Beautiful Beaches on Colombia
Pacific or Caribbean? Surfing or swimming? Everything is possible on Colombia’s coast – here are the top 10 beaches of Colombia.
This list of Colombia’s greatest beaches is, of course, a purely subjective one – how can you measure the beauty of a beach? Still, I think these are the most impressive stretches of coastline in mainland Colombia and the islands that belong to the country. Some of them are even among the most beautiful sights in the country.
1- Playa Blanca on Isla Barú
During my first trip to Colombia in 2010, I visited this island of Barú, which can be reached quickly from Santa Marta. At that time, its top beach with the absolutely appropriate name Playa Blanca was hardly frequented and a little insider tip. In the meantime, so I have heard, many day trippers go there in several boats, so that it is somewhat gone with the peace.
As a tip, I would suggest to book an overnight stay in one of the simple huts or in the hammock (beware of the sand flies!) to spend the evening sunset with as few other people as possible on the beach. The locals serve simple fish dishes with rice in the evening, sometimes there is a tropical coconut in the afternoon for refreshment.
2- Cabo San Juan in Tayrona National Park
Probably the most famous national park in Colombia is called Tayrona and can also be reached very quickly on tours from Santa Marta. As it is always the case, if something is beautiful and well located, the tourist masses do not stay away for long. But despite the high frequency, you should not miss this unique Caribbean atmosphere with yellow-white sandy beaches, turquoise sea and thousands of palm trees hanging over the water, it all looks like in the most beautiful dream.
3- Black sand of Morro Mico
A slightly different type of beach can be found on the Pacific coast near Nuquí. In the dark sand of Morro Mico sea turtles bury their eggs once a year. In addition, from June to October, humpbacks can be seen in the waters off Nuquí – if you’re lucky, it’s a true natural spectacle. If you have had enough of the fauna of the beach, you can pass the time with wonderful activities like surfing, diving or canoeing. Hikes in the rainforest that reaches the beach are also highly recommended.
4- San Andrés & Providencia
These two islands are actually much closer to Nicaragua than to Colombia. Nevertheless, they belong to the South American and not to the Central American country and have some of the most beautiful beaches in Colombia. Isla de Providencia in particular is a real insider’s tip, as it is harder to get to than neighboring San Andrés Island and thus attracts fewer visitors. The unspoiled island has strict monitoring of development to avoid the destruction of nature. Providencia is a bit firmer and more mountainous than Isla de San Andrés, 90 kilometers away, but both islands offer perfect postcard views of green coconut palms, turquoise sea and white sand. In front of the islands lies the third largest coral reef in the world after its big siblings in Australia (Great Barrier Reef) and Belize (Belize Barrier Reef).
5- Beaches of Palomino
Palomino has already been discovered by the backpacker masses, which is why there is a party hostel with a full beach. Not so far from here, however, you will find more deserted spots on the fine sandy beach, from which you can enjoy a wonderful Caribbean panorama in one direction; in the other direction, however, the mountains of the Sierra Nevada slowly pile up, allowing a perfect all-round view. From here you can start small hikes into the Sierra or even venture on a more adventurous rafting trip.
6- Isla Múcura
The tiny coral island of Múcura on the San Bernardo archipelago two hours by boat southwest of Cartagena is an island dream. Two small hotel complexes here offer bath-hungry guests Caribbean accommodations that invite them to dream. In the sea in front of the island, manta rays, dolphins and sea turtles can be observed during snorkeling or diving trips. The island is lined by mangroves, which completes the colorfulness of sand and water with a bright green.
7- Islas del Rosario
The 28 “Rosary Islands”, the actual translation of the group of islands about 40 kilometers southwest of Cartagena de Indias, are the house islands of the Caribbean metropolis. Since the city lacks a truly dreamlike beach, many Cartagenos take a boat trip of about an hour to one of the Rosarios for a dignified refreshment. Crystal-clear water also offers good underwater visibility for snorkelers to view the former coral reef from which the islands were formed.
8- Cabo de la Vela
At the northernmost tip of Colombia, and moreover of the whole continent of South America, lies the peninsula of La Guajira and the Cabo de la Vela. Somewhat unusually in this list, the beaches of the cape stand out because of their desert-like nature; one looks in vain for many palm trees lining the beach. But that’s exactly what’s interesting about it – it’s great for relaxing, swimming and sunbathing, especially away from the tourist crowds. At night, when the sky is clear, you should sit on the beach and marvel at the captivating starry sky! The Wayúu people, who have been living in this region for centuries, also offer a lot to discover for those interested in culture. As a souvenir you should take home some of the extraordinary handicraft of the Wayúu.
9- Beaches near Buenaventura
The coastline near Buenaventura, Colombia’s largest port city, is most striking for its cliffs and rock faces, with many tropical plants growing. With a small boat you can sail along the coastline and also discover some small beaches. But also the evening atmosphere near the harbor is unbeatable.
10- Bay of Sapzurro
Sapzurro is a small town on the coast close to the neighboring country of Panama and near the larger town of Capurganá. A narrow beach in a bay with a hilly and densely vegetated hinterland gives the hamlet a unique charm. Trees and roots protrude from the water in some places, creating a somewhat surreal effect that adds to the remote atmosphere. You somehow feel like you’re in another world. Be sure to stop by!