Need to Know

Santa Marta

Language: Spanish

Currency: Peso ($ COP)

Time: GMT-5 / Eastern Standard Time

Visa: Generally not required for stays of up to 90 days. Citizens of certain countries need to present a tourist visa to gain entry. These can be processed at the Colombian embassies and consulates abroad. You can check if you need a visa or not in the link below. Check countries requiring visas at

High season (Dec – Jan / Easter week / June – Aug / Oct recess week) 

  • Queues and crowds at beaches and destinations, especially in holidays.
  • A good period for spontaneous cultural events and festivals in tourist areas.
  • Lower intensity rainy season in July and August 

Shoulder season (May / Nov)

  • Good deals on accommodation 
  • Weather is great for outdoor adventures 

Low season (Feb – Apr / Sept – Oct) * 

  • Easter and October recess week are high occupation periods
  • Rainy season in September and October
  • Affordable deals on accommodation

Bringing money and goods into Colombia

  • In addition to their personal effects, each visitor is entitled to bring money and goods into Colombia. Whether or not these are tax-free will depend on the following conditions:
    • Maximum of US$ 10,000 or equivalent in any other currency
    • Items for family or personal use in non-commercial amounts up to US$ 1,500
    • Items for domestic, sports, art, professional or work-related use by the traveler, up to a maximum of 3 items of each type, with a value of up to US$ 2,500


  • The Colombian peso (COP$) is the unit of currency in Colombia.
  • Paper notes in circulation are the following: COP$2,000, $5.000, $10,000, $20,000, $50,000 and 100,000. 
  • And the coins are $100, $200, $500, and $1000. $50 coins are rarely used.
  • Currency exchange is limited in the city, so use ATM cards (exchange rate won’t vary substantially.
  • Credit and debit cards can be used almost everywhere except for some rural areas. Visa and MasterCard are widely recognized. 
  • ATMs (cajeros) are everywhere and usually work with foreign cards (check transaction fees).
  • Maximum cash withdrawal limits range from $400.000 to $600.000 per transaction, but it varies. 
  • If you must use an ATM after dark, always use one inside a shopping mall or touristic places. 
  • Carry sufficient cash for payments in rural areas or outdoor activities. 
  • Passport is required for any banking transaction. You’ll also have to provide a thumbprint.

VAT Refund

All foreign tourists are entitled to VAT refunds on products purchased, such as local crafts, toys, linens, household appliances, footwear, leather goods, jewelry, emeralds, etc.

International transfers:

  • Efecty and Western Union are the main options for international transfers. Banking intermediation requires heavy paperwork and timing.
  • Always carry photo identification and the numbered password they’ll give the sender when you are on the receiving end.
  • Both services have offices in all the major cities and most smaller towns.


  • Bargaining is limited to informal commerce, street stalls and food markets.
  • Taxis have customary fixed fees but are not generally metered so bargaining may be possible in certain long-distance services.


Local regulation establishes that service charge, must be previously authorized by customers. Waiters in mid/high end restaurants usually ask you if they can add the 10% service charge to the bill.

Exchange rate (as of Dec. 20, 2021)

Colombian Peso1 COPinv. 1 COP
US Dollar002504001.323045
British Pound001885305.411927
Indian Rupee0.01892752.835740
Australian Dollar003502855.477028
Canadian Dollar003233100.211308
Singapore Dollar003412932.287548
Swiss Franc002314331.089457
Malaysian Ringgit01053949.875514
Japanese Yen0.02851935.064940

Daily costs (COP)

Budget: Less than COP$100,000

  • Dorm: $25.000–$50.000
  • Lunch (corrientazo): $10.000–15.000
  • Bus ride: $2.000
  • Beer: $0.75 – $2

Midrange: $100.000 – $250.000

  • Double room in midrange hotel: $70.000–$200.000
  • Main dish in midrange and touristic restaurants: $20.000–30.000
  • Short taxi ride: $6.000 – $8.000
  • Airport taxi: $25.000 – $35.000

Top end: More than COP$250,000

  • Double room in 4/5-star hotel: $250.000 – $800.000
  • Multicourse meal with wine for two:  $250,000+
  • Private day tours: $350.000 – $800.000
  • One day boat rental: $900.000 – $2.000.000

Air traveling with pets

After arriving in Colombia and completing the DIAN form, registering the pet’s entry, traveler must proceed to the ICA Health Office in the airport with the following documentation:

  • Health certificate signed by a veterinarian within the last eight days.
  • Current certificate of vaccination.
  • Veterinarian certificate that guarantees that the animal has not presented symptoms of rabies in the 48 hours prior to embarkation.
  • For domestic flight: internal travel certificate and vaccination certificate issued by a veterinarian.


