Colonial Colombia: Santa Marta and Taganga

 

Article first published as Colonial Colombia: Santa Marta and Taganga on Technorati.

Traveling north of Cartagena along the Colombian coast you reach two towns, Santa Marta and Taganga, jewels of the Caribbean coast. We went one way by Marsol, van transport and back by public bus. Because George is fluent in Spanish from his years in the Peace Corps, I am not sure how hard it would be to travel with no language skills, but we found Colombians to be very friendly and helpful. Many were thrilled to meet Americans traveling in their country.

From the Lonely Planet Colombia, we learned that, “Santa Marta is South America’s oldest surviving city and the second most important colonial city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.” It is experiencing a revival and many of the parks and plazas are being refurbished; we heard there are plans for an upscale marina.

We enjoyed the children playing and people strolling in Parque Santander and Plaza de Bolivar. The Gold museum in the library was an interesting small exhibit. We did not see El Rodedero, but that is the beach where upscale Colombians hang out!

kidsIn December 17, 1830, Simon Bolivar died in Santa Marta; a claim to fame for this town! Another great claim is the fantastic hostel, La Brisa Loca. Not only a great place to stay full of friendly staff who have a tremendous amounts of information to share, but they also organized to gift giving to 60 local children on December 23, for the holiday.

It was wonderful to see the smiling children enjoy soda and sweets while receiving personal gifts. Next door, we found the best Mexican restaurant,  Agave Azul on Calle 14 – make reservations, they are both popular! This area is the stepping off point for the famous hike to Ciudad Perdida (the Lost City) and for Parque Nacional Natural (PNN) Tayrona.

One of my favorite spots was our hostel in Taganga, Hostel Techos Azules; perched on the side of the mountain with beautiful blue roof tiles.  You can eat at Las Velas on the main beach or in town with the friendly team at the Casa Holanda.
fish dinner
For Christmas Eve, with rain from 6pm til midnight, we sat in hammocks while Corrodo from Italy grilled fresh Barracuda for our large and international  group. Near midnight with the rain falling in sheets, a dozen of us strolled down the hill, along the cliff edge to town to the roof of the Sensation Dance Club.
xmas friends

Nearby Playa Grande can be reached by boat; your 6000 pesos ($3.00) includes life jackets and a quick ride to the very organized beach with lounge chairs shaded by large trees, not too many hawkers, banana boat rides and snorkel guides showing the lion fish, ray, schools of small fish and some coral bleaching. Fresh fish lunch and fruit shakes are available at Viviano Cafe, and the owner, Will, not only checks on you, but also will your valuables while you snorkel.  

On Christmas Day, we were shocked to see a Police boat racing in towards the beach with sirens blaring and then happily suprised to hear Spanish, “Hola a todos. Un buen feliz navidad” “Hello to all. Merry Christmas. Enjoy yourselves!” Colombia is a great travel destination and I hope you are lucky enough to travel there soon! Enjoy all your travels in 2011!banana

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Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have over 1.5 million views. After three months on TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts, she had over 500,000 (1/2 million) views. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers”

6 responses to “Colonial Colombia: Santa Marta and Taganga

  1. Colombia looks amazing. I definitely want to visit there this summer. Do you find it relatively friendly as tourists? It is one of the few places in South America I have reservations about…

  2. Aly
    I would be happy to talk to you more about Colombia. Use the link to send us a direct email.

    I think it is VERY friendly for tourists to go to Colombia! I HIGHLY recommend it.

    One question: do you speak any Spanish? I think there could be a language issue but since we both speak Spanish, I am not sure how it would be if you did not speak ANY.

    Would be happy to speak to you further. Thank you for your comments!
    Lisa

  3. Did you hear anything about the natives who live in the massif behind Santa Marta? How are they doing these days? (Ever hear of the book and documentary "The Elder Ones"

  4. Excellent post! Colombia is such a great country. We have a very rich and diverse culture. It is a modern city where you can find everything you would in any other touristic spot. Bogota tours has lots of museums, parks, and universities, thus it is called “The Athens of South America”. And at the same time you can visit the wild part of Colmbia with a rich natural environment and lovely beaches. ¿My advice? Everyone is so welcome to come! 🙂

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