The Caribbean Coast of Colombia

The Caribbean Coast in El Rodadero outside Santa Marta

From the Northern Bus Terminal in Medellin to the Central Bus Station in Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast of Colombia it takes just over 18 hours by bus. From the doorstep of our hotel room to the first step into the cold caribbean sea it takes exactly 6 minutes.  It takes just over 5 more minutes of watching fisherman bring in their daily catches and kids playing soccer in the sand to forget the first 18 hours.

Monday morning I joined forces once again with my Argentine Adventure friend, Rocio, in Medellin, to make the trek up to the Colombian coast for some fun and exploration. Our first stop was in El Rodadero outside of Santa Marta.

Fisherman in El Rodadero

El Rodadero is a popular destination for Colombian tourists because it’s more laid back than the bigger port city of Santa Marta. Not to mention the beaches are cleaner, have better views and El Rodadero has cool beach town vibe that Santa Marta lacks. This could be a great place to spend a honeymoon!

While neither Santa Marta nor El Rodadero are the cleanest of areas, the beaches of El Rodadero light up at night as friends and families pack the sand to party. Street vendors line ocean drive-sk selling beers, kabobs and fresh fruit juices (mora/papaya/orange = amazing), while hired bands section off areas to entertain sun-soaked vacationers. Meanwhile, although known for it’s great nightlife, we didn’t find much going on at all in Santa Marta along the water aside from some sketchy street meat, unfriendly watering holes and over-weight prostitutes. Granted, we didn’t spend a lot of time in downtown Santa Marta, but from what I saw I definitely preferred the energy of El Rodadero.

El Rodadero Beach Party

Also, in El Rodadero there is a great nightlclub/restaurant that actually looks over the entire beach at night called El Burukuka. The only problem with this exclusive club, is it’s exclusivity. If we didn’t trek around a giant apartment building we would have never found the entrance. Once you get through the gates and up the mountain, the view from the giant chic terrace is pretty impressive. You can hear the music and see all the action from beach as well as monitor the giant shipping vessels out at sea coming into the Santa Marta port. It’s pretty freaking awesome way to end a day after a long bus ride.

The view of El Rodadero

My name is Gareth Leonard, a Marketing Director turned World Traveler with a passion for slow, meaningful travel. I have been traveling the world full-time for the past 9+ years and document it all on Instagram and YouTube. Come join me!

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