KM 14 Via Cienaga, Santa Marta, Colombia
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Santa Marta, Colombia - I was there to take an open sea scuba certification course. Although I got an ear infection which curtailed my fianl dives, I would highly recommend Santa Marta for diving and Vallenato (which is a dance style typical of the northern Colombian coast, particularly, Santa Marta. It was very economical as long as you stayed near the Rodadero where all the real nightlife is and most of the major dive companies are located.
By all means, avoid accommodations far from the Rodadero. Especially, the IROTAMA resort which is near the airport, too far from the Rodadero, has a lousy beach and is far too costly. Stay in the Rodadero! Contact me for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org
sadly always closed while there
a lot of potential
the goods at La Casa
view to taganga village
Is Columbia safe?
I am thinking about vacationing in Columbia. I have heard a lot about Santa Marta and it being a favorite gringo destination. I want to know if it is safe to vacation there being there are so many problems with the government.
RE: Is Columbia safe?
I think Santa Marta was great with the 'hammock village' up in the hills and I really enjoyed staying in the Old City of Cartagena. I think these places are no more dangerous than certain neighborhoods in major US & European cities.
RE: Is Columbia safe?
I' m from Dusseldolf. I worked 2 years ion Bogota, Santa Marta and Cali. I learned many things> colombians are friendly, staying is so cheap that with 500 euros 2 backpackers live like gods. A taxi is less thanm 1 euro in Santamarta, and goes around 1 to Euros to travel from one extreme to the other in a big city as Bogota, wich has 38 shopping malls and 7 million people.
Buses are under 1 euro in all the country, Bogota has a so juch publicized massive bus system called Transmilenio, too disfunctional in its routes.. a bad copycat of the magnificent Curitiba/Brasil system. Dont itend to get on TRansmilenio buses on peak hours 6 to nine AM or 12-3pm or 5-7pm you migfht easy get robber by very expert piocketpickers wich inclued pregnant women, tie executives or whatever.
Your things get stolen if you do what stupids turists do around the world: jewerly on, big lens cameras on neck, mony and wallet exposed, etc. Just have some jeans, a small video or photo camera, tennis shoes, if you are blond just get something to avoid exposing your caucasic appeareance are foreign language.
One of the things I really hate is you will se police, private guards, army etc on the streets all day, like if they where on active war.... it looks bad but in reality is just line a burocratic thing... you will even see that those guys are not cooperative to turists and not too helpful, as people, wich are very collaborative and warm.
Sata marta has the actual city, wich has nothing to offer, and 30 minutes further you will be at the EL Rodadero Beaches... wich is a 2 mile sea side beach, with hotels an apartments to rent everywhere. If you are a 5 star traveller, try the Decameron or Irotama hotel, stay a couple of days and then go to Cartagena for another couple of days. Thats all.
If you like to be with real people, stay at El Roddero Zone, and visit from the the Taganga fishers town by boat or bus, you might do some diving too.
In all Colombia, armoured trucks with dark glasses and motorcycles menas there are drug lords, govt people or rich people around. Try to stay away from them.
In one world> you will like it!
Travel Tips for Santa Marta
General tips - Taganga.
The Colombian Caribbean coast is a region where coexist a wide variety of cultures, every one with their own customs and histories that surprise every tourist and it's not enough to visit great cities like Santa Marta, Barranquilla or Cartagena in order to understand this magic land. Therefore, if you are searching something more tah a sample glance, you must to move away a bit, you must to be off the beaten track, according to your particular purpose: to visit historic places, to see inusual customs or to visit places with a beatiful lanscape suitable for ecotourism.
Near from Santa Marta lies Taganga, a peaceful and safe place. Taganga is a good option to stay a complete day, because is near from the city (just 10 minutes in a colectivo ride). It´s a small town of fishermen, situated in a beatiful bay of the same name. Normally very quiet, it´s crowded with people all around Colombia in the high season; lots of music (mainly Vallenatos) and happy people. Now, Taganga is a popular diving site and one of the cheapest places in Colombia.
Santa Marta might not be noted as having great beaches but certainly, it has a serviceable and very convenient one compared to Cartagena, where you have to travel a bit to enjoy such things. Locals enjoyed the warm lapping waters and fair enough sand. It seemed particularly popular early evening when the sun had gone down a bit in the sky and temperatures had dropped a tad. While it may have lacked the post card scenic beauty of the beaches of nearby Tayrona National Park, it was just a stone's throw from fairly affordable accommodation.
Go to the Beach
Since we were on a cruise ship, we did not attempt to go to the beach for fear of being left at the port. I understand there are several towns around where one can lie on the sand.
I took pictures of the beaches that were within view - some of them had people beaching it, and some appeared deserted and may only be accessible by boat
trek to La Ciudad Perdida
La Ciudad Perdida has not only a rich and lengthy history but a storied recent past as well. Though settlement in the vicinity dates back perhaps a far as the 7th century and the actual structures' construction to between the 11th and 14th, the “Lost City” was just that until the early 1970s when local grave-robbers happened upon the jungle-strewn ruins of the indigenous Tayrona people. The terraced structures that remain incredibly well-preserved even today were mere platforms on which the wooden thatched homes of the Tayrona were built.
Even after its “discovery,” the area was far from settled and remained in a state of turmoil first with grave-robber gangs fighting over the spoils and then with cocaine cartels using the perfect growing conditions and inaccessibility to their best advantage. This was in great conflict with its tourist development and in the early years of this, a few intrepid travelers were taken hostage, thus propelling La Ciudad Perdida to backpacker mythic proportions. In a world where Macchu Pichu was now all too easy to visit, this was a more esoteric jewel in the crown for those drawn to tramping on less trodden if dangerous grounds. As with all things to do with Colombia, information about such danger lagged far behind the steady progress away from it. La Ciudad has been host to many organized trekking groups since the millennium and now appears to be as safe a trek as any in South America. Of course, such organization takes from its illusive allure but it still has a few years before it is overrun like similar treks in Peru so enjoy it while it lasts.
You must do the tour with a group and thankfully there is now some competition amongst the ranks after many years of it being monopolized by Colombia's national tourist company, TURCOL. It can be done in as little as five days but the more typical trek is six days and five nights. This can be arranged in Santa Marta or Taganga and definitely cheaper than doing it in Bogota.
For more details, check out my La Ciudad Perdida page.
Popular Hotels in Santa Marta
KM 14 Via Cienaga, Santa Marta
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We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:
- Irotama Hotel Santa Marta
Address: KM 14 Via Cienaga, Santa Marta, Colombia