Colombia’s tourism industry has seen sizable growth over the past few years, with special emphasis on Cartagena’s UNESCO World Heritage sites and, more recently, Bogotá’s major infrastructure improvements. But many travelers are still overlooking a real historic gem—Santa Marta. Founded in 1525, Santa Marta was the first Spanish settlement in Colombia and today it is the oldest surviving city in the country. Nearly 500 years of history sets this city apart from the rest, it’s home to some incredibly authentic museums and cathedrals, but Santa Marta has something to please every traveler. Beaches give way to reefs with excellent snorkeling, ancient ruins wait to be rediscovered in Tayrona National Park and the nightlife is a one-of-a-kind experience.