The Best Resorts to Book in Colombia

Experience barefoot luxury and Caribbean views at this mangrove-nestled resort
Experience barefoot luxury and Caribbean views at this mangrove-nestled resort | Courtesy of Hotel Las Islas / Expedia
Photo of Alex Robinson
1 September 2021

Caribbean islands fringed with pearl-white beaches, sleepy colonial towns with Spaghetti Western bell towers, condor-patrolled Andean valleys and ruined pre-Columbian cities. The landscapes alone will have you falling for Colombia. And that’s before you get the colorful carnivals, the scent of tropical flowers and the nocturnal beat of salsa spilling into the streets. Where to relax when your senses need a reboot? We know the best resorts in Colombia – bookable on Culture Trip.

Keen to visit Colombia but not sure where to stay or what to do? Consider joining Culture Trip’s specially curated eight-day Colombian Andes adventure or our epic eight-day Colombian Caribbean trip – both led by our local insider.

Hotel Tamacá Beach Resort

Resort
4.1/5 (218 Reviews)
Hotel Tamacá Beach Resort
Courtesy of Hotel Tamacá Beach Resort / Expedia
Price Drop
Now from $99 per night

We’ll be frank: there are more beautiful hotels than Tamacá, with its old-fashioned concrete-block design and its rooms sporting functional wood veneer. But sometimes what you need is an undemanding, non-extortionate base. There are also prettier towns than Santa Marta, the town it’s in. But you’re here for the wildly romantic beauty all around: golden beaches, the Sierra Nevada mountain range, rising from the coast to icy peaks, and indigenous villages lost in rainforested valleys. It’s all doable on day trips.

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Hotel Estelar Playa Manzanillo

Resort
4.2/5 (689 Reviews)
Hotel Estelar Playa Manzanillo
Courtesy of Hotel Estelar Playa Manzanillo / Expedia
Price Drop
Now from $176 per night

Cartagena, on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, is one of South America’s more enchanting colonial cities: set behind cannon-encrusted walls, it is cut by cobbled streets of ochre and lemon Spanish mansions, with spicy smells wafting from seafood restaurants and vibrant with bars and salsa clubs. This old-fashioned all-inclusive (with family-size pools and balcony rooms squeezed into concrete annexes) sits on a broad sandy beach a 20-minute shuttle ride away from the city, just close enough for you to dip from day to nightlife, with disco naps in between.

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Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena

Hotel
4.7/5 (561 Reviews)
Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena
Courtesy of Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena / Expedia
Price Drop
Now from $233 per night
Built inside a renovated 17th-century convent set into the fortifications of historic Cartagena, the Legend steeps guests in the city’s Pirates of the Caribbean colonial charm. The best of the beautiful baroque churches, museums and restaurants are a stroll from your room. Gabriel García Márquez’s former home is practically next door. Enjoy a neoclassical jewel of a pool – shaded by palms and with generous sun lounger space – in the hotel’s al fresco atrium.
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Conrad Cartagena

Resort, Chain Hotel
Conrad Cartagena
Courtesy of Conrad Cartagena / Expedia

You couldn’t accuse the Conrad of hemming you in on holiday – not given those awesome expanses of turquoise Caribbean Sea. Check out the vast complex of swimming pools for all ages. Wander the 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course. And rest awhile in your cavernous balconied room, enjoying its meditative contemporary white palette, lent splashes of color by locally sourced art. The only downside? The secluded beach is tennis-court tiny. That and the fact that Cartagena – the jewel in colonial Colombia’s crown – is a half-hour drive away.

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Hotel Las Islas

Resort
4.5/5 (83 Reviews)
Hotel Las Islas
Courtesy of Hotel Las Islas / Expedia
Price Drop
Now from $357 per night

On a beach edged by wild forest an hour from Cartagena, this jungle hotel lays on Robinson-Crusoe-barefoot luxury. Rope-floored, palm-thatched cabins have mosquito-netted four posters and Caribbean-view balconies. Some are conjoined – ideal for families. Cartagena is an easy day trip away, and you’re never lost for things to do, from glass-bottom sea kayaking and snorkeling over the coral to heli-trips to ruined pre-Columbian cities in the mountains.

