‘Playa’ means beach in Spanish, and whether you’re a budget traveler searching for a spring break vibe or a vacationer looking for great service and solitude, there’s something for everyone here.
Colombia is gifted with welcoming people, an intriguing history, and some of South America’s most magnificent landscapes, in addition to its great coffee and beaches. Colombia is back on the map for tourists from all over the world, with shorelines on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides and natural beauty all around.
The vista of when you stand in the Pacific Ocean and gaze back up at the jungle is gorgeous. Rivers from the forest flow down to the sea through black sand.
Colombia, which is flanked on two sides by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, flaunts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Colombia’s shoreline is noted for its exceptional beauty, ecology, and culture, with a coastline covering over 3,200 kilometers. From paradise islands to local favorites and unexpected gems along the route, there’s a beach for everyone.
Here are the 14 best beaches in Colombia to visit on your next vacation!
14Playas de Palomino
When it comes to driving into town, first impressions might be deceptive. One of Colombia’s best-kept beach secrets is hidden behind the town’s humble neighborhoods.
It’s a beach that the locals want to keep to themselves, for obvious reasons, because it’s perfectly contrasted by the Sierra Nevada Mountains just upstream.
Don’t be startled if you feel like you have the entire place to yourself; you might.
Palomino is a charming tiny village located east of Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona. The beach spreads for miles east and west of town, with its blond beaches flanked by palm trees.
The beach is mostly uninhabited, so you’ll almost certainly have the spot to yourself. Because the waves here can be rather large at times, use caution when surfing and keep an eye out for rip currents.
Playas de Palomino on the Caribbean coast is one of the best beaches in Colombia for individuals who want to get off the beaten path. A variety of modest inns and resorts along the shoreline offer a variety of lodging options ranging from budget motels, ecolodges, and dormitories to mid-range motels.
Playa Blanca – meaning white beach – is a favorite of many Colombian families searching for a quick getaway from their mainstream lives. It is located on an island (Isla Baru) southwest of Cartagena.
Due to its breathtakingly blue ocean and postcard-like pristine beaches, Playa Blanca is also becoming a tourist favorite and also one of the best beaches in Colombia.
Weekends and holidays are the busiest times of the year, and the beach may get rather busy and noisy.
If that’s a scene you’d rather avoid, go during the week when the majority of the people are working. Remember to carry earplugs to drown out the unpleasant noises of swaying palm trees and breaking surf.
A day trip from Cartagena to Playa Blanca is ideal. A trip to the beach is one of the most popular things to do in Cartagena and frequent trips planned by hotels. It is easily reached via a 45-minute picturesque boat journey starting directly from the port in the Old City.
This long and narrow white-sand beach on Isla de Baru features stunning clean water and modest waves. Modest restaurants set back from the shore serve fresh fish and other traditional Colombian fares. Here, the water is shallow and pleasant, perfect for floating or snorkeling.
The cruises to Playa Blanca frequently stop at a few additional islands in the Islas del Rosario group along the way.
Must Read about Isla Baru
Grab your passport and sunblock if you’re seeking small, colorful houses, beautiful beaches, and spectacular views of the adjacent jungle-covered hills in one of the best beaches in Colombia.
Capurgana is a realm of rum-filled coconuts, magnificent tranquillity, and breathtaking panoramas, only accessible by speedboat and the occasional airplane.
Budget-friendly lodging is available, as well as a large number of kind and hardworking residents who will go out of their way to make your stay as pleasant as possible.
It’s not unusual to witness joyful dolphins splashing in the surf and enormous leatherback turtles laying their eggs between February and July, making it one of the top snorkeling spots in the country.
La Miel is a short boat ride away from Capurgana and is located in the town of Sapzurro on the Caribbean coast near the Panamanian border.
Despite being a little further out than its neighbor, La Miel nevertheless offers a few restaurants that serve up hot plates of local cuisine. Locals and tourists alike like fried fish with coconut rice and fried bananas, to name a few dishes.
