With a 1,988-mile-long coastline that runs along the shores of the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, it should come as little surprise that Colombia is a land blessed with glorious beaches. Whether you are up for sipping cocktails while enjoying the views, snorkeling adventures, or thrill-seeking watersports, there’s a beach for you in this colorful Latin American country.
Capurganá, Chocó Department
The only way to reach this secluded coastal village located close to the Colombia-Panama border is by boat or plane. What awaits is not one but a string of bays framed by verdant rainforest and lapped at by warm, transparent Caribbean water. Check out Aguacate (Avocado) Beach, so named for its green water, and follow trails deep into the rainforest above Playa Sapzurro. There’s several excellent dive and snorkeling sites nearby, you can visit El Cielo Waterfall, and even cross the border by foot to the often deserted La Miel Beach.
Learn more about the village of Capurganá.
El Cabo San Juan, Magdalena Department
Beachgoers are spoiled for choice in Tayrona National Natural Park, but if you have to choose just one, then make it El Cabo San Juan. The beach is actually two almost identical coves separated by a lagoon and a rocky headland. If mild waters, soft sand, and swaying palm trees are your idea of bliss, then this is the place for you. It’s not just tourists that appreciate this natural wonder either; you might spot crabs, howler monkeys, and skinks basking in the sunshine. For a true adventure, stay overnight and sleep in a rented hammock. There are cabins and campgrounds nearby, too.
Learn more about Tayrona National Natural Park.
Juanchaco and Ladrilleros, Valle del Cauca
Intrepid surfers rejoice in the big waves at these adjoining beaches. Just getting here—by catching a boat from Buenaventura—can be a challenge; however, this has its benefits by reducing overcrowding. There’s some impressive sea stacks to admire for anyone that isn’t here for the surf at this wide and wild Pacific beach. At low tide it’s possible to walk from Juanchaco to La Barra via Ladrilleros. August to November is when the swell is biggest and from July to September you can go whale watching.
Learn more about Colombia’s surf culture.
Playa del Pilón de Azúcar, La Guajira Department
Positioned on the northern coast of the Guajira Peninsula, this is perhaps one of the most colorful beaches you are likely to see. The fine sand blends hues of orange, red and yellow, the water is turquoise and green limestone rocks frame the bay. When you aren’t topping up your tan and splashing around in the waves, you can climb to the top of Pilón de Azúcar (Sugar Pylon Hill). It only takes 15 minutes to reach the summit, but you’ll linger longer admiring the views of the Caribbean Sea and rugged Guajira coastline.
Learn more about traveling around the Guajira Peninsula.
Playas de Providencia, San Andrés and Providencia
Although closer to Nicaragua, the archipelago of San Andrés y Providencia is a Colombian destination and one well worth the boat trip or flight from the mainland. Providencia is the smaller of the two main islands and largely devoid of overdevelopment. Instead, you’ll discover a string of golden-sand beaches framed by palm trees and mangroves. Almond Beach and Playa Manzanillo are the type of unblemished beaches that appear as screensavers. Don’t miss Maracaibo Bay, the gateway to the paradisiacal Crab Cay.
Learn more about San Andrés and Providencia.