Now that Colombia is growing in popularity among travelers, it’s time to spotlight some of its beautiful beaches. Until recently, Colombia was overlooked as a vacation destination, which means there’s a lot left to discover. The country is made up of rainforest, Andes Mountain peaks…and, as-of-yet, uncrowded beaches. Here are the country’s top 5:
Capurganá & Sapzurro
These two villages are located on Colombia’s border with Panama. They access the Caribbean Sea, but aren’t accessible by road, so you’ll have to travel there either via boat or plane ride from Medellin.
While hotels have been built and the villages’ economies rely on fishing and tourism, the beaches surrounding them are peaceful and comparatively (compare against probably any popular beach) empty of tourists.
In Capurganá, the main beach is Playa Soledad, which is nestled among the mangroves and offers excellent snorkeling opportunities. Also nearby are coral formations and rock formations and even a waterfall – all provide excellent places for swimming, diving (there are about 70 diving spots), and snorkeling.
The village of Sapzurro sits on a bay known for its white sand and crystal-clear water. However, if you’re really looking for peace and solitude, you can make your way through a section of jungle to reach Cabo Tiburon, where you’ll likely be the only inhabitant(s).
It’s all in the name – white beach! While this beach is just as gorgeous as you’d imagine with a name like that, it is being developed at an alarming rate and tourists are said to crowd it during the vacation season, so try going during December and January to get a real feel for its beauty.
Playa Blanca is located on Isla Barú, about 40 miles outside of Cartagena, so it’s a good place for a day trip if you’re staying in the city. Go during the week, and/or after 4pm to really make the most of this beach trip. Playa Blanca is the most famous beach to visit in Colombia.
Palomino is the perfect beach vacation spot for backpackers. You can find it just off of the Santa Marta–Riohacha highway. It’s nestled between a more urban area and the Sierra Nevada mountains (which are still protected by an indigenous population). There are hotels and places to stay in the city, and that leaves the rest ripe for exploration. On this beach, expect to see volcanic sand, coconut trees, and bamboo shacks.
Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona
Much like Palomino, the National Natural Park of Tayrona is a paradise for nature lovers and backpackers. Just a short trip from Santa Marta, and on the Caribbean coastline, this beach offers more than just sand and saltwater for your enjoyment. You can traipse through the protected jungle of the park in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and stumble across terraced ruins and archaeological sites on your adventure. This is the kind of beach you’d visit if you wish to stay in a beach cabin and relax on a hammock while enjoying the view of the largest coastal mountain range in the world – the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
The small town of Nuquí is home to the secluded beach of Guachalito. It’s only a short boat ride away. This area is a tropical hideaway from the densest part of Colombia’s jungle. Unlike the other beaches mentioned so far, this one is on the Pacific Ocean, with darker sand and waters. You can venture along the quiet coastline where the beach is rugged and the jungle is next to you – and truly take in nature. There are indigenous people living in areas nearby, but they do not invite visitors. The biggest feature that draws travelers to this beach is that it’s the best place for whale watching. Humpback whales gather in this area each year to breed through the months of June to October. If you want to see the whales, this is the place to be. The best places to stay are in the resorts on Guachalito. You won’t see much in the town of Nuquí, but that’s alright because the beach area is where you want to be if you travel here.
Colombia has numerous beaches, and many weren’t even mentioned here. If you’re headed out that way, some other notable beaches would be: Playas de Providencia on the San Andrés Archipelago, Taganga (another small town-turned-backpacker’s paradise), and El Valle, which sits on the southern side of the peninsula from Bahía Solano. With access to both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, there is no shortage of beach vacation spots to check out in Colombia.