Staying in Santa Marta for at least a couple of nights is essential to fall in love with this beautiful part of Colombia.. Santa Marta is the capital of the interesting Department of Magdalena, one of the most touristic in the coffee country. The city of Santa Marta is the perfect base for exploring some of Colombia’s most incredible landscapes such as Tayrona Park or the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Despite the fact that the city is not the most beautiful, its surroundings are well worth it. we tell you theThe best areas and hotels to stay in Santa Marta for you to enjoy your visit.
Contents of this article
WHERE TO STAY IN SANTA MARTA: BEST AREAS AND HOTELS
1. El Rodadero, the safest area to stay in Santa Marta
When traveling to Colombia and any country in Latin AmericaIt’s totally normal to worry about safety. Fortunately, Colombia has improved a lot in this aspect and in Santa Marta we feel quite safe, especially in El Rodadero.
This coastal area is one of the most touristic in Santa Marta. It is located about 5 kilometers south of the historic center, separated from the central neighborhoods by Cerro Ziruma. At the end of the 20th century, El Rodadero was one of the most exclusive tourist areas in Colombia and stood out for its huge buildings, although some of them now look quite old.
However, if you are looking for security, we believe that it is the best area to stay in Santa Marta. It is a very guarded area, at all hours of the night. In addition, the locals take great care of the tourist, since many families live off of them.
El Rodadero is famous for its beach, for some, one of the most beautiful in Colombia. It is surrounded by large buildings and mountains, although the vendors are very annoying. We would not recommend El Rodadero for its beach, but for its safety and access to facilities.. If you want a beach, it is much better that you go on an excursion to Tayrona and bathe in Playa Cristal, Cabo San Juan del Guía…
If you are looking for a party, El Rodadero is also one of the most popular nightlife areas in Santa Marta. There is a wide range of bars and clubs where you can go dancing until late at night, as well as many restaurants where you can try the typical food of Colombia. However, You should keep in mind that it is one of the most expensive areas to sleep in Santa Marta.
The historic center of Santa Marta can be seen perfectly in one day and the rest of the time you will be doing excursions, so sleeping in El Rodadero is a smart option. Definitely, the best option to stay in Santa Marta.
The top hotels in El Rodadero:
El Rodadero is the best area to stay in Santa Marta if…
✅ Looking to sleep in the safest area
✅ You want to be close to the beach, many facilities and enjoy a lively nightlife
❌ It is one of the most expensive areas to sleep in Santa Marta
2. Historic center, if you are looking for cheap accommodation
The historic center of Santa Marta is the oldest in Colombia. Probably the one in Cartagena is more famous (and beautiful) but none surpasses the history of the one in Santa Marta. the old town It still preserves buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. We didn’t find it particularly pretty, although it does have some interesting attractions such as the Gold Museum, the Cathedral Basilica or some picturesque streets. Discover what to do in Santa Marta!
We believe that the historic center of Santa Marta can be seen perfectly in one day. Even in one morning! So we personally we would avoid sleeping in the old town. Although it is quite safe to visit during the day, at night you have to be more careful.
We feel quite safe, although being the heart of Santa Marta’s social life, there are some pretty unpleasant scenes that you don’t see in El Rodadero. Besides, the streets are quite narrow and somewhat dark. If you decide to sleep in the historic center of Santa Marta, we recommend doing so between the Malecón and the Cathedral to the north and between Carreras 16 and 20 from west to east, since they are the busiest and most guarded areas. You always have to take out travel insurance for Colombia!
Sleeping in the historic center of Santa Marta can be smart if you plan to visit Tayrona by bus or move by public transport, since it is quite centralized in that area.
In the historic center of Santa Marta there are accommodations for all budgets, however, hostels predominate, being one of the cheapest areas to stay in Santa Marta. So if you’re looking to save money, it’s hard to find a better area! Even so, there are also some really nice boutique hotels that take you back in time.
Good accommodations in the historic center:
The historic center is the best area to stay in Santa Marta for…
✅ Being close to museums and cultural attractions
✅ Find cheap accommodation
❌ It can be dangerous at night
3. Santa Marta Marina
If you want to sleep centrally but in a slightly safer area, the Marina de Santa Marta can be a great alternative. In this area you will find huge luxury apartment buildings and also hotels of the big international chains. And all this just a stone’s throw from the historic center of the city!
If you travel to Santa Marta for business, it is probably the most convenient area to stay in Santa Marta. Regarding the leisure offer, apart from the restaurants and attractions located in the historic center, in the Marina de Santa Marta you will find some of the most exclusive restaurants in the city.
