I must confess, the last time we were in Santa Marta, Colombia we were underwhelmed. All we remembered of that visit was hot, humid, and unappealing. What a difference a few years make! Today, we saw a vibrant, historic, friendly city.
Santa Marta was established by the Spanish conquistador, Rodrigo de Bastidas, in 1525. It is the oldest city in Colombia. Its economy is based on tourism, trade and port activities. Its main products are bananas, coffee, and cocoa.
We docked at the Puerto de Colombia–a very busy port! We were berthed in the commercial area next to some coal loading activity. A complimentary port shuttle transported us to the port gate. Outside the gate (and along the beach) a market was set up to provide us with all the treasures a tourist must take home! We walked along the Malecon for a while and then stopped at a little sidewalk café for a tall, cold beer before continuing to the historic area, a couple of blocks inland and dominated by the simple, elegant Basilica.
We completed our visit with a lunch stop at the Santa Marta Marina. The Coco Marina Restaurant has a nice outdoor dining area, but we chose the small, inside space with its exuberant air conditioning! We had toasted baguette sandwiches and drinks for less than US $25.00. Credit cards accepted. Life is good!
Next, we look forward to the San Blas Islands in Panama. I’ll tell you all about it!