The highest coastal mountain in the world rises from 0 masl until reaching the snow-capped peaks of Bolívar and Colón, which reach a maximum height of 5,775 masl. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is a mountain range full of magic where Mother Earth and the ancestral wisdom of the indigenous peoples make it a unique ecotourism site in Colombia.
If you are an adventurer or nature lover, this destination is a must visit, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is home to breathtaking landscapes, biodiversity, endemic species, rainforests, indigenous peoples, archaeological ruins, crystal clear rivers and beautiful natural pools.
Hiking in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is an incredible experience, with its breathtaking scenery and rich biodiversity, this mountain is the dream of every hiker or outdoor sports lover.
There are a variety of trekking routes available, from short ecological hikes to multi-day treks in the jungle, one of the most important routes is the Lost City Trek, which takes you through jungle mountains to the archaeological ruins of Teyuna, located at an altitude of 1200 meters above sea level.
Colombia is the country with the largest number of bird species in the world, so foreign observers and Birdwatching professionals visit it frequently. Especially in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, 28 endemic species have been recorded, and in general 35.45% of the bird species of Colombia, which is equivalent to 7% of the world’s bird species.
The most outstanding places for bird watching in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta are Minca, La Tagua and the Mango Pass in Bonda.
Indigenous tourism in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is an invitation to get to know closely the ways of life and customs of the native communities, the Koguis, Wiwas and Arhuacos.
During these guided tours (excursions), immersive and conscious experiences are created for travelers, visitors have the opportunity to share in cultural activities with the indigenous people, learn about their traditions, their knowledge of medicinal plants, rituals, handicrafts, and other experiences.
This fast-flowing river is famous for its crystal clear waters and lush landscape. It is located approximately 52 kilometers from the city of Santa Marta and is the perfect destination for swimming, tubing or kayaking, or simply relaxing by its shores.
If you are looking for a quieter experience surrounded by nature, the Piedras River is the ideal place. Located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, this river is known for its small waterfalls and natural pools that invite a refreshing swim.
This river is ideal for ecotourism lovers, located in the picturesque town of Minca, you can explore its waterfalls, trails and natural pools, where you can enjoy a well-deserved dip and admire its natural beauty.
If you are looking for an exciting adventure, this river is perfect for you, known for being one of the largest in the region, it offers activities such as rafting and tubing. As you go down the river, you will enjoy exciting rapids and beautiful tropical scenery until you reach the mouth of the river and the sea.
Quebrada Valencia is a popular destination for locals and foreign tourists. To visit this destination take a quiet ecological hike to the refreshing pools of water that flow from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and result in natural waterfalls.
This ancestral waterfall is one of the tourist places that little by little has been positioning itself in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and that you must visit. Located in the indigenous community of Gotsezhy, just two hours from the city of Santa Marta, this natural pool is one of the best in Colombia.
Santa Marta is the city with the best access to the best destinations in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, taking into account that this mountain range comprises three departments of Colombia, Magdalena, Cesar and Guajira. Due to its geographic, climatic and geomorphologic characteristics, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta has a variety of ecosystems: equatorial rainforest, sub-Andean forest, Andean forest, paramo, super paramo and snow floor.
Of the 340 endemic species registered in Colombia, 44 are found in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, in addition to having a record of 126 endemic plants, an exclusive refuge for the country’s biodiversity.
Today, this region is known as the Heart of the World and is inhabited by four indigenous populations belonging to the Kággaba (Kogui), Ijka (Arhuaco), Wiwa (Arzarios) and Kankuamo ethnic groups, along with migrant farming communities mostly from the Andean region and residents of the departments of Magdalena, Guajira and Cesar.
The indigenous communities of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta stand out for their ancestral knowledge, defense of mother earth and spiritual strength; these native peoples live in harmony with nature and depend on the vitality of the Sierra Nevada for their survival and economy.
For the Arhuaco, Kankuamo, Kogui and Wiwa indigenous peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the Law of Origin is a sacred mandate that contains the principles and elements that sustain the existence and harmony of the universe, regulating all that exists.
This law is a set of teaching-learning codes that embody the Knowledge System and the ancestral wisdom of these peoples and must be respected to ensure social coexistence, harmony and balance among all the natural components that make up the body of Mother Earth.
The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta was declared a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site in 1979 by UNESCO, due to the network of ecosystems that harbor countless forms of life.
In November 2022, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized as intangible cultural heritage of humanity the Ancestral Knowledge System of the four indigenous peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta: Kogui, Wiwa, Arhuaco and Kankuamo.