Founded in 1525, Santa Marta is the oldest city in Colombia. Its sleepy colonial quarter is well worth a visit before taking to the mountains, wetlands and beaches that surround it.
North of the city, Tayrona National Park is a vast jungle preserve of plunging waterfalls and deserted beaches, backed by the Sierra Nevada, the world’s highest coastal mountain range. The reserve teems with crocodiles, flamingos, egrits, and cotton-top tamarins.
There are a few comfortable and quirky properties around, including a stunning private house set high in the cloud forests of the Sierra Nevada. Down on the beach, Merecumbe, favoured by a certain Colombian diva, leads the pack.