The Most Beautiful Beaches in Colombia

Far from the madding crowds: the pristine Playas de Palomino, on the north Colombian coast
Far from the madding crowds: the pristine Playas de Palomino, on the north Colombian coast | © Simon Rucker/Shutterstock
Photo of Nabila Khouri
20 May 2021

Colombia’s checkered history was once enough to put off travelers – but not any more. With cities such as Bogota and Cartagena rich in culture and history, as well as jungles, mountains and coastline galore, what’s not to like? Here’s our pick of the best beaches in this part of Latin America.

Capurganá and Sapzurro

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Close to the Panama border, this area of coastline is a nature lover’s dream. There are no motor vehicles in Capurganá, allowing visitors to feel totally disconnected from the daily distractions of life. You’ll be completely immersed and inspired by the beauty of simplicity in this small coastal community. The water is crystal clear and the reefs that protect the beach have a diverse variety of marine life, which is perfect for snorkelers and divers.

Playa Blanca at Isla de Barú

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Playa Blanca near Cartagena, Colombia
© Jess Kraft/Shutterstock

Located southwest of Cartagena, Playa Blanca is on a small island that’s easily accessible by ferry from the mainland. The beautiful white-sand beach and clear water draw plenty of visitors. So find a quiet spot and buy a cocada from one of the local vendors; these sweet coconut treats are perfect on a hot day. Along the beach there are places to rent lounge chairs and beach tents.

Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona

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Tayrona National Park, Colombia
© John Crux/Shutterstock

Tayrona National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Colombia. The flora and fauna are the stars of this undisturbed landscape, with a profusion of massive palm trees, vegetated beaches and rocky cliffs. Standing on the beaches, you’ll see huge boulders jutting out from the sea. Little islets covered in thick vegetation look painted against the background of the cerulean sea and sky. Ecotourism flourishes here, as visitors seek to become at one with the natural environment.

Playas de Providencia

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The San Andrés archipelago consists of three major islands, one of them being Providencia. Though these tiny islands are closer to Nicaragua than they are to Colombia, they are the ultimate vacation spot for mainland Colombians. The diving and snorkeling conditions are impeccable, while the golden sand and friendly locals only add to the bliss.

Playas de Palomino

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If you’re hoping to get off the beaten path, Palomino is the perfect place. The town and its pristine beaches rest quietly on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. You’ll probably have the beach to yourself, with the exception of a few locals. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, with its rich biodiversity, provides the perfect backdrop.

Nuquí

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The town of Nuquí is a tropical hideaway on the edge of the densest jungle in Colombia, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. You’ll find an entirely different type of beach in the Chocó region, where land and sea seem to crash together. Here, you’ll see orchids in every color possible and gigantic ferns dominating the landscape, while the ocean homes hundreds of humpback whales that come to breed in the bay from June to October.

These recommendations were updated on May 20, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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