It might be more famous for coffee, drug cartels and Latin pop star Shakira, but you might be surprised to discover that Colombia is also one of the world’s up and coming beach vacation destinations. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, the country has two fantastic stretches of coastline with incredible natural beauty, so it’s not surprising that Colombia’s beaches are amazing.
The beaches on the Caribbean coast are impossibly alluring, with crystal-clear turquoise waters, gleaming white sand and lush swaying palm trees. The Caribbean coast is more developed and set up for tourism, so the beaches here are excellent spots for snorkelling too. Known for being extremely picturesque, many of these beaches are framed by sparkling turquoise waters and offer sensational snorkelling opportunities.
By contrast, the Pacific Ocean coastline beaches tend to be a lot wilder and more remote. Surrounded by jungle and rainforest, many beaches are off the beaten tourist trail, sometimes only accessible by plane or boat. Showcasing darker sand and a deeper blue shade of water, you won’t see many other international visitors here. But if you are lucky, you might get to spot the odd Humpback whale, which makes the trek out to them so worthwhile. There are many beaches in Colombia you can choose to visit, so here are 20 to get you started.
Also read: 20 Famous Colombia Landmarks
- 20 Colombia Beaches For Your Bucket List
- Best Beaches in Colombia – Santa Marta
- Best Beaches In Colombia – Cartagena
- Best Beaches in Colombia Near Panama
- Best Beaches in San Andres, Colombia
- Beaches In Colombia – Guajira Peninsula
- Best Beaches in Colombia – Pacific Ocean
20 Colombia Beaches For Your Bucket List
Best Beaches in Colombia – Santa Marta
1- Cabo San Juan del Guia
Cabo San Juan del Guía is one of three magnificent beaches in the National Nature Park of Tayrona in Santa Marta.
It is a little piece of paradise backed by the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range and features huge palm trees that line a long stretch of golden sand.
From the sea, imperious rocks jut from the water while towards the horizon, under stunning cerulean skies, a smattering of small, bosky islands complete the pristine landscape.
A great place to swim, the average year-round temperature here is 28°C.
Cabo San Juan del Guía is in Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia.
2- Playa Grande
A beach where you will not be alone is the Playa Grande at Taganga.
Accessed by boat or along a leafy nature trail, this is a popular destination for budget travellers because of the many cheap accommodation providers, bars, and restaurants in the surrounds.
The area does have a reputation for being a bit of a party zone, so you shouldn’t come here if you are looking for peace.
But if that doesn’t bother you, then you will love swimming in the water here – which sparkles with idyllic shades of blue.
Playa Grande is in Tanganga, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia.
3- Bahía Concha Beach
Framed by verdant mountains of wine bottle green, immaculate white sand and cobalt blue waters, Bahía Concha is the kind of paradisiacal beach where you instantly leave your troubles behind.
Situated just 30 minutes from Santa Marta, this long beach is part of the Tayrona National Natural Park.
A revered place for the local indigenous communities of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, who regularly perform sacred rituals there, be sure to be respectful of the landscape whenever you visit.
It is a beautiful place to chill out, and one of the best things about this beach is that it has shady trees that are so perfectly spaced apart you can easily hang up a hammock and soak in the tranquillity.
Bahía Concha Beach is Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia.
4- Playas de Palomino
Lying to the east of the magnificent Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona is the charming town of Palomino, which features the spectacular Playas de Palomino along its oceanfront.
Characterised by a long stretch of blond sand that extends for miles in both directions, this beach is bordered by rows of coconut palms and straw huts.
The imposing snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada hover in the background.
Although it’s a noted spot for surfing because of its strong waves, it’s very much a locals-only beach, so don’t be surprised if you are the only out-of-towner there.
Playas de Palomino is in Tayrona National Park, Colombia.
Located just south of Playa Blanca and Santa Marta, Rodadero is a famous beach in Colombia for families.
Set towards the northern end of a wide bay, this long stretch of golden sand is lined with idyllic palm trees, as well as a busy parade of hotels and restaurants.
Always busy, this beach is a great place to watch the waves crashing or the people around you.
By day it offers excellent opportunities for swimming, paddle boating or other water sports activities.
At night, street drummers add an ambient charm to your dining experience.
