Santa Marta, Colombia

2019 HAL World Cruise

January 25, 2019

 

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.

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Along the Malecon is a statue of Rodrigo de Bastides, the Spanish conquistador who founded the city of Santa Marta in 1525.
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On the dock in Santa Marta, Colombia trade bustles. this is a very busy port! And that is a lot of coal!
The Port Authority provides shutlle buses to the port gate.
The Port Authority provides shutlle buses to the port gate.
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This is a view of the beach and Malecon. That white tent at the far left is the port gate. Those tents stretching to the right are filled with vendors. the Santa Marta Marina is not in this shot but is further to the right along the Malecon.
The little market at the shuttle drop off point.
The little market at the shuttle drop off point.
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There was a cute little trolley (no AC) ready to take visitors to the historic center of town. Didn’t get the cost. But lots of passengers boarded–so it couldn’t have been too much. This was right at the shuttle drop off point.
Artwork is present all along the Malecon.  As are vendors.  And the beach!
Artwork is present all along the Malecon. As are vendors. And the beach!
A coloful cafe along the esplanade
A coloful cafe along the esplanade
The streets of Santa Marta are crowded and busy.
The streets of Santa Marta are crowded and busy.
The architecture in the historic district is charming.
The architecture in the historic district is charming.
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The Santa Marta Cathedral was built in 1765. It is the oldest church in Colombia.
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The colonial design of the church is simple and elegant. the interior, however has soaring arches, domes and elaborate chandeliers.

 

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!

Enjoying the afternoon libation.
Enjoying the afternoon libation.
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At the end of the Malecon the high-rises begin. Apartments and hotels dominatel the area.
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This is the Coco Marina Restaurant in the Santa Marta Marina. The outdoor dining overlooks the beautiful boats docked below.
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Inside the Coco Marina Resaurant, the air conditioning keeps you cool and comfortable!
Walking back to the ship, we enjoyed the view and cooling breezes.
Walking back to the ship, we enjoyed the view and cooling breezes.
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You can see the MS Amaserdam just peeking out from the commercial dock. that is El Morro on the left.
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El Morro is a rocky hill that once protected Santa Marta from pirate attacks. Later, it was a prison but now supports the lighthouse.
All in all, we found Santa Marta to be a most enjoyable port.
All in all, we found Santa Marta to be a most enjoyable port.
Port beautification project!
Port beautification project!

 

Next, we look forward to the San Blas Islands in Panama.  I’ll tell you all about it!

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