483rd Birthday Party for Santa Marta

Not only is Santa Marta a very pleasant town, peopled by very friendly and helpful citizens, it is also a town that knows how to party!!

We returned from Cartagena in time for the 483rd anniversary of the founding of Santa Marta.

Visitors arrived from all over Colombia (Santa Marta has become the favourite in-country tourist spot) and the music, street vending and partying was ramped up.

The atmosphere was great. Many first world locations could learn a lesson from the complete sense of safety, excellent street behaviour, lack of drunken problems and the way in which large volumes of people moved around in an orderly fashion whilst patently enjoying themselves. The streets remained amazingly clean as people looked after their own trash and the next morning, you would never have known that a huge festival had taken place.

The street parade was great fun. We watched from the sidelines near the marina.


The costumes and decorations were colourful and fun and the sound systems for music to dance to was provided out the back of a vehicle for each troupe. The parents were looking after the young kids participating, handing them water and ensuring they stayed hydrated in the hot conditions.

After the parade, we wandered off to the Food Festival which was held in a square under a delightful ceiling of colourful umbrellas.

We had an excellent meal from the food stalls surrounding the square and enjoyed the music of the Police Band, which was very good indeed.


Jason (joining us with Lisa, Simone and Torsten of Argo) was crowned with a hat by one of the local revellers during our meal.


Tall Ships turned up from Colombia, Peru, Chile, Brazil and Portugal for the celebrations. On the way back to the marina, we were treated to their lights and some fireworks.

The next morning we were treated to an exercise in suspense as we waited whilst they prepared the middle spar on the Colombia Tall Ship for the nations best diver to dive off. Took forever but was fun in people and boat watching. Liz managed to catch the diver in mid-flight – can you make him out?

We also took a spin around the harbour in the dingy to look at the other ships – until we were shooed out by Port Control that is ….

What a thoroughly enjoyable celebration!! Assuming the world IS round, we might make it back for the 500th event – that will surely be a humdinger.

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