Of course, keep in mind that most hotels are luxury, so it is not an economic zone. But sure!
Good accommodations in the Marina
La Marina is the best area to stay in Santa Marta for…
✅ Sleep in luxury hotels of large hotel chains
✅ Being in a safe area and close to the historic center
❌ Prices are high
4. Taganga, the paradise for backpackers
This small coastal town is one of the main attractions of Santa Marta. It is located just 5 kilometers from the center and in recent years it has gone from being a humble fishing village to an interesting tourist destination, especially for backpackers from all over the world. In Taganga they offer Relatively cheap diving initiation courses and that has attracted many visitors.
However, The best of Taganga are its incredible panoramic views of the beaches and mountains. We didn’t like the town itself very much; We found it somewhat dirty and neglected, but sleeping in a hotel with a view can be an excellent option to enjoy the scenery.
In the interior of the town, cheap hostels predominate, being a really cheap option to stay in Santa Marta. If you like the bohemian atmosphere, Taganga will enchant you. You will also meet tourists from all over the world!
Taganga also has a beach, although we found it prettier from its viewpoint. However, boats leave from the beach to Playa Grande or others like Playa Cristal.
Besides, sleeping in Taganga can be a perfect option if you want to visit Tayrona by boat since they start from there.
Top hotels in Taganga:
Taganga is the best area to stay in Santa Marta for…
✅ Backpackers or travelers who want to meet people from all over the world
✅ Sleep in cheap hostels and visit Tayrona by boat
❌ At the logistics level, there are better options
5. Bello Horizonte, the best area to stay in Santa Marta for families
And finally, to finish this post about the best areas to stay in Santa MartaWe didn’t want to forget to mention Bello Horizonte. This part is located south of El Rodadero and is an even more exclusive area than the latter. Honestly, If you are looking for a beach and a good hotel, we believe that it is the best area to stay in Santa Marta. In addition, it is also the ideal destination if you travel with the little ones.
beautiful horizon It is a much quieter area than El Rodadero; There are hardly any parties and the atmosphere is much more relaxed. Besides, the beaches of Bello Horizonte and Pozos Colorados, are cleaner than El Rodadero and much less crowded. And they won’t try to sell you so many things either!
The only bad thing is that the leisure offer is not as wide as in El Rodadero. But there are hotels that have everything! And also, It is also a very safe area to sleep in Santa Marta.
The best accommodations in Bello Horizonte:
Bello Horizonte is the best area to sleep in Santa Marta if…
✅ You travel with your family and you are looking for a relaxed and safe environment
✅ You want a sun and beach holiday
❌ The leisure area is more limited than in El Rodadero or the historic center
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BEST AREAS TO STAY IN SANTA MARTA
Next, we will answer a few questions as a summary to try to resolve any doubt quickly.
Is it safe to visit Santa Marta?
Santa Marta is an important tourist destination. If you take the usual precautions and use common sense, it’s unlikely that anything will happen to you. There they live from tourism and the people take great care of it, condemning criminals. However, Our recommendation is that you sleep in El Rodadero or Bello Horizonte, the safest areas and avoid going out at night.
What is the best area to stay in Santa Marta for those looking to party?
Santa Marta has a lively nightlife. If you want to party, we recommend you sleep in El Rodadero. You will find a lot of offer and a safer environment than in the historic center.
What is the best area to stay in Santa Marta for families?
If you are traveling with your family, Bello Horizonte is the best area to stay in Santa Marta for families. The beaches are more extensive, clean and calm. There are also huge and quiet resorts to enjoy with the little ones.
Where to sleep in Santa Marta to go to Tayrona?
If you want to go to Tayrona by bus, we recommend you sleep in the historic center, since they leave from there. However, we recommend hiring a private transfer. For 200,000 COP (€40) they picked us up at the hotel, took us to Tayrona, waited for us and took us back to El Rodadero. Worth! If you want to go to Tayrona by boat, sleeping in Taganga is the best option.
What is the best area to stay in Santa Marta for backpackers?
If you travel to Santa Marta as a backpacker, Taganga is the best area to stay in Santa. It is very cheap and you will find a lot of backpackers to share your experiences.
LOCATION OF THE BEST AREAS AND HOTELS TO STAY IN SANTA MARTA
On the following map you will find marked the best areas and hotels to stay in Santa Marta so that you can better locate yourself in the city.