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Irotama Resort

Resort
4.2/5 (417 Reviews)
Irotama Resort
Courtesy of Irotama Resort / Expedia
Price Drop
Now from $155 per night

Towering over a Caribbean beach just south of Santa Marta town, this big resort is a favorite among Colombian partygoers and families. It has a pool, tennis courts and a golf driving range; what it won’t deliver is quiet intimacy – even in the garden bungalows. The rooms to book are the balcony suites on the upper floors of the main building – for their sweeping, sunset-over-the-ocean views. Best of all are the Sierra Nevada mountains a half-hour drive away, fringed with the gorgeous, empty beaches of Tayrona National Park.

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  • Hotel Punta Faro

    Resort
    Map View

    The small-scale Punta Faro is for young families after a gentle beach, sunset cocktails and a rest. The setting is a white-sand-fringed coral island lapped by turquoise Caribbean shallows, in the heart of the Islas del Rosario National Marine Park. Activities are limited (kayaks cost extra), while Cartagena is too far away for a day trip. But the sea is calm, and the palm-thatch bungalows with chunky beds and balcony hammocks will have you curled up with a book. The junior suites are best, with ocean views and coral-reef snorkeling right off the shore.

    Blue Apple Beach House

    Guesthouse
    Map View
    Blue Apple Beach House
    Courtesy of Blue Apple Beach House / Expedia

    DJs and live salsa. A handful of chic-shack thatched bungalows with outdoor bathrooms and plunge pools. A young hipster crowd on holiday from Bogotá or Barranquilla. The Blue Apple is the Colombian Caribbean, Ibiza-style, which means it’s not a place you’d come to rest, soothed to sleep by cicada song and waves. But it’s great for a long weekend dance party, with snorkeling, scuba diving and kayaking between drinks.

    Hotel El Amargal Reserva Natural

    Resort
    Map View
    Hotel El Amargal Reserva Natural
    Courtesy of Hotel El Amargal Reserva Natural / Expedia

    It’s not all about the Caribbean. Colombia straddles two oceans. El Amargal belongs to the wilder, wetter Pacific – squeezed between forests of waterfalls and rocky shoreline broken by long, broad coves. It’s fabulous for wildlife: hummingbirds and eagles in the rainforests, manta rays and whales plying the ocean. The wilderness is spectacular, the accommodation jungle-camp simple: open-sided huts with marine breezes for air-con, bare wooden floors and foamy mattresses. Remember, you’re here for creatures rather than creature comforts.

    Ecohotel Tierra de Agua

    Resort
    Map View
    Ecohotel Tierra de Agua
    Courtesy of Ecohotel Tierra de Agua / Expedia

    Whitewater rafting, waterfall hikes, hang-gliding, fly fishing – the village of Cocorná, in the Andean foothills east of Medellín, is an under-the-radar light-adventure destination. Tierra de Agua’s open-sided bamboo bungalows cascade down a hillside of re-planted tropical forest, and you’re here for gentle immersion in nature. Sounds of cicadas and flowing water lull you to sleep. You wake to breakfasts of tropical fruit and spend days hiking, swimming in the clear-water river or dozing in the hammam and the spring-water hot tubs.

    Aité Eco Hotel Resort

    Resort
    Map View
    Aité Eco Hotel Resort
    Courtesy of Aité Eco Hotel Resort / Expedia

    Aité means barefoot, under-thatch relaxation on one of the least-spoilt stretches of Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Accommodation is simple: fresh, whitewash-and-tile bungalows, with hammock-slung balconies, brightly colored floral cushions and views of the sands shaded with coconut palms. Toucans flit in the trees, turtles clamber over the beaches and – making your visit truly special – nearby are the wild forests of Tayrona National Park, as well as the flamingo-filled wetlands of Los Flamencos wildlife sanctuary.

    These recommendations were updated on September 1, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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