  • Most hotels and restaurants offer Wi-Fi.
  • Internet is limited in rural areas. Download essential information to ensure availability

Mobile Phones

  • Buy a Colombian SIM card for cheap and fast data almost anywhere in Colombia ($10.000 + data plan).
  • Local SIM cards can be used in unlocked international phones.
  • The main operators are Claro, Movistar and Tigo.

Opening hours

Attendance hours are standard throughout the year:

  • Banks: 8.30am–12 pm & 2.00–4.00pm. Exceptionally 8.00am – 12.00 pm on Saturdays
  • Restaurants: 12.00 pm 10.00 pm / midnight on weekends
  • Cafes: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Clubs: 9:00 pm – 2:30 am
  • Shops: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm

Spanish language

  • Like other Latin American countries, English is not widely spoken in Colombia. 
  • High end restaurants, tour operators and accommodations may have English customer service in main tourist areas 
  • As lonely planet guides mention, in the countryside and off the tourist track, you’ll need to master a few basic phrases to travel around and improve your experience.
  • Efforts to speak Spanish are appreciated by locals and are a nice way to connect.


  • Greetings – Shake hands and say hola (hello), buenos días (good morning), buenas tardes (good afternoon) or buenas noches (good evening) to strangers.
  • Introductions – When members of the opposite sex or two women meet it is customary to exchange a single kiss on the right cheek. Men shake hands.
  • Use usted (you) in polite company; use tu (you) with friends and children.
  • Asking for help – Say disculpe (excuse me) to attract attention; use permiso (permission) when you want to pass by in a crowded space.

Important numbers

From outside Colombia, dial your international access code, Colombia’s country code (57) then the number.

  • Colombia’s country code 57
  • International access code 00
  • Directory assistance 113
  • Ambulance, fire & police 123

Document Checklist

  • Carry valid passport for at least six months past your arrival date.
  • Check if your insurance covers all planned activities and northern coast region.
  • Buy extreme-sports insurance.
  • Yellow fever certificate is recommended.
  • Inform your debit-/credit-card company to avoid security preventive blocks.
  • Check Covid-19 regulations (see section below). 

Bag essentials

  • Sunscreen.
  • Rain poncho.
  • Mosquito repellent.
  • Hiking/all-terrain footwear.
  • A small day and waterproof pack.
  • Flashlight.
  • Combination lock.
  • Medical kit.
  • Universal electricity adapter

Lonely Plante: Colombia Guide

What to wear

  • Santa Marta is very casual, and you’ll encounter few dress-code restrictions. 
  • Social standard rules apply when referring to high end restaurants and religious places, among others. Bring a few nice shoes and outfits if you plan on fine dining or dancing the night away at any higher-end dance club.

Booking tips

  • Don’t book tight connections to reach Santa Marta. Most international flights arrive through Bogota, Medellin, or Cali. You will need to book an extra flight to reach Santa Marta.
  • Barranquilla and Cartagena also have international arrival airport. To transfer to Santa Marta, you can choose one of the following options (from Barranquilla / from Cartagena)
  • Bus: $15.000 / $30.000
  • Door to door van service: $30.000 / $60.000
  • Taxi / private driver: $250.000 / $500.000
  • Rent a car: one day rentals start at low end fees ($120.000) and may include additional fees when the delivery destination is not the same as the pickup place.
    • Always check flight prices when leaving Santa Marta.  Local flight prices don’t vary substantially when compared to intermunicipal bus tickets prices.
  • Book in advanced.  Popular activities such as the Ciudad Perdida trek and highly ranked accommodations fill up fast in high seasons.

Download our free

Santa Marta Travel Guide

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Esta semana tenemos una visita increíble en las playas de El Rodadero. 🐬

Los delfines del acuario de la ciudad realizan recorridos a mar abierto entregando un show único a los bañistas. 

Una razón más que nos convierte en una ciudad Naturalmente Mágica 🌊☀️

🎥 @acuariorodadero 
#santamarta #magdalena #colombia #travel #beach #delfines #elrodadero #taganga #bahia #parquetayrona #playa #trip #showacuatico
En #SantaMarta hay muchos lugares por descubrir aquí algunos datos que no sabías de la Catedral Basílica Menor.

✅Construida entre diciembre de 1766 y julio de 1796.
✅Ante la falta de recurso para culminar su construcción se aprobó un impuesto sobre los tragos de aguardiente
✅En su interior se encuentran los restos de Rodrigo de Bastidas, fundador de la ciudad. 
✅Existe la leyenda urbana que en su interior se encuentra el corazón del Libertador Simón Bolívar que murió en la ciudad en 1830
✅En su fachada se lee en latín la frase “Madre de todas las iglesias de Colombia”.
6. En diciembre de 2021 fue declarada Bien de Interés Cultural de la Nación por su alto valor histórico.

