of the agenda for many people who visit Colombia are it's beaches, and
rightly so. Colombia undisputedly has some of the best beaches in South
America. Colombia's best beaches are found on it's extensive Caribbean
coastline and islands. You could easily spend a month travelling in
Colombia and just visiting the beaches.
Best Beach Destinations
Below is a run down of the best beach destinations in Colombia. Pros
and Cons of visiting each destination are offered.
scenery; very high quality uncrowded beaches; great for relaxing;
crystal clear, calm waters; great snorkelling and scuba diving; plenty
of non-beach activities; English speaking local population.
Cons: Expensive to get to; no
scenery; very high quality uncrowded beaches; easy to get to.
Cons: extremely dangerous for
swimming; very limited accommodation (it's either luxury or in a
hammock/camping - no mid range choices here); no nightlife.
San Andres Island
quality beaches; crystal clear, calm waters; good nightlife.
Cons: beaches can be busy; have
to catch flight from the mainland.
Pros: Easy to
get to; lots of tourist amenities; beaches are good (though not
spectacular); great nightlife; wide range of accommodation options.
Cons: beaches are very busy;
highly developed nature of the city won't suit all.
cultural activities in addition to beaches; excellent luxury hotels;
great nightlife & restaurants.
Cons: unattractive beaches;
hectic beaches; sea is often murky coloured and dirty.
Pros: easy to
get to (if you're in Cartagena); crystal clear sea; very relaxing place
to visit; lovely small hotels to choose from.
Cons: very few actual beaches;
very little to do.
peaceful and uncrowded beaches (usually); fascinating desert and
coastal scenery; experience and interact with indigenous cultures.
Cons: complicated to get to;
only basic accommodation; need to book an organized tour to fully
appreciate the area.
where is best for what?
Best for beaches: Providencia
Best for beaches + nightlife:
San Andres or Santa Marta
Best for beaches + cultural activities:
Cartagena combined with Rosario Islands
Best for that satisfied feeling:
Best for honeymoons: Providencia
Best for scuba diving: Providencia
Best for surfing & chilling: Nuqui
Best for totally relaxing:
Detailed Advice & Other Destinations
Islands (both in the Caribbean) have stunning beaches. San Andres' "Sea
of seven shades" is quite spectacular, though it's beaches can get busy
during Colombia's domestic tourism seasons. Always much quieter, and
far more idyllic, are the beaches of neighbouring Providencia Island,
one of the Caribbean's few remaining islands that has yet to see mass
tourism. Providencia is a very peaceful, relaxing and unique island to
visit that has fantastic beaches and crystal clear waters.
best beaches, scenery-wise, are at Park
Tayrona. It's hard to put into words how amazing Park
Tayrona's idyllic rainforest-backed beaches are, many of which are
completely empty. It's a true Caribbean beach paradise, the only
problem is that most of the beaches are not safe for swimming as the
sea is so rough and dangerous.
primary beach resorts of Cartegena
and Santa Marta can
get a little crowded. Better beaches are nearby - the Rosario Islands are a
short boat journey from Cartagena, and the beaches around Taganga are
quieter and prettier than those of Santa Marta. Santa Marta is
Colombia's most popular (with locals) beach resort - it's a heavily
developed, slightly tacky tourist city. The colonial city of Cartagena,
on the other hand, oozes with charm.
Capurgana and the San Bernardo Islands are
also on Colombia's Carribean coast and have some beautiful beaches -
these are the least visited areas of this coastline. From Capurgana
it's just a short boat journey to neighbouring Panama's idyllic San
Blas Islands, populated by the Kuna Indians.
are also many fine beaches on Colombia's
Pacific Coast, though generally speaking the Carribean coast
has the best beaches. There are the small vacation resort towns of Nuqui and Bahia Solano, in addition
to old prison island of
Carribean Islands are easily accessible from Colombia's mainland if you
want to fly elsewhere
for a beach vacation at the end of your tour of Colombia. Aires offers
flights to the islands of Aruba and Curacao, plus there are regular
flights from Bogota to Havana in Cuba.