A Traveler’s Guide: 10 Essential Packing Items for Santa Marta, Colombia

Imagine the warm breeze of the Caribbean Sea gently brushing against your skin as you step out onto the golden sands of Santa Marta, Colombia. This tropical paradise, nestled between the Sierra Nevada mountains and the crystal-clear waters, is a haven for travelers seeking both adventure and tranquility. But before you can dive into the vibrant culture and breathtaking landscapes, there’s one crucial step you can’t overlook: packing. And not just any packing – smart, savvy packing that ensures you’re prepared for Santa Marta’s unique offerings.

1. Lightweight, Breathable Clothing

First things first, let’s talk attire. Santa Marta’s tropical climate calls for lightweight, breathable clothing. Think cotton or linen shirts, shorts, and dresses that allow your skin to breathe in the humidity. During the day, the sun can be relentless, so loose-fitting clothes are your best bet for staying cool.

2. Swimsuits and Cover-Ups

No trip to Santa Marta would be complete without a dip in the Caribbean. Pack a couple of swimsuits because, let’s face it, you’ll be tempted by the water more than once a day. A stylish cover-up is also a must-have for transitioning from beach to café without missing a beat.

3. Sturdy Footwear for Exploring

Whether you’re hiking in the nearby Tayrona National Park or wandering the cobblestone streets of the historic center, sturdy footwear is essential. A pair of comfortable walking shoes for the city and water-resistant hiking boots for the trails will serve you well.

4. Sun Protection Essentials

The sun in Santa Marta can be fierce, and sunburns are no joke. Arm yourself with a high-SPF sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and UV-protection sunglasses. Trust me, your future self will thank you for the foresight.

5. Daypack for Daily Adventures

A lightweight daypack is your best friend in Santa Marta. It’s perfect for carrying essentials like water, snacks, and your camera while keeping your hands free for snapping photos or sipping a refreshing ‘limonada de coco’.

6. Reusable Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is key in the tropical heat. Bring a reusable water bottle to fill up at your accommodation before heading out. It’s not just practical; it’s also a nod to eco-friendliness, reducing plastic waste in this beautiful coastal city.

7. Insect Repellent

With its lush landscapes comes a less glamorous aspect of tropical travel: bugs. A good insect repellent will be your shield against unwanted bites, especially if you’re venturing into the great outdoors or enjoying an evening by the beach.

8. Portable Charger

In today’s connected world, a dead phone battery can feel like a real emergency. A portable charger ensures you’re never caught off guard, whether you’re using your phone for maps, translations, or capturing Santa Marta’s beauty.

9. Basic Spanish Phrasebook or App

While you’ll find English speakers in tourist areas, a basic spanish phrasebook or app can be a lifesaver. It’s not just about convenience; it’s about connecting with locals and showing respect for their culture.

10. Travel Insurance Information

Last but certainly not least, travel insurance is a non-negotiable. Keep your policy details handy in case of any unexpected events. It’s the kind of thing you hope to never use but will be grateful for if the need arises.


  • What’s the best time of year to visit Santa Marta?

    December to April is the dry season, offering sunny days perfect for beach-going and hiking. However, visiting during the shoulder seasons can mean fewer crowds and lower prices.

  • Is it safe to drink tap water in Santa Marta?

    It’s generally recommended to stick to bottled or filtered water to avoid any stomach issues. Hence, the reusable water bottle suggestion – fill it up with safe water and stay hydrated all day.

  • Can I use US dollars in Santa Marta, or do I need local currency?

    While some places may accept US dollars, it’s best to have Colombian pesos on hand for small purchases and local vendors. ATMs are widely available for withdrawing cash.


Packing for Santa Marta isn’t just about throwing a few t-shirts into a suitcase; it’s about preparing for an array of experiences. From the sun-drenched beaches to the shaded mountain trails, having these 10 essential items in your luggage will ensure you’re ready for anything this coastal gem throws your way. So, grab that daypack, lace up your walking shoes, and set off on an adventure that promises to be as unforgettable as the Colombian sunset. Just remember to pack smart – your trip depends on it!

By following this guide, you’ll not only enjoy Santa Marta’s offerings to the fullest but also travel responsibly and comfortably. And who knows, with the right preparation, you might just find yourself featured in a snippet of travelers’ tales, inspiring others to embark on their own journey to this slice of Colombian paradise.

Kurby Team

The Kurby Content Team is a diverse group of seasoned real estate experts dedicated to providing insightful, reliable information for homebuyers, real estate investors, and real estate agents. With backgrounds ranging from real estate brokerage, property investment, and residential home buying, our team combines decades of experience with a passion for demystifying the real estate world. We at Kurby are committed to helping you make informed, successful real estate decisions. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a real estate professional, count on the Kurby Content Team to deliver the most relevant, actionable real estate content you need.