Santa Marta is a city in the Magdalena Department of Colombia's Costa Norte. Santa Marta an important commercial port and tourist destination. From the beach, the view of the Caribbean Sea is more or less to the west (beautiful sunsets) with a huge rock of an island jutting up out of the water to make a somewhat dramatic effect.
This is a decent beach if you like beaches that are right in town with lots of people, vendors, and noise. Vendors are extremely aggressive if you are on the beach.
Aside from the old center, the main attractions of Santa Marta are its two resort-like suburbs El Rodadero, to the south, and Taganga, to the north. El Rodadero has several high-end hotels and private "clubs" that cater mostly to wealthy Colombians, whereas Taganga used to be a fishing village and is very popular with (mostly foreign) backpackers. Taganga has many scuba-diving agencies.