Santa Marta Geography and History

Santa Marta, View from the Sea FrontSanta Marta is the capital of the Magdalena department in Colombia. It is the oldest city in South America and today a major port on the Atlantic with a population of nearly 500,000 people.

.........................................................................................................................................

Location and Orientation

Santa Marta is located on the Caribbean Coast in the North of Colombia, it sits between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Caribbean Sea. The rocky island El Morro lays in front of the Santa Marta bay.

Santa Marta's principal center (El Centro) is along Avenida Rodrigo de Bastidas (in front of the beach) and the commercial street of Carrera 5. Other point of interest is the beach resort El Rodadero and Playa Blanca, 5kms south of the center.

.........................................................................................................................................

Climate and Temperatures

Santa Marta has a tropical climate with sun and temperatures ranges from 27 to 35 degrees. The temperatures and the climate are relatively constant throughout the year with June and July being the rainiest months (this shouldn't stop you from going anyway).

Near Santa Marta, the highest snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta enjoy lower temperatures and higher rainfalls.

.........................................................................................................................................

Simon Bolivar died in Santa MartaA Short History

Santa Marta was founded in July 1525 by Rodrigo de Bastidas and is the oldest European settlement in South America. Prior the the Spanish arrivals, the area near Santa Marta was colonized by the Tayronas, ancestors to today's local indigenous communities of the Koguis and the Arhuacos. The Tayronas were a very advanced civilization and built incredible cities and roads all over the Sierra de Santa Marta. By the end of the 16th century, the Spanish gold's thirist and the various deseases they brought with them had wiped out Tayronas. Remains of this civilazation are still very visible through a trek to the Lost City or a visit to the Tayrona National Park.

Major Spanish port in the 16th and 17th centuries, Santa Marta was constantly attacked by pirats leading to its decline and the emergence of Cartagena.

A very important date for the city's history, on December 17th of 1830, Simón Bolívar died in Santa Marta after a few months travelling down the Magdalena river. His last breaths were in Hacienda Quinta San Pedro Alejandrino, which is now a museum and a botanical garden.

During the 20th century the city served as a port for bananas cultivated along the Colombian Caribbean Coast and the coal extracted nearby. Architectural remains of this intensive culture are visible in the Bananatown neighboorhood in Santa Marta.
.........................................................................................................................................

Leave your comments

0

Comments

  • No comments found

Did you know?

Santa Marta is the birthplace of Colombia's most famous football player, Carlos Valderrama, as well as current football star Radamel Falcao. It is also the hometown of singer and songwriter Carlos Vives.

Search for the Best Hotels in Santa Marta

Check-in Date

Check-out Date

Off2 Colombia Blog

You are now being logged in using your Facebook credentials