Colombia is fast becoming known as the destination place for anyone dreaming of that perfect beach holiday. While overcoming a bad reputation, it is replacing that image with one that is the envy of all other countries. The coastlines face the Pacific Ocean as well as the Atlantic Ocean and also the Caribbean Sea, giving a wide array of types of best beaches in Colombia that will appeal to everyone. The waters along the Pacific are very turbulent, and the waves crashing into the rocks and cliffs give these areas such a dark and mysterious feel and provide some great photo opportunities.
The areas along the Atlantic and Caribbean are the ideal, picturesque beaches that you would see on a postcard. There are small islands dotting the region as well that provide some of the best beaches in Colombia as well as could be found anywhere else in the world. Not only are there magnificent beaches here, but this Latin American country is also a showcase for amazing jungles, some of which seem to crash right into the ocean, as well as stunning mountains, palm trees, beautiful cities and some of the friendliest people around.
One of the most beautiful places to see in Colombia is the Tayrona National Park. This park is mainly a jungle that is filled with the most amazing flora and fauna, including huge palm trees. There are cold streams that flow off the mountain tops, down massive rocky cliffs and boulders and dump right into the ocean. The beaches in the park are some of the most spectacular in the country, and many are connected by hiking trails. You can also rent a kayak or hire a boat to take you to some of the best ones. Listed here are some of the best beaches in Colombia that you will want to be sure to see. Many more exist, and you can not go wrong by visiting any one of them.
1. Cabo San Juan
Flickr Credit: David Shankbone
Cabo San Juan is probably the most famous beach in Colombia. It is located in the beautiful Tayrona National Park, and is extremely popular with both the locals and tourists. The two amazingly white beaches that combine to create the entire beach are the best of the best. The surroundings of the beach make this even more spectacular, as well as the famous hammock hut on a small hill that is such an integral part of the area. The warm, powdery white sand is so inviting for anyone sun lover, and the amazing blue water is perfect for swimming, paddleboarding or other water sport. There are plenty of resorts in the area as well as many food and drink vendors, souvenir stands and rental shops so you can easily obtain anything you need to make your stay perfect.
Flickr Credit: Claudia Maya
Arrecifes is also in Tayrona and is one of the more popular beaches in Colombia. It is also one of the largest beaches in the park, giving everyone plenty of room to find that perfect spot. There are campsites here for anyone wanting that perfect chance to spend time with nature. With the jungle covered mountains in the background and the millions of stars in the night sky, camping is the ideal way to recharge. There are some cafes so you have the option of catching you own meal, or getting some of the best fresh seafood cooked for you.
Flickr Credit: Luis Alveart
Cañaveral, also located in Tayrona, is a breathtaking piece of heaven. It is one of the longest beaches in the park but is not nearly as crowded as all of the others. In fact, you will often find it almost deserted, giving you the peace of mind that will make your stay extremely relaxing. This is also the head of the trail for the ‘Nine Stones’ hike along the eastern cliffs of the park. You will love the beauty of the trail through the amazing countryside and the view from the cliffs. After your energetic hike, relaxing and sunbathing on the beach is a perfect way to spend the day. For the more adventurous, you should bring your camping gear, have a bonfire on the beach and spend the night, taking in the magnificent starry sky.
4. La Piscina
Flickr Credit: Alexander Schimmeck
La Piscina, also known as The Pool, is one of the rare beaches in Tayrona where you can safely swim, making it one of the most popular beaches in Colombia. A coral reef just offshore breaks the famous turbulent waters and makes it such a wonderfully calm place to play. The reef is also an ideal place to snorkel and view some of the most colorful marine life in the area. There are also some rugged rocky outcroppings that stretch out into the sea, and many little coves that are tucked away along the beach. You could easily spend the day playing in the water and lounging in the warm sand.
Castilletes is probably the least known, and therefore visited, beaches in Colombia. It is also located in Tayrona Park and is fairly easy to access, even though it is more isolated. There are some primitive cabins you can stay in if you want to spend the night. You will very likely have the place all to yourself so you can get in some real quality relaxation and fun with your significant other or the entire family. There are signs just inside the entrance to the park giving directions here, or you can also access it from the Nine Stones trail if you hike that from Cañaveral Beach. The magnificent, rugged beauty of the area is well worth staying here.
6. The Nudist Beach
Flickr Credit: Javier Guillot
There are many other Colombia beaches that lie within the Tayrona National Park. The Nudist Beach is a really nice one if you like to go au-naturale. It doesn’t require that you take it all off though, and many people go there to enjoy the beauty of the area and do not go naked. Being just a short walk from Cabo San Juan, it is easy to get away to. Playa Cristal is close to Santa Marta and Taganga so is a great day trip if you are staying in one of these cities. From here you can also visit Siete Olas or Seven Waves which is a beautiful and quiet beach which only allows a limited number of visitors each day.
