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Travel the Colombia Coast the Green Way with Las Pleyades   by Laurel

Santa Marta Hotels
The alluring city of Santa Marta is located on Colombia's northeastern coast. Affectionately named 'the pearl of the Colombian Caribbean,' Santa Marta's backdrop is one blessed by gorgeous natural scenery, a powerful draw to travellers.

Key to preserving the area's beauty for future generations is a strong environmental conscience, like the one exhibited by Las Pleyades, a local tourism company operating in the region since 2008 and setting green trends with its eco-conscious transfer and ground transportation services on the Colombian coast. Now, Las Pleyades is bringing its local efforts to a larger market by partnering with Green Path Transfers, a new global environmentally friendly transfer service.

A Natural Transition
When Las Pleyades first got started, its main aim was to provide access to accommodations and tours in Santa Marta. According to Fabiola Duerig, the company's co-founder, the decision to provide transfers as well came naturally, in response to customer interest and desires. 

Boys Jumping from Bridge in El Rodadero, Seaside Suburb of Santa Marta, Colombia
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Initially this was in the form of complimentary taxi rides; however, as demand increased over time, a key business opportunity was revealed.
Beachfront, Santa Marta, Magdalana District, Colombia, South America
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Joining forces with Green Path Transfers was the next logical step for Las Pleyades: a chance to formalise its approach. "We became a Green Path Transfers partner because we realised that transportation would become one of our new core businesses," Duerig acknowledged.

At present, Las Pleyades' transfer services cover the entire Caribbean coast of Colombia, including travel between the main coastal cities of Santa Marta, Barranquilla, Cartegena, Buritaca, Palomino, Riohacha and La Guajira. The trips most frequently requested run from Santa Marta to Cartagena or Tayrona National Park.

A Local Travel Experience
Las Pleyades-operated transfers add to the well-rounded experience the company provides to travellers. Their two bilingual drivers often even serve as tour guides; they help in purchasing local goods or groceries and showing visitors around, in addition to offering lifts to hotels, guesthouses or fincas (country estates or ranches), so no one gets lost.
In a country with Colombia's reputation, this level of attention promotes a vital element of security. "Although security in Colombia, and even more in Santa Marta, is now much better, we are still in Colombia and tourists have to be careful with whom they interact," Duerig said. "So this transportation guarantees safety from the beginning for people who don't like risks."

Green Goals
Drawing attention to the value and importance of sustainable travel is a fundamental goal for this Santa Marta transfer and tourism company. By offering green alternative transport, the team at Las Playedes inspires travellers to think about how they can help preserve the planet.

View of Holiday Condominiums, Santa Marta, Colombia, South America
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Las Pleyades' fleet of vehicles includes four taxis, 10 14-passenger vans and a chiva (wooden traditional Colombian open bus) with 40 seats. All vehicles use compressed natural gas instead of normal gasoline whenever travelling in urban areas, and whenever possible and accessible in rural areas as well.
Beach at Taganga, Near Santa Marta, Colombia, South America
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"Here in Santa Marta, the taxis work with natural gas - so it is cheaper, environmentally more responsible and the taxi driver spends less, so he gains more," commented Duerig. "For us it is important that local people like to work with us and deliver the best possible service."

Local Gems
For responsible travellers, ecotourists and adventure seekers, Duerig recommends two nearby must-see natural paradises, both easily reached by vehicle.

Tayrona National Park, a natural reserve of 60 square kilometres is a wonderland for birdwatchers and site of some of the best beaches in the world.

It is located 40 minutes east of Santa Marta.  Minca, a small village in the Sierra Nevada mountains, sits in a coffee-producing region and provides a tranquil escape for birdwatching, waterfall exploration and relaxation in a lush environment.

Santa Marta Hotels


Green Partnerships: Las Pleyades ( adds to the growing number of local partners that have joined ranks with Green Path Transfers. The Santa Marta-based company looks forward to expanding the reach of its responsible-transportation business to travellers from all over the world and learning lessons from other Green Path Transfers partners. "I hope that we may expand this business as soon as possible and represent Green Path Transfers in Colombia as its first environmentally conscious ground transportation company," said Duerig. "I hope for mutual learning between us and the other Green Path Transfers partners." To learn more about Green Path Transfers and how to be part of carbon-neutral travel arrangements that emphasise green technology in a growing number of destinations around the globe, visit


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Estelar Santamar Hotel & Centro de Convenciones, Santa Marta
This beachfront hotel is situated just 10 minutesí drive from Santa Marta city centre. It offers free Wi-Fi, an outdoor swimming pool and sun loungers on the beach. Guests can reach Simon Bolivar Airport with an 8 km drive. Tayrona National Park is 5 km from Estelar Santamar Hotel. Daily buffet breakfast is served at Estelar Santamar Hotelís restaurant. Light meals and drinks are offered at Beach Grill. Guests can relax in Estelar Santamar Hotelís jacuzzi or schedule a massage treatment. Recreation options include tennis and beach volleyball and football matches. An on-site tour desk is also available.
Hotel Arhuaco, Santa Marta
Hotel Arhuaco is a small business center with comfortable accommodations, just two blocks front the beach, where outstanding hospitality, gourmet cuisine, tropical climate and pure air guarantee a one-of-a-kind experience. Located on the outskirts of Santa Marta and the Tyrone Park, Hotel Arhuaco is strategically placed at sea level and at an average temperature of 28 degrees. The Hotel Arhuaco has been distinguished since its start by being a pleasant and exceptional place, with a contemporary air.
Santorini Hotel and Resort, Santa Marta
Metres from the Bello Horizonte Beach, the Santorini Hotel & Resort offers 3 swimming pools and a spa with body treatments. There is also a fitness centre with personal trainers. Santorini Hotel is only a 5-minute drive from the Simon Bolivar Airport, offering a free airport shuttle service. Santa Martaís historic centre is 10 km away. Free private parking is possible on site. The resortís restaurant serves a light menu of burgers, panninis and salads. Oriental music can be enjoyed in the romantic Alhambra Bar, while sushi and cocktails are offered next to the infinity pool.
Santorini Hotel Boutique, Santa Marta 
Featuring a palm-framed outdoor pool and a beauty salon, this boutique hotel is within walking distance of the Caribbean Sea. Its restaurant serves sushi and traditional grilled dishes. Nestled between the sea and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Santorini Hotel Boutique is situated in Pozo Colorado neighbourhood. Simon Bolivar Airport is 2.8 km away, and a free shuttle service is provided. Guests at Santorini can relax on the wooden sun loungers on the poolside, or enjoy a range of beauty treatments. Coffee and cocoa face masks, aromatherapy and scrubs are available.  Grilled meat and seafood dishes can be tasted at the restaurant, while the on-site bar offers refreshing cocktails.
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