Where to stay in Santa Marta – What you need to know

Santa Marta is the capital of the department of Magdalena in Colombia and is located in the north of the country, between the Sierra Nevada and the Caribbean Sea.

Where to stay in Santa Marta -Best areas and hotels

Where to stay in Santa Marta -Best areas and hotels

This city has become one of the most important tourist destinations on the Colombian coast, following Cartagena, combining paradisiac beaches with mountains, lively nightlife, and colonial charm.

In addition, many backpackers and adventurers visit the city to see Tayrona National Park, an oasis located a few kilometers from the urban area of Santa Marta where you can do trekking, get amazing photographs for your Social Media feed or relax in the sea.

Because it is a Caribbean city, the climate of the city is known for its high temperatures that exceed 80ºF (27ºC) during most of the year. However, to make the most of a visit to Santa Marta, it is recommended to avoid the rainy season, usually from June to October, as well as Colombian holidays.

When deciding what to see in Santa Marta, you can not miss the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, a sugar plantation farm that is famous for being the place where Simón Bolívar died, as well as the city’s cathedral, and the Tairona Gold Museum.

The public transport system of Santa Marta consists of buses, but for safety and comfort, it is recommended to use the taxi services to get around the city.

As for the best areas to stay in Santa Marta, El Rodadero stand out for its multiple accommodation options (See accommodation in El Rodadero).

Here’s a list with the best areas to stay in Santa Marta. In addition to the information of the different districts, we have also included a small security section to take into account when choosing the safest area to stay in Santa Marta.

Accommodation options in Santa Marta

Hotels in Santa Marta

The best hotels to stay in Santa Marta.

Hostels in Santa Marta

Hostels and cheap stays in Santa Marta.


Apartments in Santa Marta

Looking for independence? Book an apartment in Santa Marta.

Pensions and B&B

Pensions, B&B and guest houses in Santa Marta.

Best areas to stay in Santa Marta

1. El Rodadero

The district of Gaira – El Rodadero is the best place to stay in Santa Marta for hosting one of its main urban beaches: El Rodadero.

It is considered the commercial area of Santa Marta par excellence because of its many restaurants specializing in seafood, shops, and hotels of different categories, as well as its vibrant nightlife.

El Rodadero is located to the south of the city and has residential and quiet buildings that create an interesting contrast to the bustle of its shopping streets.

In the same way, this area has attractions such as the Rodadero Aquarium that offer entertainment for the whole family.

Is it safe? El Rodadero is one of the safest areas to stay in Santa Marta. However, caution is recommended during the night, especially in poorly lit and lonely corners or on the beach.

El Rodadero - Where to stay in Santa Marta, Colombia

El Rodadero – Where to stay in Santa Marta, Colombia

Santa Marta - El Rodadero - Click to see all hotels on a map

Santa Marta – El Rodadero – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Beach access
  • Wide variety of hotels
  • Great food
  • Rodadero Aquarium

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Blu Hotel by Tamacá – Sercotel has a restaurant and rooms with free Wi-Fi and plasma TV, and is located in Santa Marta. The property offers free parking and breakfast. – from US$64.

  • Budget Option

    Hotel Marbella Tradition Rodadero offers a garden. The property is 2.5 km from Playa Blanca and the Rodadero Sea Aquarium and Museum. Free WiFi is available.- from US$14 .

  • Midrange Option

    Hotel Yuldama Rodadero Inn has 2 swimming pools, restaurant, cafeteria, meeting facilities and free Wi-Fi. The property is 200 meters from El Rodadero Beach.- from US$44 .

  • Luxury Option

    Hotel Arhuaco by Solar Hoteles offers an outdoor pool and accommodation with a balcony and free WiFi. It is located in the tourist area of Rodadero de Santa Marta. – from US$109 .

 

 

 

2. Bello Horizonte

Located southwest of El Rodadero, Bello Horizonte is a mostly residential area, home to upper-middle-class families and many luxury hotels for the most demanding travelers.

It is a quiet neighborhood, ideal for those seeking relaxation during their stay in Santa Marta but without sacrificing a good location since it is very close to the beach.

Another advantage of staying in Bello Horizonte is that it is located a short distance from the Simon Bolivar International Airport of Santa Marta, so it is recommended for travelers making a route through Colombia.

The beaches of Bello Horizonte are usually less crowded than those of El Rodadero, but because it is a more exclusive area, the cost of accommodation tends to be higher.

Is it safe? Bello Horizonte is the safest area to stay in Santa Marta, Colombia.

Bello Horizonte - Best areas to stay in Santa Marta

Bello Horizonte – Best areas to stay in Santa Marta

Santa Marta - Bello Horizonte - Click to see all hotels on a map

Santa Marta – Bello Horizonte – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Peaceful area
  • Close to the airport
  • Luxury hotels

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Mercure Santa Marta Emile offers free WiFi and an outdoor pool. Other facilities include a terrace, a fitness center and a bar. There is private parking. – from US$79.

