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An Adventure Traveler's Guide to Colombia Off The Beaten Track
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An Adventure Traveler's Guide to Colombia Off The Beaten Track

Picture of Anny Wooldridge
Updated: 31 March 2017
Colombia is rapidly taking the adventure sports world by storm and becoming a popular destination for adventure travellers and thrill seekers. The country has many locations for different extreme sports such as bungee jumping, paragliding, surfing, water skiing, kite surfing, white water rafting and many others. Here are some off the beaten track places you maybe never have considered to be adventure sport capitals. 

Adventure Activities in Nimaima

This relativity small historic and colonial destination is located 75 km or 45 minutes from Colombia’s capital Bogota. This town is relatively unknown even among Colombians, let alone tourists, but it is one of the best places for adventure sports in the country. In Nimaima you can canoe, abseil, camp, white water raft, hike, zip-line and abseil down a fast flowing waterfall. This is a unique environment high in the mountains with many flowing rivers; Salt de Barandillas is a 70 meter waterfall located in the area, ideal for swimming and abseiling. The canyon at Quebrada le Berderia is a picturesque location and provides the perfect backdrop to a thrill ride through the mountains on the Rionegro.

Nimaima, Cundinamarca, Colombia

White Water Rafting in Colombia © Niek Van Son / Flickr

White Water Rafting in Colombia © Niek Van Son / Flickr

Sandboard in La Guajira

La Guajira is Colombia’s biggest desert, located in the National Park of Macuira, approximately 25,000 hectares in area. Located on the Northern most tip of Colombia and bordering the Caribbean Sea; this area, with its contrast of bright orange sand and turquoise water, is unlike any other place in the world. The area is home to an indigenous tribe called the Wayuu tribe, who predominately still inhabit the land. La Guajira is only just starting to become a popular adventure sports destination for Colombians, and is little known in the tourism world. This is the perfect place to improve your sand boarding or kitesurfing skills. Sand boarding can be done on organised trips and involves riding down the tall orange dunes on boards or sleds. Sand boarding isn’t the only popular sport making a splash in this area: the beach of Cabo de la Vela is the perfect place to kite surf with the clear turquoise Caribbean sea providing warm waters both for beginners and advanced level kite surfers.

La Guajira, Colombia 

Where the bright orange of the La Guajira desert meets the Caribbean Sea © Tanenhaus / Flickr

Where the bright orange of the La Guajira desert meets the Caribbean Sea © Tanenhaus / Flickr

Kitesurf in San Andrés

San Andrés is one of Colombia’s Caribbean islands located off the coast of Panama. This picturesque island has white sandy beaches and crystal clear, turquoise waters. Whilst the island is popular with divers, it is relatively unknown in the kitesurfing world, even though it has the perfect conditions for the sport. Kitesurfing is slowly making a name for itself on the island, due to its 15kms of untouched beaches and guaranteed Caribbean sea winds all year round. On the east side of the island lies Marazul Beach, the perfect location for beginner kitesurfers (especially at low tide when the water is at standing depth for over 100 meters out to sea). Johnny Cay is also a perfect kitesurfing spot, located a short boat ride away on another small island.

San Andrés, San Andrés and Providencia, Colombia

Kite Surfing in San Andres Island, Colombia © Byron Rizo Bayona / Flickr

Kite Surfing in San Andres Island, Colombia © Byron Rizo Bayona / Flickr

Rock Climb in Suesca

Suesca is located north of the city of Bogota (around 60km or a 1 hour 30 minute drive from the city). The small picturesque town is often referred to as the birthplace of rock climbing in Colombia. The town offers over 400 rock climbing routes ranging in difficulty from 5.1 (beginner) to 5.14 (advanced) and all the routes are on natural cliffs. Suesca also has extensive mountain biking routes and trails, as well as trekking routes and rivers that are perfect for white water rafting.

Suesca, Cundinamarca, Colombia

Rock Climbing in Suesca, Colombia © Yassef Briceno Garcia / Flickr

Rock Climbing in Suesca, Colombia © Yassef Briceno Garcia / Flickr

 

Surf in Nuquí

Nuquí is located on the Pacific coast of Colombia, a largely untouched adventure-lovers dream. This surfer’s paradise is home to some of the best surfing spots in the world: roaring waves and phenomenal surf is mixed with breathtaking jungle landscapes. Many of the best surf spots in this area are remote and literally off the beaten track, some can only be reached after a small trek and others are only accessible by boat. Pico de Loro is an isolated spot for expert surfers that is framed by a jungle paradise; hundreds of bird species can be found here. Juan Tornillo is a fantastic spot for expert surfers; this isolated beach can only be reached by boat from the port of Nuquí. El Valle is a small local town with a small number of shops and hotels, but the surf is consistent and reliable and the beaches are uncrowded. Terco & Termales is a beginner-friendly beach located close to Nuquí and a great place for lessons or intermediate level surfing (swells reach up to 8ft).

Nuquí, Chocó, Colombia

Surfers in El Valle Choco, Colombia © Tio Tigre / Flickr

Surfers in El Valle Choco, Colombia © Tio Tigre / Flickr

Colombia is a great place for adventure travellers with its large selection of remote locations, along with well known destinations throughout the country, that are perfect for adventure sports. While the popular places such as San Gil, Medellin and Guacsa also have a fantastic adventure sports culture, many Colombians won’t have experienced the unique off the beaten path locations you find on this list.