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Guide to the best beaches in Colombia

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manzanillo-beach palm tree colombia

 

Colombia is famous for some of the best beaches in South America, with fine sands, great weather and beautiful backdrops.

 

Read our beach guide – from the famous to the remote – and make sure you choose the best beach for your holiday in Colombia.

 

Note: For all beaches in Colombia there may be strong currents in the sea. Ask locals before getting in the water, and if in doubt, stay on land.

 

 

Capurganá

Close to the Panama border, there are no motorised vehicles in this small community. Leatherback turtles lay their eggs here (Feb-July). The snorkelling and diving are excellent in the crystal-clear waters.

 

You could jump on a boat and head to the more remote and quieter La Miel, too.

 

Playa Blanca (Isla de Barú)

This is a small island to the southwest of Cartagena, accessed by ferry. Locals and visitors flock to see the blue water and beautiful white sands. It gets busy (and noisy) at weekends, so midweeks visits are for the more relaxed.

 

Nuquí

This is a remote beach on Colombia’s pacific coast, where the sea meets jungle. Verdant ferns and colourful flowers are the backdrop to a sea which is good for surfing. Humpback whales breed in the bay from June to October.

Beach, Nuqui, Colombia

Nuqui

 

Taganga

What was once a quiet village is now a backpacker’s fun spot. Taganga is a short bus or taxi ride from Santa Marta.

 

Las Islas de San Bernardo

This archipelago, some 80km south west of Cartagena, is the picture postcard of clear blue seas, palm trees and a remote, idyllic situation.

 

The white sands are usually pocked with Colombians enjoying a break from the mainland. Snorkelling is good here, too, and Isla Mucura an essential stop for anyone wanting to drop off the radar.

 

Cabo de la Vela

For those seeking wilderness and something a little different, Cabo de La Vela is devoid of vegetation and has a more volcanic feel.

 

You’ll be hard pushed to find other travellers, and for those who just want to read books and look at the scenery, it’s perfect.

 

Rodadero

Rodadero is a popular beach used by residents and visitors to Santa Marta. Lots to see and do, music, drinks and people are the backdrop here. Worth a visit if staying in the city.

 

Palomino

Palomino is 30km to the east of the famous Tayrona National Park. There is a laid-back vibe (careful with currents here). You can go tubing, get massages, horse ride, surf or take a day walk in the nearby mountains to visit an indigenous village.

 

Great place to unwind, listen to the pounding sea, relax, snooze and read a book, perfect!

 

Parque Nacional de Tayrona

This is one of Colombia’s most famous beach destinations. There are some lovely beaches to stay at and visit,

the best being La Piscinita and Cabo de San Juan – again, take care with currents.

Tayrona

 

San Luis, San Andres

San Andres is an hour’s flight from Cartagena, close to Nicaragua. San Luis has calm waters, nice sound and is less crowded than the main Spratt Bight beach.

 

This local favourite is good for snorkelling – there’s a shipwreck! – plus kite boards and jet skis to rent.

 

Providencia

Providencia is a 20-minute flight from San Andres and is the more remote and smaller of the two islands. The island is surrounded by beautiful coral reef, a reef that forms part of the third largest in the world, after Australia and Belize.

View from Cayo Cangruejo to Providencia

Providencia

 

Providencia offers snorkelling by perfect reefs (Margarita Island, or Surprise and Paradise sites) in turquoise seas, laid back people, beautiful beaches and some good diving.

 

Manzanillo is probably the best –

Take snorkels, enjoy the sea, buy a beer from the shop or from the (occasionally) rocking Roland’s bar and sunbathe. The beach is narrow and long, look out for impromptu horse races along the shore.

Horse racing on Manzanillo, Providencia, Colombia

Manzanillo

 

Freshwater Bay has more places to eat. Lovely shoreline, calm seas and you can get everything from fish to conch to a massage.

 

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