Playa Brava is in the heart of the park, and has such a rich scenery it is worth the effort to see. A wild combination of jungle and beautiful sandy shoreline with waves crashing into it makes this a unique place. Gayraca Bay is a nature conservation area and the sea is not as rough and dangerous as many of the beaches in the park. Here is a wonderful place for best scuba diving and see all of the colorful and unusual marine life Colombia has to offer. For those that love to surf, Los Naranjos Beach is where you want to head. It has such great waves that many competitions are held here.
7. Taganga Beach
Flickr Credit: jlcapparelli
Taganga Beach, along with the little fishing village of Taganga, is one of the most popular tourist destinations, and is a favorite amongst the locals as well. It is only a short distance from Santa Marta, so is very convenient for anyone visiting or staying in the capital city. With the many restaurants lining the beach, you can taste some of the most amazing fresh seafood dishes anywhere. It is generally not that crowded, so you can spend the entire day playing in the magnificent Caribbean, sunbathing and soaking in the local culture.
8. Palomino Beach
Flickr Credit: Ruth Westlake
Palomino Beach is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, which gives it such an awe-inspiring backdrop. You will love this quiet little beach, which you may even have all to yourself, as well as the village itself. Not only will you enjoy a day of playing in the Caribbean Sea, but you can hike or drive into the mountains for a real diverse view of the country. The locals are so friendly that you will thoroughly enjoy visiting this little piece of heaven.
Flickr Credit: La Joviseña Nuquí – Chocó
Nuquí is located along the shores of the rough Pacific Ocean. Hidden deep in the jungle of the Chocó region of Colombia, this unique getaway is one of the most mystical beaches in Colombia. You will discover some of the most beautiful and amazing flora that can be found anywhere. Orchids of any color imaginable can be seen here along with so much more. Wildlife abounds here, not only in the jungle, but out in the ocean. From June to October you can spot some of the hundreds of humpback whales that come into this bay each year for breeding season. The quaint little fishing village of Nuquí is wonder to explore and taste some of the fantastic local cuisine. It is a cultural experience not to be missed.
10. Triganá Bay
Flickr Credit: Jennifer Argáez
Triganá Bay is also in the Chocó region where several small beaches can be found. The sand here is many shades of brown, some even becoming very dark. Coral reefs surround the bay, which makes it an ideal place to swim, play, snorkel and dive. The fish that call this area home are so colorful and unique that you will not be able to name them all, but will have a fantastic time trying.
Flickr Credit: Bernardo Mora Cadavid
Providencia is a Colombian island that lies in the Caribbean Sea between Jamaica, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. It is the most picturesque island in the world, with many beaches that are perfect for weddings and honeymoons. The sugary white sand and crystal clear blue water are so inviting and fun that you will want to either stay longer, or return year after year. Some of the beaches have golden sand that is so warm and rich that is simply divine. The Belize Barrier Reef is nearby, and is the third largest barrier reef in the world. It is teeming with amazing, colorful marine life.
Scuba divers come from all over the world to explore this spectacular gift of nature. Snorkeling is also another favorite pastime along the many beaches. The interior of the island is still unspoiled. With only 5,000 residents, there is relatively little commercial development. There are many hiking and biking trails where you can see some wonderful flora and fauna. You will want to visit the shops and restaurants, taking in the friendly local culture and cuisine. It is the perfect place to get everything you could ever want from a beach in Colombia.
12. San Andres Island
Flickr Credit: Catalina Morera
San Andres Island is in the same archipelago as Providencia Island, and is also filled with some amazing Colombia beaches. Many of the beaches are not visited by many people, and you may in fact find one that you have all to yourself. Others, like Johnny Cay, are extremely popular so are very lively with a lot going on. With such a variety of spectacular, pristine beaches, this island of less than 10 square miles was awarded the title of Leading Beach Destination in South America at the 2014 World Travel Awards. There are several quaint little villages and some amazing coconut palm plantations to explore, and of course the Belize Barrier Reef provides for wonderful diving and snorkeling. These are the most popular activities on the island’s beaches, with the exception of sunbathing, sipping on your favorite tropical drink and enjoying a spectacular sunset.
13. Playa Blanca
Flickr Credit: superwombatgirl
Playa Blanca, or White Beach, is on Isla de Barú just offshore from the historic city of Cartagena. You can only access this beach by ferry or boat, and it is well worth the effort. As the name suggests, this beach is covered in pristine white sand that is so soft and warm and stretches for over 2.2 miles. The amazing turquoise water of the Caribbean is the ideal place to swim and play for the whole family. Many vendors can rent or sell anything you need to make your day in the water perfect, and there are many cafes and bars along the beach, so you have no reason to leave. You can join in on fun with the many other locals and tourists, or you can find a quiet spot along the way and spend time to yourself. Be sure to sample some of the great local foods, and sample some of the best tropical drinks you have ever had.