South America’s beaches draw visitors from across the globe, and the beaches of Colombia are some of the most stunning on the continent. The country’s shoreline includes vistas of both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and travel to Colombia is easier (and safer) than it has been in years past.
You can travel to Colombia safely and visit its beautiful beaches without breaking the bank with careful planning. Read on for a roundup of our favorite Colombian beaches.
You will find Bocagrande north of Cartagena, which means it’s a convenient stop for those visiting the port city who want to spend time at the beach. Vendors can be pushy here, so it may not be where you would want to spend the whole day.
However, for a quick dip in the Caribbean Sea or just to put your toes in the sand, Bocagrande gets the job done.
2. Cabo de la Vela
A decidedly different beach from those in other parts of Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Cabo de la Vela is surrounded by a stark desert landscape.
Accommodations are rustic, and most visitors to this area are drawn by ecotourism; they come to see the dunes and watch the kite surfers, but there is nothing in the way of luxury resorts or high-end dining. The main attraction of Cabo de la Vela is its landscape.
3. El Valle
Animal lovers delight in El Valle beach thanks to the whales present every year from June until October and the turtles who lay eggs here.
The small community is located west of Medellin with a beach on the Pacific Coast of Colombia; isolated and somewhat rural, El Valle does not offer any deluxe accommodations, but for many travelers, its worth a visit just to see the wildlife, the waterfalls, and perhaps even do a little surfing.
4. Isla Mucura
This small island in the San Bernardo Archipelago draws visitors to its beautiful beaches both by boat from Cartagena and via cruise ships that stop in this Caribbean destination. Snorkeling and swimming are two popular activities here, with visitors wowed by the bioluminescent plankton in area waters.
From basic to luxury, several hotels offer wonderful lodging and dining on the island. Plan to take full advantage of dining on the fresh seafood served in local restaurants as there are limited opportunities to purchase groceries here. Just kick back and spend your days on the beach and your nights letting someone else do the cooking (and cleaning)!
5. La Miel
Another one of Colombia’s beautiful Caribbean beaches, La Miel is a small village close to the border with Panama. Known for its natural beauty and excellent snorkeling, the area also has a handful of inexpensive hotels, restaurants, and a duty-free shop.
A Pacific Coast beach in Colombia, Nuqui is a great spot to watch for humpback whales and is also known for its waterfalls and surrounding jungle. Travelers interested in ecosystems and local wildlife are drawn to the diversity found in Nuqui. The thermal springs in the area are also popular for visitors in search of rejuvenation and a tranquil coastal paradise.
7. Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona
Rocky cliffs and palm trees make for dramatic and breathtaking landscape views in this part of Colombia, roughly four hours northeast of Cartagena.
The Pueblito ruins and the lush landscape make this beach a favorite for visitors who enjoy a mix of history and natural attractions while on vacation.
8. Playas de Palomino
This Caribbean coast destination offers unspoiled and beautiful beaches, but visitors should be cautious as the waters can be rough.
On clear days beachgoers can even see the snow-covered peaks of Sierra Nevada, offering a stunning natural contrast to the beautiful shores.
This is a great beach for those who prefer a less crowded environment and a peaceful day soaking up the sun.
9. Playa de Providencia
This beach is actually closer to Nicaragua than mainland Colombia, and it is part of the San Andres Archipelago. These islands are where residents of Colombia often go on vacation, and the clear water makes it a great snorkeling destination.
Getting to Providencia will require a short flight from the San Andres airport or a boat from San Andres, and once there, you will feel as if you have landed in paradise.
10. Playa Rodadero
This bustling Pacific Coast beach gives you a real taste of local culture, but it may be too aggressive a taste for some! Vendors will be pushy in their approach to selling goods and services to tourists, so you may not choose this beach for a full day of relaxation. But there are plenty of activities in the area and dining options, so you might consider spending at least a day here if you’re traveling through the area.
Taganga is geared more toward young singles than families, so if a quiet beach day is what you had in mind, this may not be the spot for you. Inexpensive lodging draws adventurous travelers willing to stay in hostel-type accommodations and save money for other pursuits (such as imbibing). Check out Taganga if your travel vibe is rustic-crossed with a spirit of adventure and a big dose of a beach party.
A popular destination for snorkelers and divers, Trigana is known for its vibrant blue and green waters and its coral reefs teeming with vibrant, colorful fish.
This is a beautiful, quiet, off the beaten path destination close to Colombia’s border with Panama. It also sits approximately halfway between Cartagena and Medellin. Getting here will require a sense of adventure, but most visitors say the result is worth it!
13. Playa Blanca
A day trip away from Cartagena, you will find Playa Blanca. It is set on Isla de Baru and is a long and narrow sandy beach with clear water and small waves. Along the beach, you will also find several rustic restaurants. The water is shallow and warm, perfect for floating, relaxing, or snorkeling.
14. La Boquilla
At the north end of Cartagena and about a five-minute drive from the Old City is La Boquilla. This sandy beach offers more of a local feel. The beach is long and wide and popular with Colombians and visitors. Kitesurfing is popular at La Boquilla Beach.
15. Guachalito Beach
If you want some real adventure, you can find Guachalito Beach situated on the Pacific Ocean. This is just one area in Colombia where the ocean meets the jungle. The sandy beach is brown and soft, and you can sit and watch as large surf breaks on the shore of this wide and flat beach.
16. Punta Gallinas
At the northernmost point in South America is Punta Gallinas. Here you will find sand dunes that descend into the Atlantic Ocean. These Tarao Dunes are a part of the La Guajira desert in Colombia. This place is extremely remote but has miles and miles of sandy beach to discover.
Megan Jones leads the editorial staff of Seaside Planet. They are a multidisciplinary team of outdoor adventurers, water sports lovers, and passionate beach goers. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.