Receiving the news that friends are going to get married is always nice and when they decided to get married on the beach, it called for immediate purchase of tickets and booking of hotel to be sure we could participate in the party…
After months of looking out to this nice break from work and life in the city, finally we put on our masks and took place in the Avianca plane that was going to leave us right at the beach (not exaggerating, the landing strip really is right next to a beach, far from the city though). As we were not exactly sure where the wedding was going to take place and we did not find anyone that really knew a lot about Santa Marta, we made a gamble and booked hotel Betoma in Rodadero (the specially developed tourist neighborhood of Santa Marta). The hotel was ok, nothing special. We decided that all we needed was a clean bed and a cold shower in the morning as the rest of the time would be spend with (new) friends and hanging on the beaches.
For 90.000COP (40USD) you really just get a clean room, very basic but with a good bed and from a corner even a view of the beach. The Rodadero seemed an alive area with many small restaurants and close access to the beach from anyone of the hotels around.
After meeting the couples friends from Spain (they used to live there) and a pretty intense party at a beach bar overlooking the sea, we had made new friends for life and left the next day with them for Parque Tayrona. The Madrilenos kind of stole the show though. Some of them had not slept at all, just got into the bus as 8 in the morning, made us stop at the first liquor store and buy 3 liters of Rum and another one of Aguardiente (Firewater) and forced the driver to play nothing more than Reggaeton (sort of a latin version of Hiphop). The whole way to the park our bus was shaking as people were literally dancing in the aisle and even the Colombians were stunned by this much partying.
Inside the park we made a stop at the Playa Siete Olas (Seven Waves Beach), which was a really nice sight. After consuming some more rum while counting the waves we headed on to the final destination: Playa Christal or also known as Playa de la Muerta (Death beach). The beach was really great, the weather perfect, nice cool water and great food served by the few small restaurants there. After a few hours of burning, we went back to Santa Marta for the next party.
In the next few days we visited some other beaches and the historic center passed by in one of these trips. From the bus it seemed nice but we did not have time to stop unfortunately so I can not really give my opinion about it. If you do decide to go, Taganga is a nice little fishers town to visit. There is a beach only a boat ride away and again some nice seafood for lunch.
Santa Marta by itself is nice, but not as nice as Cartagena. It has potential but seems to miss a strong mayor that makes especially Rodadero a little safer late at night. We had the pleasure of meeting some messed up drunk young kids and on another occasion a semi-crazy dude that told us he was going to attack us at 4 in the morning in front of our hotel and the overall feeling at night there was not the greatest. Santa Marta used to be in or at least very close to a dangerous area in Colombia. Now things have changed, but really there should be some investment from the government, more police on the streets and to the Samarios (inhabitants of Santa Marta) I would like to say: DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND START PICKING UP THE GARBAGE THAT YOU HAVE LEFT BEHIND EVERYWHERE!!! MAN THAT CITY IS REALLY PILED UP WITH PLASTIC CRAP!!
So all in all, Santa Marta was a super trip, but more because of all the nice foreigners (Bogotanians and Spanish) than because of Santa Marta. Side note: strange that in a beach town, people are so grumpy and not really happy to see people spending money in the low season……
Btw, almost forgot, my good friend Carlos Vives is from Santa Marta.
Ah and he got robbed there walking on the beach, if I should believe the taxi driver.
But they also found his stuff back somehow…