The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the highest coastal mountain in the world and holds almost all of Colombia’s ecosystems, ranging from the sea, coral beaches, mangroves, desert, dry and humid forests to lagoons and snow-capped mountains that reach some 5,776 meters above sea level.
The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is a magical tourist destination where the wisdom of nature and the indigenous people converge. Each step into its interior is an encounter with a beauty and exuberance unique in the world. It is the highest elevation near the sea, independent of the Andes mountain range. It is one of the most biodiverse units of the country, in terms of the incredible number of animals and plants, many of which are endemic, which adds a special importance to the life of the region.
Where is the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta?
It is located in the north of Colombia on the Caribbean Coast, only 42 km from the beaches of Santa Marta, where tourists lull themselves to sleep with the sound of the waves. Thanks to the presence of the snow-capped peaks Colón and Bolívar (5,775 and 5,560 meters above sea level respectively), the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the highest coastal mountain in the world. Hidden there is the Ciudad Perdida archaeological park, known as Teyuna, the heart of the Tayrona civilization.
Why is the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta important?
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 and are home to several indigenous communities. This imposing mountain is located in northern Colombia and occupies the regions of Magdalena, La Guajira and Cesar.
35.45% of Colombia’s bird species are found in the Sierra Nevada, and they constitute about 7% of the world’s birds. Of the 631 bird species, 14 are endemic.
Amphibians represent 8.4% of the country’s total. Of the 50 species recorded, 17 are endemic.
The mammals of the Sierra Nevada represent about 52% of the species recorded for Colombia.
Of the 33 fish families, 7 are marine; 5 families are freshwater and brackish water; and 20 are freshwater species.
Of the 92 reptile species, 13% are endemic.
In terms of flora, there are 651 species of higher plants in the sub-Andean jungle; in the Andean jungle there are 479 species and in the páramo there are 109 species of plants.
Tourist activities in the Sierra Nevada
Because it is such a unique and diverse destination, there are many tourist activities you can do here. Some of them are:
Bird watching. Due to its privileged geographical location, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is considered the most important center of endemism in the world. Here you can find up to 635 species of birds.
Scuba diving. Dare to appreciate the great marine biodiversity through this activity in which you can choose from 22 certified places to dive and discover the most colorful fish and corals.
Trekking or Ecological Hiking. There are many ecotourism trails and hikes that you can take to learn about the fauna and flora of the park, as well as the indigenous peoples who care for and preserve it.
Visit Ciudad Perdida. It is one of the main archaeological sites in Colombia. A trekking plan with a duration of 3 to 4 days will take you to know the legacy of some of the most recognized indigenous peoples of the area: The Taironas.
Enjoy the paradisiacal beaches of the Tayrona Park. Some of the best known are San Juan del Cabo, Arrecifes and Playa Brava.
In addition to this natural wealth, there is the cultural richness of the four indigenous peoples Arhuaco, Kogui, Wiwa and Kankwamo.
The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is a complex of 19,000 KM2 of sacred places that guide our life and our culture.
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