Climbing the hill behind the town and into neighboring Panama is an option for those wishing to stretch their legs and widen their horizons.
This is one of the best beaches in Colombia to relax, have a beer, or eat another breakfast. You can pay in Colombian Pesos at la Miel Panama, and the costs are comparable to Sapzurro or Capurgana.
With a snorkel, you can also see some spectacular reefs.
Take a peek at the duty-free shop before returning to Sapzurro. It will be your greatest chance to get a cheap bottle of Chilean wine.
Taganga might be just what the doctor recommended if you’re a wanderer on a budget looking to let your hair down without breaking the bank.
Taganga, another one of the best beaches in Colombia, is a trendy location for young revelers eager to whoop-it-up in this once tranquil fishing village, thanks to cheap housing and a reputation for partying.
Taganga, just a short bus or cab ride from Santa Marta, has accommodations for all types of travelers, but it’s probably not the place for you if you’re searching for peace and quiet in a family atmosphere.
The little region is tucked among the Caribbean coast’s cliffs. Scuba diving and sunbathing are popular activities in the area, which also boasts lively nightlife. Enjoy one of Taganga’s many restaurants and pubs, or hire a tour operator to take you on a tour of the national park.
Relax on Taganga’s white-sand beach with your family and swim in the warm, clear sea. On the sand, play volleyball. There are numerous eateries along the shoreline; have lunch outdoors one of them to take in the sights of the water. Fresh shrimp and fish are on the menu. Make sure you drink plenty of water when you’re out in the sun.
Snorkel in the ocean to see colorful Caribbean fish up close. Make a scuba diving reservation with one of the small village’s scuba diving operators. Tour a secluded beach or Tayrona National Park with the dive centers.
Must Read about Santa Marta
9Playas de Providencia
The San Andres Archipelago’s Playa de Providencia, or ‘beach of providence,’ is one of three main islands that have some of the best beaches in Colombia.
The islands, which are closer to Nicaragua than to Colombia, are a great draw for Colombians on the mainland seeking a little rest and recreation.
You’ll feel as if you’ve been magically transferred into a tourist brochure as you stroll along white beaches flanked with palm palms and colorful fishing boats.
It’s an excellent area to snorkel and dive while seeing some of the colourful local marine life because of the pristine water.
When looking at a map, the beaches of Providencia may appear to be in Nicaragua, but they are actually in Colombian territory. The Colombians have kept these coral island strongholds because of the beautiful beaches and pristine waters. Some of Colombia’s best snorkeling and diving may be found here.
Soft white sand beaches are lapped by gentle surf. Time seems to slow down here because there isn’t much to do besides lie on the beach, snorkel, maybe strike up a conversation with the nice locals, and plan your next meal.
8Las Islas de San Bernardo
The islands that make up this lagoon can be charmingly relaxed when they are not packed with visiting Colombians.
When the sun shines brightly, the reflections off the white, sandy beaches can truly take your breath away.
If snorkeling and native marine fauna are your things, take a boat tour to Santa Cruz del Islote’s fishing village, then cruise to Isla Mucura and Isla Palma, where you can witness how the inhabitants live, eat a meal, unwind, and spend a little time underwater exploring.
This little-known island group feels a million miles away from the rest of the world. If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path Caribbean Island getaway, this is one of the best beaches in Colombia to visit. You’ll feel as if you’ve stumbled across a hidden gem that no one else knew about.
The San Bernardo Islands are a small Caribbean Island chain located 80 kilometers south of Cartagena and only accessible by boat.
There are few foreign visitors who venture south of Cartagena on the coast, hence tourism in this area is limited (especially outside of Colombian high season December-January and holidays).
El Valle, one of the best beaches in Colombia’s Pacific coast west of Medellin, is known for the marine turtles that lay their eggs on its shores, as well as the whales that visit every year between June and October.
