I didn’t spent too much time in Rodadero though this was partly due to me not being aware of the place before. Too much enjoyment on the Masaya hostel roof top I guess with friends Stephen & co. The beach / town lies between the airport and Santa Marta itself. Its beachfront is dominated by large, mostly white apartment buildings with either sea or ‘mountain’ view. Much of Santa marta is made up of green mountain scenery in fact. Quite idyllic at times.
The beach strip reminds of the many tourists in town with plenty of western restaurant offering. Unfortunately also a lot of ‘amigos’ – guys that try to sell you mainly tours over here rather than cocaine and/or girls (although I am sure they can help you in many ways if you have the right amount of peso’s). The beach itself is of better quality than Santa Marta, but you are even better off getting a COP12k return ride to playa blanca right next to the aquarium.
The latter (COP35k) is worth a visit if you haven’t been at an aquarium before. Outdoors it offers several large pools with 3 smaller dolphins, the three larger (show) dolphins and plenty of other sea life including huge turtles. There is also a small fish museum with more creatures and and a hall with indigenous artefacts on display. Including a 20min show and a walk around you should budget with 90mins in total. the rest depends on how quickly the boat transfer to/from the beachfront takes you.
Having fallen in love a bit with the nightlife charm of Santa Marta, I prefer having out there. But a night or two in Rodadero are still time well spent.