El Rodadero is near Santa Marta, Magdelena, Colombia.
6- La Piscina
Given that it is an authentic natural pool, La Piscina, which translates to a swimming pool, is rather aptly named.
One of the safest swimming beaches in Tayrona Park, the coral reefs ensure the waves are always peaceful and calm.
Backed by lush, verdant vegetation, which perfectly offsets the azure waters, the beach has a serene and intimate atmosphere that is great for relaxing.
It also has spectacular sunsets.
Playa La Piscina is in Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona, Magdalena, Colombia.
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Best Beaches In Colombia – Cartagena
7- La Boquilla
Despite being a short five-minute taxi ride from the Old City of Cartagena, La Boquilla is a long, flat, wide and stunning stretch of beach that rarely gets overcrowded.
A popular spot for kitesurfing, especially in the afternoon when the winds tend to pick up, many locals also enjoy fishing, diving, and jet-skiing at Boquilla Beach.
Backed by a string of hotels and modern residential towers, which adds an interesting perspective to the landscape, the beach also features several bars and restaurants that offer splendid al fresco dining options.
La Boquilla is in Cartagena Province, Bolivar, Colombia.
8- Bocagrande Beach
Bocagrande Beach might not be as picturesque as other Colombian beaches, but if you are looking to sunbathe, swim and relax, then Bocagrande Beach is a good choice.
Situated just north of Cartagena on the Caribbean coast, the beach here is small, but the water is warm, and the lifeguard towers will remind you of Miami.
Several beach vendors will vie for your attention, and if that starts to bother you, plenty of decent restaurants on the edge of the sand can offer respite.
Bocagrande Beach is at Cartagena de Indias, Provincia de Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia.
9- Manzanillo del Mar
If you are into long beach walks, then the salt and pepper sands of the Manzanillo del Mar is perfect for you.
Situated just 15 minutes from Cartagena’s Old Town, the beach here showcases stunning views, with a prominent headland located on its south end and the imperious Cartagena towers glimmering in the distance.
Much easier to access than ever before because of a new bridge constructed over the nearby Ciena De Tesca lagoon, you can even drive directly onto the sand and set yourself up for the day.
Manzanillo del Mar is in the Cartagena Province, Bolivar, Colombia.
10- Playa Blanca
Set on the Isla de Baru is a gorgeous, long, thin white sandy beach called Playa Blanca.
The scenic 45-minute boat ride to the beach adds to the experience to make it a popular day-trip destination from Cartagena.
With pristine white sand, gently swaying palm trees and crystal clear warm water, the small waves here provide perfect conditions for swimming, snorkelling, or floating on a lilo.
Even though this beach can get busy during the day, it is an excellent spot to relax in the evening.
It’s incredibly wonderful once the stars come out, and most tourists have gone back to the mainland.
Playa Blanca is on Isla de Baru off the Cartagena Province, Bolivar, Colombia.
11- Punta Faro
The San Bernardo Archipelago consists of 10 small islands dotted around the Gulf of Morrosquillo, located within the Caribbean Sea.
One of those islands, Múcura, contains a stunning beach called Punta Faro.
Another destination that tourists have yet to discover, this beach takes the form of a more traditional Caribbean beach.
Dazzling white sand meets exquisite coral reefs, and stunning turquoise waters lap on the sand in a spectacular union of nature.
It’s a fantastic beach to go snorkelling and diving and take photographs of the iguanas that roam freely.
Punta Faro is at Isla Mucura, Bolívar, Colombia.
12- Isla Mucura
On the San Bernardo Archipelago, Isla Mucura is a stunning beach within the Corales del Rosario National Natural Park.
Known for its sparkling clear waters and gorgeous white sand, it’s a lovely, peaceful beach free of the pushy street vendors that plague other places.
A popular spot for snorkelling, kayaking and windsurfing, this area is also home to several excellent all-inclusive beach resorts.
A short walk from the sand, you will also find narrow, quaint streets that showcase gorgeous architecture and several excellent restaurants.
13- Rincón del Mar
Fancy a late-night swim? Head to the fishing village of Rincón del Mar in the municipality of San Onofre.
The beach is not the longest, but it is quiet and picturesque. Best of all the water is completely warm and very calm, so you can enjoy a swim in it at any time that suits your fancy.
