Colombia #002: Santa Marta

Tuesday I was numbingly overloading on neural networks and k-means coding language. And by Wednesday, I was whisked away to the Caribbean!

Having stayed in Santa Marta for over a week, below are some of my favorite things to do in this tropical city that’s lined with sandy beaches, teeny bikinis, and lots of limonada de cocos!

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Things to Do in Santa Marta

Adventure of a Lifetime in Palomino
A lot of people go to Parque de Tayrona, but (coming from my boyfriend and his Colombian family who have been to both), you’ve got to go to Palomino!! I can attest. This was hands down one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Motorbike (SOO FUN) up a mountain, hike up the rest, then white-water tube (WHOO!) down the mountain on a river that meets the warmest ocean I’ve ever been in (it honestly was like a hot tub). AND, we got to see Native Colombians washing laundry in the river – something so spellbinding about seeing something like that in the flesh (rather than in a photo or documentary).

When we weren’t swimming in the flowing river, we’d lie back in our floating tubes and see toucans flying above us. Lastly, the mountains against the hazy orange sky was, I think, the most beautiful scene I have ever seen in my life. It was literally like something you see on National Geographic

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Explore Historical Santa Marta
Santa Marta is actually Colombia’s oldest city! Explore its beautiful cathedrals, historic architecture, and cultural markets. My favorite place to eat, across the entire 2+ week vacation, was here. It was called Natural Cafe and everything we ordered was so good and light – which is hard to find in Colombia (maybe we liked it so much because it had the most Americanized foods?).

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Island Time in Playa Grande
You take a boat ride around a bend and get to the coolest, exclusive private beach. It’s colorful chairs and beach shacks, turquoise waters, and mountains of huts (supposedly timeshares?) make it one of the most instagrammable spots of Colombia!

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Ride a Colombian Party Bus to Lover’s Park
A chivas is a an open air party bus with flashing lights that blasts Latino music through the night. Ask the driver to drop you off in Parque de los Novios (Lover’s Park) – this is where all the hot young couples go for night life.

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Eat Pizza Vomit at 1AM
Pizza Vomito is a famous fast food place in the heart of Santa Marta. Their specialty is basically topping pizzas, hot dogs, and burgers with EVERYTHING – a vomit of french fries, grilled veggies, meat, and more meat. Michael’s flexed arm for size reference.

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Enjoy the Sunsets of the Equator
Live in your bikini, buy cute cover ups, slather on the sunscreen, and enjoy the warm sun and sandy beaches. Santa Marta, thank you for introducing me to Colombia.

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To see more photos of me playing around in gorgeous Santa Marta, go on over to my tumblr!

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