  • Budget Option

    Sánha Plus Hotel is located in Santa Marta, just 500 meters from the beach. It has 2 swimming pools surrounded by palm trees and WiFi.- from US$69 .

  • Luxury Option

    Zuana Beach Resort is located in Santa Marta, just 30 meters from Bello Horizonte Beach, and features a hot tub, swimming pool, gym and tennis court. – from US$114 .

 

 

 

3. Old Town (Centro Histórico)

Santa Marta’s Old Town or Centro Histórico has the best location since it is near the beach and most of the attractions of the city, including Bolivar Park (the main square of the city) and the Cathedral of Santa Marta.

Staying in the Old Town allows you to discover the most authentic side of the city, with restaurants specializing in typical Colombian food, clothing stores, and souvenir shops.

Furthermore, the Old Town offers a wide range of accommodation and for all kinds of travelers, including cheap hostels for backpackers.

This area also has some bars that let you know what the nightlife in Santa Marta is like. You can also get excellent views of the sea from Marina de Santa Marta, ideal for walks during the sunset.

Is it safe?: The Old Town is not the safest area to stay in Santa Marta. However, during the day, there should be no problems beyond the usual chaos of its streets.

Centro Histórico - Best areas to stay in Santa Marta

Centro Histórico – Best areas to stay in Santa Marta

Santa Marta - Old Town - Click to see all hotels on a map

Santa Marta – Old Town – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Cheap accommodation
  • Close to the attractions of the city
  • Marina de Santa Marta

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Hotel Boutique Casa Carolina is next to the San Francisco Monastery in the historic center of Santa Marta, 200 meters from Santa Marta Beach and Simón Bolívar Square, and offers an outdoor pool, rooftop hot tubs and a spa. – from US$64.

  • Budget Option

    Hotel Boutique Casa del Viento offers accommodation with free WiFi in Santa Marta, 200 meters from Santa Marta Cathedral. This hotel is located in the historic center, 6 km from El Rodadero Beach.- from US$24 .

 

 

 

4. Taganga

Taganga was, at first, a small fishing village, but, nowadays, it is considered a district of Santa Marta, and is located north of the city.

This area is preferred by backpackers who visit the city, as its beaches are quiet compared to those in the main residential districts, and the cost of accommodation is usually lower.

Taganga is surrounded by small seafood restaurants that are the dream of any foodie, small bars and nightclubs.

Taganga is also one of the best areas to stay in Santa Marta to snorkel for its coral reefs and variety of sea animals.

Is it safe? Taganga is not the safest area to stay in Santa Marta, but it is quieter than the Old Town. It is recommended to hire a boat service to get to Playa Grande, as there have been reports of tourists being robbed on the trails.

Taganga - Where to stay in Santa Marta, Colombia

Taganga – Where to stay in Santa Marta, Colombia

Santa Marta - Taganga - Click to see all hotels on a map

Santa Marta – Taganga – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Playa Grande
  • Great food
  • Cheap accommodation

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Hotel Bahia Taganga is located in Taganga and offers an outdoor pool, terrace with views of the surroundings, spa, free Wi-Fi and American breakfast. – from US$34.

  • Budget Option

    Divanga Hostel in Taganga, it offers free WiFi, a sun terrace with a pool, a shared lounge and a bar.- from US$9 .

 

 

 

5. Tayrona National Natural Park

Tayrona National Natural Park is located north of Taganga and Santa Marta and is an almost mandatory stop for visitors to the Colombian Caribbean.

This park mixes crystalline beaches with jungles, mountains, a great variety of animal species, plants and trails that are the utopia of any nature fan.

While it is true that many travelers choose to visit Tayrona during the day and go back to Santa Marta when it is time to sleep, staying at the spectacular hotels and hostels that are in the park is an excellent option to explore it without rushing.

However, it must be taken into account that there’s an entrance fee in Tayrona Park and the cost of accommodation within the park is usually high.

Staying in Tayrona National Natural Park - Santa Marta

Staying in Tayrona National Natural Park – Santa Marta

Santa Marta - Tayrona Park - Click to see all hotels on a map

Santa Marta – Tayrona Park – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Breathtaking landscapes
  • Peaceful beaches
  • Wide range of hotels

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Manigua Tayrona Hostel has an outdoor pool and restaurant. It also has a 24-hour reception and a solarium. – from US$34.

 

 

 

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|ES|Dónde dormir en Santa Marta – Mejores zonas y hoteles.

About the Author

My name is Luis Cicerone. When I was little, I would walk around the house with an atlas in my hand. My rainy Sundays were spent memorising maps and capitals. At fifteen I did my first solo trip and since then I travel whenever I can. I work in travel marketing. I love photography, movies and cat videos.

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