Don’t worry about being in the water in total darkness, as there are several bars, restaurants and businesses dotted along the beach that will provide ample light.
Rincón del Mar is at San Onofre, Sucre, Colombia.
Best Beaches in Colombia Near Panama
14- Trigana Beach
One of those magical beach destinations that have largely been undiscovered by tourists, Trigana Beach is a gem.
Situated in Acandí, on the Caribbean coast, this beach is well off the beaten track.
Set in a landscape of national park, botanical gardens and hot springs, the secluded beach is pretty much always empty.
If you do make it there, though, you can enjoy terrific opportunities to explore nearby mangroves and waterfalls.
Trigana Beach is in Acandi, Choco, Colombia.
15- La Coquerita
Locals believe that Capurganá has some of the most beautiful beaches in Colombia, and it’s hard to argue against them.
This is particularly true when it comes to the paradise that is La Coquerita.
Located near the border with Panama, you can only get to Capurganá by speedboat or the occasional flight, but it is definitely worth the effort.
This beach offers outstanding snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities and incredible views of lush, jungle-covered mountains and colourful houses that perfectly offset the immaculate white sandy beach.
It is also popular with dolphins who regularly frolic in the surf, and turtles, that come here seasonally to lay their eggs.
La Coquerita is at Capurganá, Acandí, Choco, Colombia.
Best Beaches in San Andres, Colombia
16- Cayo Cangrejo Beach
Cayo Cangrejo Beach should be right up your street if you like your beaches secluded and remote.
Situated in the McBean Lagoon National Park, on the island of Providencia, it can only be reached by catamaran or via a small plane from San Andrés Island.
Closer to Nicaragua than to the Colombian mainland, this beach radiates a quintessential Colombian beach ambience, with stately palm and coconut trees, picturesque white sand, and colourful, rustic fishing boats.
Of course, it’s another great spot for snorkelling, and the clear water reveals a stunning collection of indigenous marine life.
Cayo Cangrejo Beach is on Providencia Island in Colombia.
17- Johnny Cay
The perfect beach for a laptop screensaver, especially when seen from above, Johnny Cay is quietly tucked away on an island within the archipelago of San Andres.
Johnny Cay is a popular day-trip destination from the surrounding islands, featuring a terrific strip of white sand, graceful palm trees, and stunning turquoise waters.
It is renowned as an excellent spot for snorkelling, with a fabulous collection of fish, sea urchins, and coral bays.
There are also excellent fish restaurants here and performances by local reggae bands.
Johnny Cay Regional Park is 1.5km (less than a mile) off the coast of San Andrés.
Beaches In Colombia – Guajira Peninsula
18- Pilon de Azucar
The beach of Pilon de Azucar is surrounded by desert and virtually no vegetation.
Situated at Cabo de la Vela on the Guajira peninsula, this place is renowned for its magnificent dunes.
Besides the dunes, there is not much else here, which is part of its charm.
The delicious local lobster costs around the same price as a hot dog in the USA and is a big drawcard.
Best Beaches in Colombia – Pacific Ocean
Located in the beautiful Nuquí Chocó region, Guachalito is an astonishing beach haven.
Accessed by a 30-minute boat ride from Nuqui, this is a stunning landscape where the jungle meets the beach.
You’ll be forgiven for thinking you have stumbled onto the set of David Attenborough mini-series as you see colourful hummingbirds and butterflies hovering around a rainbow of orchids.
And when you see humpback whales splashing about the gently rolling surf breaks of the Pacific Ocean, you’ll think you have died and gone to heaven, especially if you witness the spectacle of nature from the beach’s iconic Waterfall of Love.
Guachalito Beach is off Nuquí in Colombia.
20- El Valle Bahia Solano
Located to the west of Medellin, along the Pacific coast, El Valle Bahia Solano is a great beach to encounter an exciting range of marine life.
It is a famed spot for turtles to lay their eggs. Whales and dolphins are also regularly spotted here. In May, you can even see flying fish as well.
It is backed by a thick, lush jungle and features dark sand.
This Colombia beach is a popular spot for fishing and snorkelling, and if you feel like an exploration, you can also venture upriver to meet the local Embera people.
El Valle is at Bahía Solano, Choco, Colombia.