Colombia is a country of biodiversity and ecotourism, it has positioned itself as one of the most desired nature destinations in the world; from dense jungles to high mountains, the Colombian territory offers a range of options for hiking lovers, and at the heart of this experience is Santa Marta, a jewel of the Colombian Caribbean that is much more than golden beaches and where you can find the best hiking trails in the country.

Why live this Hiking Experience in Santa Marta Colombia?

Santa Marta is not only the oldest city in Colombia, but also a gateway to unique natural landscapes, which are the most important attraction for hikers seeking this type of experience.

You will find hiking trails that go from the beautiful beaches of the Tayrona Park to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, this region combines history, culture and nature in a surprising way; within a few kilometers, you can go from the beach to the tropical forest and then to the mountains.

Visiting the Eco Hotel Yachay Tayrona, you will enjoy a privileged point where the hiking trails begin in Santa Marta; the Tayrona Park and the Lost City of Colombia.

senderismo santa marta

What is meant by Hiking and Trekking?

Hiking is an ecological activity that consists of walking along routes or trails, whether in the city, countryside, mountains, jungles, forests or along the coast.

These trails are usually marked and seek to bring travelers closer to natural, cultural and ethnographic attractions.


  • It is done mainly for the pleasure of enjoying the scenery and nature.
  • The routes are usually shorter and less demanding than trekking routes.
  • It can be practiced on any type of terrain, although it is common on marked trails.
  • It does not require technical skills or specialized equipment, although appropriate footwear, water and snacks are recommended.

Trekking, also known as hiking in some countries, is an activity that involves longer and more demanding treks than hiking, often in mountainous and complex terrain.

This activity can last several days and usually requires a higher level of physical preparation and specific equipment.


  • It is carried out in more difficult and varied terrain, such as mountains, jungles or deserts.
  • Trekking routes are longer and can last up to several days.
  • It often requires camping or staying in shelters or campsites.
  • More specialized equipment is necessary, such as trekking backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, and in some cases, mountaineering equipment.
rutas de senderismo parque tayrona

Differences between Hiking and Trekking

Duration and Difficulty: While hiking is usually a one-day activity and on easier routes, trekking involves longer routes, often several days and in more challenging terrain.

Equipment: Hiking requires basic equipment, such as appropriate footwear and a small backpack. Trekking, lasting several days and taking place in more difficult terrain, requires specialized equipment such as tents, sleeping bags, and in some cases, mountaineering gear.

Physical Preparation: Hiking is generally suitable for anyone in reasonable physical condition. Trekking, being more demanding, requires better physical preparation and sometimes technical skills.

Location: While hiking can be done in local parks, forests, or any marked trail, trekking is usually done in more remote and natural destinations.

Types of Hiking in Santa Marta to Practice in Colombia

Urban or Cultural Hiking: walks in urban areas, exploring streets, sidewalks, parks, monuments and historical areas of the city of Santa Marta. Ideal for those who want to combine physical activity with cultural tourism.

Coastal Hiking: these are hikes along the beach, Tayrona Park is one of the best coastal hiking routes, where you can enjoy beaches, rainforest trails and views of the Caribbean Sea; they are usually flatter routes, but sandy or rocky terrain can add a level of difficulty.

Interpretive Hiking: focuses on environmental and cultural education of the environment, explaining aspects related to the flora, fauna, geology, history and culture of the area; often these routes are led by specialized guides or biologists who offer detailed and accurate information.

The Eco Hotel Yachay Tayrona is an ecotourism lodging in Santa Marta where the best interpretive hiking trails of the Tayrona Park and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Mountain trekking: is done in mountainous areas such as the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, often at considerable altitudes, and may include traverses through valleys, hillsides, rivers and summits; adequate physical preparation is required due to the altitude and rugged terrain. Acclimatization may be necessary at high altitudes to avoid altitude sickness.

Night Hiking: hikes conducted at night, often to observe nocturnal wildlife or enjoy a natural environment under the light of the moon or stars; requires additional equipment such as flashlights or headlamps and it is essential to know the route well and take extra precautions.

Wellness or Meditative Hiking: hikes that combine physical activity with relaxation, meditation or mindfulness practices. The main objective is the connection with oneself and with nature. It may include practices such as yoga or breathing exercises in natural surroundings. Minca is the ideal destination for this type of hiking.

Outstanding Hiking Routes in Santa Marta Colombia

trekking santa marta

Trek to the Lost City Tayrona

  • This multi-day hiking tour in Santa Marta will take you to the ruins of an ancient Tayrona city.
  • The route is of moderate difficulty, but the effort is worth it when you come across these millenary structures.
  • The best time to visit is during the dry season, and a local guide is essential.
  • Along the way, you can spot howler monkeys, toucans and lots of biodiversity.
  • Carry repellent, sunscreen, drinking water and light clothing.
  • It is advisable to contract the tour with Yachay Tayrona, the Eco Hotel takes care of all the logistics.

Route to Cabo San Juan del Guía

  • Tayrona National Park is a paradise of crystalline beaches and dense jungles.
  • The trails to Cabo San Juan and Playa Brava are popular with hikers in Colombia.
  • Don’t forget to reserve your stay at Yachay Tayrona, as the park has a daily limit of visitors.
  • You will observe the impressive biodiversity of the Tayrona National Park.
  • The trail offers spectacular panoramic points, one of the most outstanding is the viewpoint that is before reaching Cabo San Juan.
  • Tayrona Archaeological Remains: On your way, you will see vestiges of the ancient Tayrona civilization, including terraces and stone paths.