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Founded in 1525 by Roger de Bastidas, Santa Marta is ideally located for visits to the Santa Marta mountain range, which is second in height only to the Andes, it runs through Colombia and two national parks. It has warm, clean beaches, many situated in Tayrona or Tairona national parks. Santa Marta, on Colombia's Caribbean coast, boasts a fine natural harbor and splendid views, but that's only part of the reason the Spaniards chose it for their first settlement. Their choice was influenced by gold. The local Tairona indigenous communities were known for their goldsmithing work. Some of their products are on view in Bogotá as part of the Treasures from the Museo del Oro. Now, the Tairona Heritage Studies Centre is devoted to the study of the indigenous groups which inhabit the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The Lost City, a well-known archaeological site nearby is worth a visit. Away from the beach, the city abounds with Spanish colonial charm.
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