Colombia’s coasts soak up the sunshine all year round, thanks to the country’s tropical climate and privileged geographical position. Here are some of Colombia’s most stunning beach destinations, picture perfect locations that are ideal for your summer vacation.
The paradise islands of San Andres and Providencia
The timeless beauty of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina islands have made them a firm favorite with travelers from across the globe, who come to the Colombian Caribbean in search of white, sandy beaches, crystalline waves and picturesque sunsets.
The ever-changing hues of the islands’ aquamarine seas have earned them the nickname Sea of Seven Colors and it’s this natural marvel, coupled with the islanders’ friendliness and joy, that make the San Andres archipelago one of the most visited sun and beach tourism destinations in Colombia.
Beaches are the islands’ standout feature but two, in particular, have earned international recognition with awards such as TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Beach Awards 2018. Spratt Bight beach, north of San Andres, is a popular and lively choice, surrounded by shops, bars and other establishments, whereas San Luis Beach, known as Sonora, or Sound, Bay is perfect for those in search of a little quiet.
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Providencia is home to some of the calmest, most attractive beaches in the Colombian Caribbean. This is mostly thanks to its islanders, who have protected the areas of outstanding natural beauty in their much loved home from development, prioritising the emblematic palm trees and small restaurants, built in the local style.
Providencia’s Manzanillo beach is one of the best places to visit in Colombia and one of the few beaches where the island’s nightlife really comes into its own. South West Bay is considered Providencia’s longest beach and Fresh Water Bay is the spot where most of its hotels and restaurants are located.
Beach holidays in Playa Cristal, Santa Marta
One of the best loved beaches in Colombia is Santa Marta’s Playa Cristal, or Crystal Beach. It’s the perfect place for beach holidays where visitors want nothing more than to relax and connect with nature, surrounded by white sands and crystal clear seas, home to vibrant coral reefs.
Playa Crystal is part of Tayrona Natural National Park, which makes it a must-visit for nature lovers, hikers and backpackers who explore the park each year, in search of untouched landscapes and rare fauna and flora, as well as the region’s ancestral history, which has preserved a strong culture of mysticism.
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Santa Marta is a fantastic destination for beach vacations with all the family. Everyone will enjoy the city’s Sea Museum and Aquarium, learning more about the Colombian Caribbean’s aquatic wildlife, and, for adults, the city is also a lively extreme sports hub. Santa Marta’s thriving hotel infrastructure is well developed for families and one standout option is Zuana Hotel, ranked second of 25 in the Colombia Family category in TripAdvisor’s 2019 Traveler’s Choice Awards.
Mayapo, a La Guajira paradise
Some of Colombia’s serenest beaches are surprisingly close to its cities. It takes twenty minutes to reach Mayapo’s stunning shores from Riohacha, capital of the La Guajira department. The area’s white sands and intense biodiversity make it an essential trip for locals at the weekend and it has become a natural pilgrimage for visitors in search of Colombian beaches in the north of the country.
The Caribbean Sea plays a big role in the lives of the Wayuu people, who live from fishing, tourism and handicrafts, including the famous Wayuu mochila (bag), which is hand woven in a multitude of colors.
Mayapo’s beaches are close to other top tourism destinations in the region too, including the Pilon de Azucar, Taroa dunes, Macuira National Park and pretty Cabo de la Vela, which makes them the ideal place to begin an exploration of the region.
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Baru, discover the wildlife of the Colombian Caribbean
Magical Baru island is just 45 minutes from Cartagena, but it feels like its own world. Its white sands and clear seas showcase its aquatic wildlife and time stands still as visitors soak up the sun and feast on the region’s gastronomic delights.
Some of Baru’s best-known beaches are Playa Blanca, Punta Iguana, Puerto Naito, Cholon, Playita de los Muertos and Playa Bobo. Each offers visitors the chance to go snorkeling, kayaking or bird watching as they explore the area.
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Colombia’s Caribbean is the ideal place to spend a summer vacation, thanks to the outstanding natural beauty of its seas and beaches, the kindness and generosity of its people, its varied and delicious cuisine and its glorious landscapes. There is something for everyone, from extreme sports to local cuisines. When it comes to a sun and beach vacation, the Colombian Caribbean is unforgettable and that’s why it’s on the radar of tourists across the globe.
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