Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia

Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia

Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca was the most “off the beaten path” thing I did while in Santa Marta. My intention that day was to go to Bahia Concha. When I arrived in town I realized that I didn’t bring enough money, so I hiked to Playa Blanca instead.

The normal way to get to Playa Blanca is to catch a boat from Rodadero. From looking at the map I thought it might be possible to hike from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca along the coast. This would allow me to go to some of the more secluded beaches on the way also. I soon found that to be incorrect, along with a few more things on the map.

Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca

I got off the bus from Taganga at the foreshore, right out the front of the beach in the city.

1 Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia, City Beach

This was my first time walking past the main part of the foreshore. It was nice to see the mariner beyond the jetty.

2 Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia, Marina

A bit further on is a much quieter beach. I still wouldn’t swim in it, but the locals didn’t seem to mind.

3 Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia, Playa Los Cocos

Under the beachfront resorts, there is some cool street art, and some street people to go with it.

4 Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia, Graph Art

Soon I came across the first hitch in my plan. A small estuary. I guess I didn’t look at the map close enough because it was on there.

5 Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia, Estuary

I felt it wasn’t worth getting wet so I detoured inland and crossed over the bridge.

6 Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia, River from the Bridge

On the map, there was a road leading from the other side of the bridge to the coast. When I got there was a locked door blocking it off. I’m not sure what the compound was, but I definitely was not allowed in.

7 Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia, Barrio

Sendero Pertonal

I continued to walk to the next road that would lead to the coast, but that was off limits also. This time by a military compound. I ended up on Sendero Pertonal, which I wanted to do at some stage anyway so that was a win.

8 Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia, Sendero Pertonal

It was a long, hot, walk. Not one bit of shade for a few kilometers, but some nice views on the way. There was even free binoculars to look through at one of the viewpoints.

9 Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia, View from Sendero Pertonal

Finally, I got to the end and some shade. I was glad I took a liter of water instead of my usual 300ml bottle.

Continuing in the same direction towards Rodedero I came across these “ruins”. I’m not sure what they were, but I doubt anything that old.

10 Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia, Ruins

It was nice to get off the tarmac so I cut through along a random path into the suburbs of Rodadero. The houses there were much nicer than the neighborhood closer to the city. I found Carrera 5 and began walking into nature.

11 Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia, Path into the Hills

Cerro Ziruma

The climb wasn’t too bad, and as I approached the coast there were some great views of the coast and some side tracks. One went to Mirador Inca-Inca, and others down to the secluded beaches. Although tempting, I decided to stick to my plan and not follow any side-tracks.

In this picture, you can see the aquarium in the distance.

12 Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia, View of Beach and Aquarium

The path I was on (the main path) led me down into one of the beaches. There was one house on the beach and a single shade shelter set up with a family chilling under it. Also, a motorboat waiting until the family wanted to leave. I imagine there are more people on the weekend, but at that moment it was peaceful.

13 Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia, Beach from rocks

I did think that might be as far as I could go, but on my way out of that beach, I saw a path leading up through the hills. This path was definitely not used very much. I remember thinking, “if anything happens to me here I’d not get discovered for a while”.

The path led me to the aquarium. I arrived at the end of the dolphin show. While trying to figure out how to walk through to Playa Blanca I managed to “sneak” into the aquarium. No way I’d ever pay for it. Not only was it under heavy construction, but I’m against the captivity of animals. I hope they at least have a bigger enclosure for this poor dolphin.

14 Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia, Aquarium

Playa Blanca

After asking a few of the workers I got pointed in the right direction. You have to walk along the rock edges. It was my favorite part hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca.

15 Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia, Trail to Playa Blanca

When I got to Playa Blanca I took a walk up and down the beach. It was a disappointment for me. Even on a weekday, there were a lot of people. It looked like some good snorkeling though because it was a protected coral area. I saw some people out there but they had guides. I felt bad to swim there without one. Also, I didn’t want to get salty for my long journey home.

16 Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia, Playa Blanca

I decided to hike back to Rodadero and get something to eat. It was about 3:00 pm by now. I started walking at 10:00 am and had not eaten. When I got to Rodadero I remembered my lack of money, so I got an empanada and some mango biche from the street vendors.

19 Hiking from Santa Marta to Playa Blanca, Colombia, Playa Rodadero

Rodadero Beach.

Getting to Playa Blanca

If I was to do this again I would start the hike from Rodadero. Catch a bus from the city to Rodadero and get off as you enter the area. Walk down Carera 5 into the hills. It turns to gravel. Keep following the main path until it leads you to the beach. Just before the house on the beach, there is a path to lead you to the aquarium. Go down to the aquarium and walk behind it to the coast. Ask people if you can’t figure it out. Follow the rocks around to Playa Blanca. Be careful.

This map shows Carrera 5.

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Featured Image Credit: By David Shankbone (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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Comments ( 10 )
  1. Kate
    October 24, 2017 at 17:42
    Reply

    Those photos are amazing. Thanks for taking me on the journey with you.

    • Bert Luxing
      October 25, 2017 at 08:22
      Reply

      I hope for my photos to get a lot better in the future. I will invest in a new camera, but thanks for your kind words.

  2. Ophelia T
    October 24, 2017 at 19:46
    Reply

    I love hiking. This looks so much fun and tired. Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures.

    • Bert Luxing
      October 25, 2017 at 08:21
      Reply

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  3. Lauren
    October 25, 2017 at 07:46
    Reply

    This hike looks like quite the journey. So many different views from the beach to inland.

    • Bert Luxing
      October 25, 2017 at 08:21
      Reply

      It was a great hike.

  4. Cori @ Sweet Coralice
    October 25, 2017 at 13:29
    Reply

    What an adventure!! I love the street art but didn’t notice the street ppl until you mentioned it, i had to go back and look closer lol. When traveling, this is exactly the type of hiking we love to do!

    • Bert Luxing
      October 25, 2017 at 14:55
      Reply

      It found it interesting that the poorest people took shelter under the most expensive hotels.

  5. Esperanza Scotto
    October 25, 2017 at 17:13
    Reply

    It looks beautiful! My mother is from Colombia. It’s such a beautiful, geographically diverse country.

    • Bert Luxing
      October 26, 2017 at 05:51
      Reply

      My mother is Colombian too! And you are right about it diverseness. It is definitely in my top 5 favorite countries.

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