The magic of Santa Marta

The Americas magazine featured an article in its January edition on Santa Marta written by a Califorian freelance writer, Joyce Gregory Wyels. If you don’t have access to The Americas, I found the article on The Free Library.

Santa Marta’s crescent beaches sparkle against the dramatic backdrop of the world’s tallest coastal range, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Just up the coast, beyond the low-key charms of the P fishing village Taganga, Tayrona National Park promises an endless succession of secluded coves framed by verdant rainforest. It is not surprising that this pleasant city on the Caribbean coast has long basked in the approval of Colombians seeking sun and sand.

But Santa Marta offers more than a pretty face. The mountains whose snowy peaks soar above bathers and beachgoers conceal traces of millennium-old cities built by the Tayrona, the advanced civilization that rivaled the Inca in its creativity and intellectual development.

In contrast to the modern high-rises that line Rodadero Beach and Bello Horizonte, somnolent colonial buildings like the Customs House (Casa de la Aduana) bear witness to pivotal events that played out here, from the founding of the country to the death of the Liberator Simon Bolivar. Besieged first by pirate attacks and later by civil wars, the history of Santa Marta reads like a compendium of natural disasters and other calamities interspersed with improbable tales worthy of a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel. – The rest is here


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