Santa Marta, anong with other Colombian cities, celebrates Carnivale in February. One of the Carnival traditions involves young men who paint themselves all over with black grease and ask for coins. If you don’t give them anything, they will touch you and get you dirty.
When I ask locals what people do for Carnival in Santa Marta, they say they go to Barranquilla. Barranquilla indeed has the largest carnival celebration in Colombia and supposedly is second only to Brazil. I nonetheless stayed in Santa Marta and learned why people say they go to Barranquilla.
Supposedly, Santa Marta had the first carnival celebration in the country but Barranquilla built up their celebration and Santa Marta invested in their Festival del Mar (in August). Unfortunately this site had allowed uploading videos, but I'll add a couple of photos. There is a parade in the historic center from the alcaldia by Parque de Simon Bolivar, around to the bay, up calle 22, down carrera 5 and to a barrio called Pescaito. You can buy cans of foam spray for $5000 COP, which many people did and they sprayed the parade participants. Immediately, parade participants are doused with white foam or white powder. I was on cra. 5 and you couldn't tell who was part of the parade and who were supposedly observers. I guess if you have a foam can in your hand you are no longer observing. I realize some may find this a good time. I thought it was disorganized. I wouldn't go again if I had the opportunity.
The whole archeological vestiges found in the park, show a high adaptation level about the use of tecourses of that wide coastal border: in fact, their settlements occupy a lot of microenvironments from the thorny and dry coastal forest until the exuberant cloudy tropical forest.
The Tayrona's prosperous communities had reached a complex and effective comercial system which stimulated the exploitation of several recourses and goods production from their specialized coastal economy: the Tagangas, skilful firshermen like the Busincas and Chairamas, provided a lot of fish to cities and little towns of the Sierra Nevada, set theirselves up as an important pillar of the Tayrona's urban system.