Explore the landmarks of Colombia’s oldest city, delving into its storied history and alluring culture, which have helped fuel the rebirth of Santa Marta.
Depart from the pier and begin a leisurely drive through Santa Marta, a colonial city that the Spanish established as a base of conquest. Founded in 1525 at the foot of the world's highest coastal mountain range, Santa Marta is considered the oldest, still-inhabited city in Colombia.
When the Spanish arrived, the indigenous people were skilled goldsmiths, and you will see the kinds of objects they made in the Gold Museum. An impressive model of the main city of their empire, Ciudad Perdida, is also on display, along with pre-Columbian pottery.
Continuing on, you will explore Santa Marta's magnificent whitewashed cathedral, which is thought to be the oldest church in Colombia, although construction wasn't finished until late in the 18th century. Its floor plan is in the shape of a Roman cross. Simon Bolivar was buried in the cathedral until 1839 when his remains were moved to Caracas, his birthplace.
You will discover more about the Great Liberator at Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino Villa, where Bolivar died. Now a museum, the butterscotch-yellow hacienda beautifully displays many of his personal objects and a large statue of the revered Bolivar lords over the grounds.
To delve deeper into Santa Marta’s cultural history, you will watch a folkloric performance and enjoy a beverage at the Santa Mar Resort before returning to the pier via the modern El Rodadero district.