For a low cost, you can travel between Cartagena to Santa Marta in a comfortable minivan. The van has no bathroom on board (but makes toilet stops) and has an A/C. You can bring two bags with you as luggage. Make sure that you report to your hotel lobby at least an hour before departure time.
There are 6 operators that run from Cartagena to Santa Marta. If you decide to take a car, you can take the Standard and SUV options.
There are 4 operators that run from Cartagena to Santa Marta, with 1 departure per day. If you decide to take a bus, you can take the Tourist, VIP, and Luxury options.
Cartagena is a beautiful, historical city to visit, but if you want to see a Caribbean seaside piece of paradise, Santa Marta is the place to be. The second oldest city in South America will welcome you with its stunning beaches, beautiful nature, and remarkable culture.
When traveling the 237 kilometer (147 mile) distance between Cartagena and Santa Marta, you have two options. You can travel with a minivan, which takes between 4 and 6 hours to arrive. If you need more privacy on your trip, you can book a private ride. There are cars available for 3 and 4 passengers, as well as private minivans for groups between 6 and 12 passengers. Private transportation is usually faster than shared, and you can choose your departure and drop off locations.
You can visit Santa Marta at any time of the year. However, the coastal city has two distinctive seasons that may impact your decision. The rainy season lasts from March to November, with the highest rainfall levels in October. The dry season lasts from December up to mid-March, and this is the best time to visit Santa Marta.
What you are able to see outside of your window when traveling between Cartagena and Santa Marta depends on what time of the day your ride is leaving. If you’re leaving during the day, you’re in for a scenic ride.
You’ll be traveling on Troncal del Caribe, a road that occasionally goes along the coast of the Caribbean Sea. Sit back and enjoy the views of the sun blazing over the blue waters. Your ride might also make a stop in Barranquilla during your journey, and you might be able to snap a few shots of the city from your window.
Once you arrive in Santa Marta, you’ll probably be craving some food and sea. Head to the beach for ceviche and a swim. During your stay here, you should explore the beautiful area around the city. Some of the must-see things are the magnificent Tayrona National Park, Playa Blanca, and La Ciudad Perdida Trek, which will take you to the “Lost City”, an ancient settlement built by the Tayrona people around the year 800 AD.
Did you know that Santa Marta is one of the cheapest places in the world where you can get a scuba diving certification? Well, now you do. The underwater spots around town are safe and beautiful for this kind of adventure.
If you’re craving some local treats, visit the Santa Marta Public Market, where you’ll find fresh fish, fruits, and veggies, as well as unique local herbs. For those who don’t want to prepare the fish by themselves, there are many street food joints where you can try some of the tasty local fish specials.
For those who want to connect with other backpackers, divers, and party-goers, Taganga is the place to be. A small fishing village has turned into a tourism hotspot almost overnight. There are many dive shops, hostels, a few restaurants, and party places around here. From here, you can also hike to some secluded beaches, such as Playa Grande or Bonito Gordo.
Taking a minivan
Taking a minivan from Cartagena to Santa Marta is a fast and convenient way to travel between these two places. Most trips take around 4 hours to arrive in Santa Marta. Minivans are equipped with A/C and comfortable seating. They don’t have toilets on board, but the drivers will make frequent stops during your journey. You can choose between a shared and a private ride.
Driving with a private car
For those who need more privacy during their trip between Cartagena and Santa Maria, there are private cars available. Cars are comfortable, and they have A/C. The drivers will make frequent stops during your trip for toilets and rest. There are cars available for 3 and 4 passengers. This is a more expensive option compared to minivans, but it’s a bit faster and more comfortable. Also, when you book a private car, you have the option to choose your departure time, pick up, and drop off locations.
149 Km (Air)
MINIVAN: Marsol Transportes | Magic Tour Colombia | CTG Margarita SAS | Agencia Operadora de Viajes | Go Colombia
CAR: Magic Tour Colombia | CTG Margarita SAS | Transglobal Ejecutivos | VIP Taxi Service | Agencia Operadora de Viajes | Go Colombia
BUS: CTG Tours | Unitransco | Copetran | Flota La Macarena