El Valle is a region of great contrasts, surrounded by two dark, sandy beaches and backed by deep jungle.
Fishing and snorkeling are popular activities, but visitors interested in macabre mythology should pay a visit to the town’s graveyard, which is said to be haunted by locals.
You can also encounter the indigenous Embera tribe by traveling upriver.
During the week, there is little to no nightlife, but on weekends, the town comes alive.
El Valle beaches, like most of Colombia’s west coast, aren’t particularly attractive, but they’re tranquil and have their own unique charm. The vista when you stand in the Pacific Ocean and gaze back up at the jungle is gorgeous. Rivers from the forest flow down to the sea through black sand.
From June through October, humpback whales congregate in this area to reproduce. The town is known for its stunning diversity of flora & fauna, and it has a strong African element.
Hot springs nearby are wonderful for a refreshing soak and a mud facial to clear those unclean pores if you’re searching for some natural therapy. There’s also the lovely Waterfall of Love, which is only a short distance inland. To avoid getting lost in the bush, hire a local guide.
The exotic retreat of Nuqui is located on Colombia’s Pacific coast in the Chocó region and has some of the best beaches in Colombia. Because of its distant position, it is way off the beaten tourist path, so you’ll discover some of Colombia’s best surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and whale-watching options here. Nuqui places a great focus on ecotourism, with various eco-lodges offering pleasant lodging in the midst of an untamed, serene environment. It’s not possible to get there by land because it’s surrounded by deep rainforests and has no highways connecting it to the rest of the country.
5Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona
The name translates to “National Nature Park of Tayrona” for non-Spanish speakers. Tayrona is known for its pure vistas, gigantic palm palms, and steep cliffs, and is regarded by many to be one of the most stunning sites in a country filled with them.
Massive, spectacular cliffs jut from the sea, with a landscape of small, lush islands set against an impossibly blue sky going all the way to the horizon, may be seen from the beach. For individuals who want to connect with nature, tourism is a huge lure here.
Because it is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountain range, Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona has a beautiful and verdant appearance. The park has some genuinely spectacular golden sand beaches with clear blue waters, surrounded by waving palm palms and hills.
Cabo San Juan de Guia, Playa Cristal, and La Aranilla are some of the best beaches in Colombia, each having their own distinct qualities. Because of its distinctively sculpted granite boulders in the ocean and at one end of the beach, La Aranilla is most visited.
Because the national park has limited accommodations, the beaches are mostly used for day trips. Most people stay in Santa Marta, which is about 30 minutes away by vehicle and has plenty of lodging and restaurants.
Rodadero is a prominent beach in Colombia, located south of Santa Marta and Playa Blanca on the Pacific coast.
Rodadero Beach is a lengthy stretch of beach lined with palm trees and flanked by restaurants at the north end of a broad bay near Santa Marta. This is a popular spot for families and Colombians from nearby Cartagena, with plenty of activities at all hours of the day and night.
There’ll be a buzzing atmosphere and plenty of opportunity for to people watch. Small waves are common here, making it excellent for swimmers of all abilities. Rentable beach chairs and umbrellas are available, and a regular stream of sellers sells anything from cold drinks to souvenirs along the beach. Strolling on the beach is one of the most favorite activities here. Paddleboat rentals are available if you want to get out on the water.
Rodadero Beach is about a 15-minute drive from Santa Marta’s downtown area. It is one of the best beaches in Colombia that is trendier and more active than many others, and it caters to a wide range of interests. Locals and merchants are not as laid-back as they are at the less frequented beaches, which can be a turn-off for some leisure lovers.
On the other hand, there are more cultural opportunities nearby. Local musicians perform at night, creating a pleasant soundtrack for a delectable seafood feast that is amazingly cheap.
