A rise in the number of cruise ships docking in Santa Marta brings a massive influx of tourism to the coastal Caribbean city.
In the last six months, cruise ships arriving in Santa Marta have brought some 80,000 passengers. This statistic reflects a 123% growth in the number of ships arriving in the city known as ‘America’s Pearl’, compared to the same time period in 2007 – 2008.
Authorities estimate that a cruise ship passenger spends an
average of US$100 in each port. While some spend nothing, others spend
up to US$2,000 on luxury items such jewelry, in particular emeralds.
The cruise ship season runs from October 19 to May 4. Santa Marta will receive 31 cruise ships in that time. Authorities hope the number will grow to almost 40 in the 2009 – 2010 season.