca – Santa Marta

Planned Places/Cities

Santa Marta

Santa Marta is the capital of the department of Magdalena and is located on the Caribbean coast at just 5 meters (16 feet) above sea level. Therefore, temperatures here range between 21°C and 33 °C (70 – 91°F). The city spreads over a large area and is flanked by mountains from different sides. The immediate Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is mostly inhabited by indigenous communities and not only reaches the highest point in Colombia with the Pico Cristóbal Colón – at a height of 5,700 meters (18,700 feet)- but is also the highest coastal mountain in the world. Santa Marta is the perfect starting point for many leisure and holiday activities. Along the coast to the east, you will find Tayrona National Park, the most famous national park in Colombia. There are also wonderful beaches. Another highlight is the Lost City hidden in the Sierra, which can be visited in a 4-day trek.

Minca

Minca is a tranquil and enchanting mountain village located in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range in Colombia. Nestled amidst lush forests and surrounded by natural beauty, Minca offers visitors a serene escape from the coastal heat and a chance to immerse themselves in the region’s rich biodiversity and relaxed atmosphere.

Minca is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes and abundant biodiversity. The village is surrounded by dense rainforests, coffee plantations, and cascading waterfalls. The area is a haven for birdwatchers, with over 300 bird species, including toucans and hummingbirds, making it a paradise for birdwatching enthusiasts.

The region around Minca is known for its coffee production, and visitors have the opportunity to learn about the coffee cultivation process. Several local farms offer coffee tours, where guests can experience the coffee-making process from bean to cup and enjoy freshly brewed Colombian coffee amid beautiful mountain scenery.

Minca is a paradise for eco-tourists and outdoor enthusiasts. The surrounding mountains offer numerous hiking trails that lead to breathtaking viewpoints and waterfalls. Popular hikes include visits to the Pozo Azul, a series of cascading blue pools, and the Los Pinos viewpoint, which offers panoramic vistas of the lush landscape below.

The Pozo Azul waterfalls are a favorite spot for visitors seeking a refreshing dip in crystal-clear waters. The cascading falls and the surrounding natural pools offer a rejuvenating escape from the heat, and the verdant surroundings make it a perfect spot for relaxation and picnicking.

Taironaka

Taironaka is an eco-hotel but also an open-air museum with different activities offered. The architecture of this eco-hotel are circular houses with stone base, raised in wood and covered by palm leaves, similar to those found, the same that, according to their size, location and constructive peculiarities, showed that they were a site perhaps intended for religious ceremonies and confirmed that it was a settlement of Tairona Indians.

Tayrona National Natural Park

Tayrona National Natural Park, often referred to as just “Tayrona Park,” is a protected area located along the Caribbean coast of Colombia. Situated in the northern part of the country, the park is renowned for its stunning coastal landscapes, biodiverse ecosystems, and cultural significance as the ancestral land of the indigenous Tayrona people.

Tayrona Park is celebrated for its breathtaking natural beauty. It encompasses a diverse range of landscapes, including pristine beaches, lush rainforests, rugged mountains, and crystal-clear rivers. The park’s rich biodiversity is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.

The park is famous for its stunning beaches with white sand and turquoise waters. Some of the most popular beaches include Cabo San Juan, La Piscina, Arrecifes, and Playa Cristal. Visitors can relax on the shores, swim in the Caribbean Sea, or snorkel to explore the vibrant underwater world.

The park holds significant cultural importance as the ancestral land of the indigenous Tayrona people, who have inhabited the region for centuries. Several indigenous communities still reside within the park, maintaining their traditions, language, and connection to the land.

Within the park’s boundaries, there are various archaeological sites that bear witness to the ancient Tayrona civilization. Some of these sites include ancient terraces, ceremonial areas, and burial grounds, offering insights into the history and culture of the indigenous people who once thrived in the area.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Santa Marta

Arrival to Santa Marta

You will be picked up at the airport in Santa Marta and driven to your hotel.

The bilingual guide will be waiting for you at the exit of the airport.

Accommodation

Here you will find the best hotel recommendations in Colombia.

Half Day Santa Marta City tour

In the Santa Marta City Tour you will enjoy an exciting tour of approximately 3 hours through the most beautiful bay of America, in which you will visit the following places: La Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, the Historic Center of Santa Marta, declared a National Monument in 1963; the Monument that honors the native soccer star of the Pearl of America, Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama, and Taganga, a typical fishing village. In the Gold Museum you can appreciate the exhibition of the Anthropological and Ethnological Museum of the Tayrona Culture, their beliefs, mythologies, crafts and goldsmith pieces are exposed in this place, to know and explore the legacy of the milenary culture of the Tayrona.

Day 2: Santa Marta – Tayrona Park – Santa Marta

Full Day Tayrona Park

You will be picked up at the hotel and drive to Taganga, where you will start an incredible adventure to the Tayrona Park, located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, just 30 minutes from Santa Marta. Upon arrival you will take a boat to one of the busiest places in the park, Cabo San Juan. Here you will have free time to enjoy the park’s best option for swimming, hiking and, of course, relaxing in a hammock. In the afternoon you will walk to the entrance of the park, approximately 3 hours. There you will be picked up by a driver to get to your hotel.

Day 3: Santa Marta – Taironaka – Santa Marta

Full Day Tour Taironaka and Don Diego River

Your guide will pick you up to take your full day tour. In the natural reserve of Taironaka, located at km 58 of the road leading to Riohacha, it is possible to see the cultural and historical importance of the Tayrona culture. There are restored terraces where the indigenous people used to build their homes and an archeological museum with original artifacts. The area is of great importance for the Koguis, direct descendants of the Tayrona. One of the most fun activities in Taironaka is tubing down the Don Diego River.

Day 4: Santa Marta – Minca

Minca

You will be picked up after breakfast and drive up the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta to Minca. You will visit different waterfalls and also a coffee farm. During the day you will discover the beauty of this region, which is also know as the highest coastal mountain range in the world.

Day 5: Minca

Half Day Birding Minca San Lorenzo

You will be picked up at the hotel and taken to Cuchilla de San Lorenzo than extends from the town of Minca at 600 meters above sea level, to the edge of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Natural National Park at 2700 meters above sea level. This is one of the best areas to observe endemic and rare species, as it has 15 species of endemic birds such as the Santa Marta Bush-tyrant, Santa Marta Parakeet, and Santa Marta Blossomcrown, the Scarlet-fronted Parakeet among others.

In addition to several species of birds, you can observe a concentration of endemic frogs, reptiles, butterflies and plants.

Along the way, you will make a few stops at feeders and in the Cloud Forest to look for new species. You will have lunch at the Bella Vista trail and then return to the hotel.

Day 6: Minca

Day at leisure

If you need any recommendation, we will be more than happy to help you.

Day 7: Minca – Santa Marta

Departure Santa Marta

You will be picked up at the hotel and driven to the airport in Santa Marta.

Travel Map

Santa Marta Travel Map
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About Author

Frank

Frank

Hello! I'm Frank Spitzer, the founder and the heart behind Pelecanus, a specialized tour operator for Colombia travel. My journey in travel is vast and rich – I've explored over 60 countries, absorbing cultures, experiences, and stories along the way. Since 2017, I've been channeling this wealth of global experience into creating unforgettable travel experiences in Colombia.I'm recognized as a leading authority in Colombian tourism, with a deep-seated passion for sharing this beautiful country with the world. You can catch glimpses of my travel adventures and insights around Colombia on my YouTube channel. I'm also active on social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, where I share the vibrant culture and stunning landscapes of Colombia.For professional networking, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. Join me on this incredible journey, and let's explore the wonders of Colombia together!

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