In the northern part of the South American nation of Colombia, on the Caribbean coast, is the department of Magdalena. Its capital, Santa Marta, is a bustling city 96 kilometers from Barranquilla. If you are considering booking a room in a discount hotel in Magdalena, you will find the local people (Sanmarios) to be among the friendliest in Colombia. This place is a great favorite with backpackers and other cost conscious travelers looking for cheap hotels in Magdalena. It is the perfect jumping-off place for a visit to Tayrona National Park. The park is a tropical paradise with gorgeous beaches, thick jungle and teeming wildlife.
One of the most popular attractions in Santa Marta is the Museo Del Oro (Gold Museum). It is housed in the colonial Customs House, and exhibits an interesting display of Tayrona artifacts of pottery and gold. Quinta De San Pedro Alejandro is a hacienda on the outskirts of town, and is the place where the South American hero Simon Bolivar died. It is now a Latin American shrine, the equivalent of the Lincoln Memorial. The nearby 18th century cathedral was the place where Bolivar was buried before his remains were removed to Caracas. The church is still important for its architectural style. It holds the ashes of Rodrigo de Bastidas, the founder of Santa Marta.
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