Santa Marta

Santa Marta Cathedral
Casa de la Aduana
Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino

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Santa Marta

Pearl of the Americas

Overlooking the Caribbean Sea and surrounded by the lush greenery of the Sierra Nevada of the same name is Santa Marta, the next destination on your MSC World Cruise. It is the oldest city in Colombia, founded in 1525 by Rodrigo de Bastidas, and offers its visitors unique opportunities to discover the beauty of this country: history, colonial architecture, idyllic beaches and national parks. All of these characteristics have earned it the nickname "Pearl of the Americas." Your vacation with MSC Cruises will take you into the historical center of Santa Marta, home to the most precious monumental treasures: Immaculate Cathedral, one of the oldest churches in Colombia, and Casa de la Aduana, which houses the Anthropological and Ethnological Museum.

Just five kilometers from the heart of the city, you can find La Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, a villa built in the eighteenth century surrounded by centuries-old trees where the Venezuelan general Simon Bolivar died. Santa Marta is surrounded by places perfect for excursions, relaxing or adventure. Ten minutes to the west, for example, you will find El Rodadero: white sandy beaches and calm waters suitable for practicing water sports and also hosting the Aquarium and the Maritime Museum, where you can appreciate marine life in its natural habitat.

In the northeast, you can visit the fishing village of Taganga, with its Caribbean beaches and numerous diving centers for diving enthusiasts. But your vacation in Santa Marta does not end here, because with MSC Cruises, the next surprise is always just around the corner. You can not leave this area without having seen the Tayrona National Park, a place where indigenous settlements are immersed in the jungle. Here the Sierra Nevada flows into the sea, creating coves famous for their beauty, beaches surrounded by coral reefs and lush tropical forests.

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    A sophisticated colonial style
    A sophisticated colonial style

    Home to a traumatic but rich history, stunning scenery and some of the continent’s most welcoming and sophisticated people, Colombia is a natural draw for travellers to South America.

    Foreigners and Colombians alike are now far more able to explore this thrilling paradise of cloud- forested mountains, palm-fringed beaches and gorgeous colonial cities. The only country in South America to border both the Pacific and the Caribbean, Colombia offers a huge range of ecosystems, from the Amazon rainforest near Leticia to the snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the tropical islands of San Andrés and Providencia. Cosmopolitan Bogotá is, like most capitals, a busy commercial centre, with a vibrant cultural scene and festive nightlife.

    The two other major cities, Medellín and Cali, are also lively but less overwhelming. Just a stone’s throw from the beach, the walled city of Cartagena is the biggest South American Spanish colonial port you will visit during your cruise to Colombia. A few hours east, the less scenic Santa Marta and fishing village of Taganga are near Parque Nacional Tayrona, whose picturesque sandy beaches are unrivalled.