Santa Marta Warnings and Dangers
Known for its incredible food, rich culture, and inviting locals, Santa Marta is well established as a popular tourist destination. But like any city, there are areas to avoid in Santa Marta, along with other dangers.
Santa Marta is known for its high-quality coal and mining it is one of the city’s major industries. Driving into Santa Marta from Barranquilla you will pass miles of coal-filled trains. The coaling facility in Santa Marta is on the north end of the beach. Thus, coal dust, may be seen and inhaled on certain days. The city has placed screens around the port to reduce the coal dust pollution.
As in most places, it’s advised to keep your valuables in multiple places rather than carrying them on you all at once. If you speak to some of the locals, don’t give them too much information about yourself, such as where you’re staying. They may try to follow you. There have been instances of kidnappings, so always let someone know your whereabouts. Mind the motorcycle drivers that try to ride beside you and snatch whatever they can get, then speed off.
You may want to wear shoes in the water or ask one of the locals before going in the water. Jellyfish can cause terrible pain for a few days if caught in a swarm. Putting sand on them immediately after an encounter will help draw out the poison. If the pain is too severe or prolonged, go to the emergency room.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about areas to avoid in Santa Marta.