¡Muchos planes en la ciudad #NaturalmenteMágica!
#magdalena #colombia #caribe #historic #centrohistorico #ElRodadero #Taganga #minca #trend #historia
Deja de imaginarte vivir estos atardeceres frente a las mágicas playas de Santa Marta. ¡En este 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣3️⃣ es hora de hacerlos realidad! ☀️

Así la noche abraza el día en las costas de las estribaciones de la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, el macizo montañoso más alto del mundo cerca al mar. ⛰️🌊
#santamarta #magdalena #colombia #costeñobeach #tayronapark #sunset #vacaciones #añonuevo #surf #familia #aventura #colombia
Hoy te invitamos a descubrir un mágico lugar llamado QUINTA DE SAN PEDRO ALEJANDRINO ✨

✅ Que ver...
1️⃣ Antigua hacienda en cuya casa principal en una habitación falleció el Libertador Simón Bolivar.
2️⃣ Jardín Botánico con especies autóctonas de la región. 
3️⃣ Altar de la Patria, obra en conmemoración a los 100 años de la muerte del Libertador.
4️⃣ Colección de obras de artistas de naciones bolivarianas.


1️⃣Está prohibido tomar fotografías con flash dentro de las salas.
2️⃣Las obras, objetos y monumentos de la colección, no se deben tocar.
3️⃣Los niños deben ir siempre de la mano y al cuidado de un adulto responsable.
4️⃣Solo se permiten mascotas en los espacios abiertos siempre con correa de sujeción.
5️⃣Está prohibido consumir alimentos o bebidas dentro de las salas y recintos cerrados del museo.

📅Horarios: Lunes a Domingo/ 9:00 am - 5:30 pm

☎️ Informes: 433 1021 - 433 0589 (@artebolivariano)
#MeEncantaLaQuinta # santamarta #magdalena #colombia #quintadesanpedro #tayronapark #ciudadperdida #
¡Bienvenidos a Santa Marta! ✨

Desde hoy se vive la fiesta del deporte en nuestros mejores escenarios de Mar y playa. 🌊🏄‍♀️

¡Atrévete a recorrer cada lugar de esta mágica ciudad que lo tiene todo! 🏝️🏔️

Welcome to Santa Marta! 

Today star the most amazing sport event that takes place in our beautiful beaches! 🌊🏄‍♀️

Dare to live the most amazing experience in the city that has it all. 🏝️🏔️
#santamarta2022 #magdalena #caribe #colombia #mexico #venezuela #panama #puertorico #cuba #republicadominicana #elsalvador #costarica #trinidadytobago #guatemala #nicaragua #jamaica #surf #qatar2022 #soccer
En Santa Marta estamos a 3️⃣ días que se prenda la fiesta con el inicio de los primeros Juegos Centroamericanos y del Caribe de Mar y Playa por eso si quieres vivir al 💯 esta experiencia te contamos algunos planes deportivos que practicar en nuestras majestuosas playas.🌊

🏄‍♂️Surf lo puedes practicar en Mendihuaca
✅ Kayak en Taganga o El Rodadero 
🏓Tenis Playa te recomendamos la Bahía 
✅ Paddle Río Don Diego o Bello Horizonte

¡Tu solo elige el deporte, el mejor lugar para practicarlos va por nuestra cuenta!
#santamarta #magdalena #colombia #travel #sport #trip #surf #beachvibes #kayak #paddle #soccer #santamarta2022 #skateboarding #qatar2022
Por su diversidad cultural, Santa Marta tiene una amplia oferta gastronómica donde prevalecen las herencias africanas y española, pero también se pueden experimentar toques de sabores libaneses y chinos debido a las migraciones. 🍲

Pero la comida más común que degustarás en tu visita son los antojitos que se pueden encontrar en la mayoría de los restaurantes y esquinas como las empanadas, el cayeye y la arepa de huevo y el siempre presente arroz con coco, pescado frito y patacones. 🥘🥥🥗

¡Hoy el plan es salir a disfrutar de la gastronomía de Santa Marta! 😋

#santamarta #magdalena #colombia #caribe #gastronomia #foodie #travel #foodstagram
Santa Marta definitivamente tiene algo que embruja y no es solo en esta época sino todo el año. 🧙‍♀️

¡Vamos a recorrer rincones mágicos de Santa Marta y descubrir porque es la ciudad #NaturalmenteMágica! ☀️

#santamarta #magdalena #colombia #travel #trip #vacaciones #playa #elrodadero #centrohistorico #caribe #tayronapark #taganga #bahia #minca #sunset