The Rodadero Sea Aquarium and Museum is a 3-minute drive from Playa El Rodadero. Visit this marine museum with your friends or family before or after your beach adventure. You may get up and personal with magnificent aquatic creatures such as sharks, dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, and a variety of other marine wildlife that call the area home. You can also see entertaining exhibitions like dolphins performing feats.
Isla Mucura is a tiny island in the San Bernardo Archipelago located a few hours from Cartagena. Isla Mucura is smaller than the other islands in the cluster and has only a few hotels, so there will be no overcrowding.
Bicycle, snorkeling, and even windsurfing trips are available at the Punto Faro resort, so no matter how you want to spend your time here, you’ll find something that fascinates you.
It is one of the best beaches in Colombia if you appreciate the sun, scenery, and crystal-clear water and all you want to do is lie on the beach. Isla Mucura is one of the reasons why Colombia is so attractive to tourists, aside from its delicious food, welcoming people, and beautiful scenery.
Colombia is the only South American country with coasts on both the Caribbean and Pacific oceans, and Isla Mucura is one of those amazing sites in the Caribbean, which is a huge benefit in South America!
Corales del Rosario National Natural Park includes Isla Mucura and a few other islets in the San Bernardo del Viento archipelago. This is Columbia’s most popular natural park, with hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. The majority of the “park” is submerged, and its purpose is to conserve and maintain the marine ecosystem.
Isla Mucura stands out among the park’s islands for its beauty. It is a must-see site on every Caribbean cruise, for both large families and young couples.
Boca Grande, or ‘great mouth,’ is a beach just north of Cartagena on the Caribbean coast. It isn’t the most gorgeous or tranquil beach in Colombia, but its closeness to Cartagena is a bonus for those seeking to join in some of the city’s cultural activities.
The city has a rich history and some beautiful buildings, forts, and museums. It was built by the Spanish in 1533 and is a sizable seaport. The merchants, like those in Rodadero, may be aggressive and unpleasant, so a morning swim followed by some afternoon touring might be a good way to break things up.
Cartagena’s principal beach strip is Playa De Bocagrande. Bocagrande is one of the best beaches in Colombia and has been compared to Miami’s beaches by some. This analogy is true for towers but not for beaches. The beaches are smaller, and people come here mostly for the scenery rather than to swim.
Beaches are always busy, but that doesn’t stop people from hotels and skyscrapers from rushing to the beach. A variety of eateries, ranging from fast food to high-end, are located just back from the beaches.
The beaches in Cartagena are not as turquoise blue as those in the Caribbean, but don’t let that put you off; the water is warm and generally clean and safe to swim in.
Beach sellers abound at Bocagrande, some of whom can be extremely persistent. If you want to try your hand at a slot machine or miss the Vegas atmosphere, Casino Rio and Mundo Fortune Casino are both just a short drive away from Playa De Bocagrande.
1Islands of Rosario
The Rosario Islands are a group of 27 islands located off the coast of Cartagena in a national park that is easily accessible by boat. Dreamy Caribbean beaches sans the crowds may be found here, as well as quiet, clear waters abounding with coral reefs and shoals of colorful fish. Swimming, snorkeling, or simply relaxing on the pure white sands of this tropical refuge; whether for a few nights or just a day excursion, the beaches on the Rosario Islands are among Colombia’s best.
The Rosario Islands are famous for their coral reefs and glistening waters, and they’re only a short boat journey away from Cartagena. The Rosarios are a group of 27 small islands that are great for catching some rays, snorkeling, and just soaking up the peaceful Caribbean vibes. It’s worth mentioning that not all of the islands are accessible to guests, so do your homework before going.
If you’ve been aching to go on a beach vacation, I strongly advise you to visit Colombia. That is if sipping fruity beverages while basking in the sun while surrounded by brilliant blue waves lapping against white powdered sand is your idea of a beach vacation.
Just so you know, Colombia is home to the vast majority of the beaches that Google returns when you search for “best beaches in the Caribbean.” So ensure to add these best beaches in Colombia to your travel bucket list this coming year.