Only a half-day’s drive beyond Cartagena on the coast, Santa Marta is South America’s oldest European-founded town. The port city has a fortuitous natural setting next to Tayrona National Natural Park, a protected green space that contains everything from the white-sand beaches of the Caribbean to Pueblo ruins accessed via trails through the rainforest. Lost City, or Ciudad Perdida, is an archeological wonder within striking distance of Santa Marta that features ruins older than Machu Picchu that were rediscovered only recently in the 1970’s. And the sleepy backpacker village of Minca offers even more opportunity for exploring the jungle. During your time in Santa Marta, enjoy strolling through the old town by the seafront, where cafes serving up strong coffee are tucked into historical buildings for the ultimate in Colombian character.