Cartagena is the starting point for most travelers visiting the Caribbean coast of Colombia. But too often, visitors to Cartagena don’t venture outside of the city limits and explore the rest of this amazing region. That’s a HUGE mistake! There are a zillion amazing destinations nearby, from Minca to Parque Tayrona to the Lost City to the Tatacoa Desert. But before you can dive into all that the northern Colombian coast has to offer, you’ll have to get from Cartagena to Santa Marta, which is the jumping-off point for most of these spots. Luckily for you, we’ve traveled between Cartagena and Santa Marta many times over the years. Here’s a step by step guide to getting from Cartagena to Santa Marta!
Planning a trip to Colombia? We spent 1 month backpacking in Colombia and fell in LOVE with this amazing country. It was our favorite South America travel destination! Here’s a super detailed 1 month itinerary for backpacking in Colombia, including Cartagena, Minca, Santa Marta, Parque Tayrona, San Gil, Medellin, Salento, and Bogota.
During our month of backpacking, we slept in a LOT of beds in Colombia, and stayed at at a LOT of different hostels. From cramped party hostels to isolated hilltop retreats, it seemed like no two hostels in Colombia were the same. To make things easier for you, dear reader, we’ve come up with the best list of hostels in Colombia: where to stay, and where NOT to stay!