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How to Get Your PADI in Santa Marta

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After spending five lovely days in Cartagena, it was time to continue my exploration of Colombia and made my way to Santa Marta. Santa Marta is along the northern coast of Colombia and offers beautiful outdoor activities for all.

Where to Stay

The Dreamer Hostel is an actual dream of a hostel – super clean, massive pool, and good vibes everywhere. It’s outside the main town by 10 minutes, but it is a very easy place to relax. They have a partnership with Santa Marta Dive and Adventure and with a whole week in Santa Marta I thought… time to get PADI certified (scuba)!

Getting Your PADI in Santa Marta

I’ve snorkeled for many years in different places in the Caribbean and Central America and never had the desire to get scuba certified but something clicked while I was here and wanted to give it a try. 
Santa Marta Dive and Adventure is run by Leo and Marvin who are local Colombian Dive Masters. They have been running their company for 2 years and if you go on TripAdvisor – they have an incredible rating. Leo has a huge, welcoming smile that will ease all your worries, and is knowledgeable about all things scuba.


Day 1 

Like with any certification, there were hours of video instruction that we needed to watch. It was great how Leo and Michael (our other instructor from Ottawa) got us in the pool early in the day to learn the main skills and then watched videos to help the concepts sink in.

Day 2

Dive time! We had two dives in Tayrona Park, a 10-minute drive from Santa Marta. There are over 20 dive sites here and I was excited to get underwater. 

Day 3

More diving time! The first dive required us to practice our skills again, which allowed everyone to feel comfortable with their equipment, their breathing, and their buoyancy. It was an enjoyable second dive where we encountered multiple schools of fish, puffer fish, and urchins. Having successfully completed the dive, I went back to the dive shop to receive my PADI certification.

While most guests come to Santa Marta for Minca, the Lost City Trek, and Tayrona Park, I feel that the adrenaline I soaked up while getting my PADI was well worth my time.


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