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Thoughts on my plans

3 posts
Thoughts on my plans
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Hi all,

Planning on heading to santa marta in a few weeks. I've been to Medellin and Bogota before, but it was for work and we never really left the hotel except for work. I absolutely loved the scenery and found the country fascinating. I'm an american mid twenties guy who speaks no spanish other than what your standard american can. I've been able to get by in spanish speaking countries with limited language knowledge.

I found Santa marta and it looks beautiful. My current plans are to stay at the Marriott just north of the airport for 2 nights to get some nice relaxing beach time. Then go to the AC hotel downtown for 2 nights to experience more of the city, view some of the museums, eat at local restauraunts, etc.

It appears as far as safety goes, utilize the same situational awareness you would in any large city in the US, except maybe only bring essentials with you and maybe leave your phone at the hotel.

I've read conflicting reports on uber availability in santa marta, could anyone confirm?

And if anyone has any updates on covid related issues, mainly where are masks required, anything closed because of it, etc.

9 replies to this topic
Medellin, Colombia
Destination Expert
for Colombia, Ecuador, Medellin, Bogota, Cartagena
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4 123 posts
276 reviews
73 helpful votes
1. Re: Thoughts on my plans
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What a shame that you where in Medellin and Bogota and you rarely had the opportunity to get out of your hotel as Colombia has so much to offer and especially so outside of the cities even Santa Marta.

I have explored just about the whole of Colombia by car and was all along the coast including Santa Marta last month on my most recent road trip. Yes I at times stay at the tourist hotels as your contemplating but the real magic that happens is in the country, the small pueblos, the warm and welcoming people and frankly you will be hard pressed to find anything close to this atmosphere and attitudes in the coastal areas as these places are use to getting hordes of tourists.

So my recommendation is for you to open your mind to seeing the real Colombia.

As far as safety goes Santa Marta has some areas that are no-go and especially so at night so use every bit of your situational awareness and then some, never go out by yourself to any clubs or even restaurants, watch your drinks at all times, dress down, never wear any jewelry NEVER, don't pull out your cell phone on the streets, carry only as much cash/pesos that you need for the evening or walk, order a taxi from your hotel, etc. etc. I could go on but you get the drift.

I can't comment about uber availability in Santa Marta as I always have my car and drive everywhere.

I have explored the coast including Santa Marta, Rodadero, Taganga, Minca, Tayrona and further west and eat and things have changed since before and after the china virus 7 month quarantine and lock down. Many businesses have closed, more poverty, more economic hardships hence more crime, very few tourists like 10% as compared to pre-covid days, yes masks are required just about everywhere along with temp checks at every hotel and shop and restaurant that your likely to enter, even bottom of the shoe spraying, social distancing, etc. and know that we are under a renewed curfew here in Colombia today Christmas and again next week around New Years so it could be possible that thing could become deicer after the New Year.

If you come just have managed expectations. I am just keeping things real here and so hope this dose of reality helps in your choice and decision making.

3 posts
2. Re: Thoughts on my plans
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I've seen a lot of your posts on here, thank you for all of your help. I agree with you, I wish I had the opportunity to go outside of the hotel more in Medellin and Bogota, my company advised us that this was unwise and the coworkers senior to me said the same. But I've found that everyone I talked to in both cities (and in Cali for a short layover) were very friendly and nice, even with a few americans struggling with spanish. We got out a little bit in Bogota, however it was work related and at a private venue. I talked to a coworker recently who has an apartment in Cali and we talked about safety and stuff and we are on the same page as far as that goes, you be careful but there are normal people living their lives there too.

I've read a few times on here that the people along the coast seem to be less friendly than in the other cities. I'm not necessarily set on Santa Marta. As a mostly virgin Colombian traveler, where would you recommend at the moment? Its very easy for me to get to Bogota or Medellin, and a bit harder to get to the other cities.

I need to use Marriott hotel points, so I am kind of constricted to those more touristy hotels, the smaller town/small hotel scene isn't an option for this specific trip. I hope to do that in the future, but part of the point of this trip is me using expiring points in a country thats not the US and accepts americans without a covid test.

Phoenix, Arizona
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33 posts
20 reviews
18 helpful votes
3. Re: Thoughts on my plans
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Hi! Did you make your trip to Santa Marta? I am planning a trip now and would appreciate any tips. I am a solo traveling female with a little Spanish knowledge. Thinking of going Medellin to Santa Marta - specifically Minca - to Bucaramanga to Barichara; then maybe try to catch up with friends in Cali. I have 3 weeks to play with.

I was in Cali/Pance/Putomaya in December and fell in love with the country. I want to explore more of it and am considering even moving there.

Medellin, Colombia
Destination Expert
for Colombia, Ecuador, Medellin, Bogota, Cartagena
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4 123 posts
276 reviews
73 helpful votes
4. Re: Thoughts on my plans
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jaycees7, I just flew today from Medellin on a one hour flight and on the Pacific Coast a real laid back low key coastal village of Nuqui, it is located in the Choco region. I will be exploring the small coastal villages south of Nuqui tomorrow as I rented a small boat for the day. Love the off the beaten track places.

I hail from Los Angeles California and purchased my apartment in Medellin 4 years ago, and was traveling back and forth for business for a number of years then the virus hit and I simply decided to take an early retirement, this was early last summer, and have never looked back.

Now your considering going Medellin to Santa Marta - specifically Minca - to Bucaramanga to Barichara which I have driven this route a number of times in the past few years so if you want my input ask away.

With 3 weeks to play with my first recommendation is to consider a flight from Burcaramanga to Cali as it is a long haul down there, the distance is great as I have also driven this route a number of time.

Phoenix, Arizona
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33 posts
20 reviews
18 helpful votes
5. Re: Thoughts on my plans
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Wow! Just what I am considering doing. :). Thanks for the reply. I was planning on taking flights to all except Bucaramanga to Barichara. Looked like a taxi worked for that. Couple of questions: did you have to have a Covid test for the flight from Medellin? I can’t find information for intercity flights.

Do you know if Colombia is requiring quarantine with a negative test? I was planning on calling the embassy Monday as I am finding conflicting information online.

I’ll check out this coastal town you are visiting!

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954 posts
71 reviews
25 helpful votes
6. Re: Thoughts on my plans
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On the drive from Bucaramanga to Barichara, you will pass by what I think is one of the coolest parks in the world. Actually I'm not even sure what to call it, but if you are booking transportation and you can stop, then a stop at parque del chicamocha (Panachi) wouldn't be a bad idea. Note they aren't open everyday.

Phoenix, Arizona
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33 posts
20 reviews
18 helpful votes
7. Re: Thoughts on my plans
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Thank you!! I’ll check it out.

Washington DC...
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513 posts
16 reviews
10 helpful votes
8. Re: Thoughts on my plans
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disappointing that you say that the people around santa marta are not overly friendly. I have been to Med and Bog before and found the people to be very friendly. Did you find this to be the case when you were there?

Colombia
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6 686 posts
217 reviews
145 helpful votes
9. Re: Thoughts on my plans
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People from Santa Marta and the surrounds have a reputation as being very friendly . I have spent a lot of time there, and have found found that to be the case - including a trip 2 weeks ago.

The only place I don't like is Taganga. A fes-pit

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