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In spite of being the only South American country with both Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, Colombia isn’t exactly famed for its world-class surfing. However, there are many excellent spots on both coasts and a few hidden gems that are truly some of the best surfing spots not only in Colombia but also on the continent.
Colombia’s Pacific Coast region is arguably the best place in the country for surfing, but also much less visited than the more popular Caribbean Coast, where the stunning Guachalito Beach, one of the best parts of Colombia for surfers, lies. A couple of hours south of the town of Nuqui, Guachalito is home to several excellent hotels, but the best of the bunch is El Cantil Ecolodge, which offers surfboard rentals and classes.
Pradomar is a beach on the Caribbean Coast not too far from Barranquilla, which is one of the most popular – and crowded – surfing spots in the entire Caribbean region. The surf is consistent throughout the year, and the beach is great for any surfing enthusiast, from beginner to expert. The crowds really only arrive on weekends, so visit during the week for good surfing and a quiet atmosphere.
The most popular surfing spot on the Caribbean Coast for travellers is Costeño Beach hostel: this relaxed surf camp hostel might not have the biggest waves in the country, but it’s a perfect place to enjoy some beginner waves and learn the basics of surfing in a stunning setting. You can check out the surfing action, as well as the remarkable natural beauty, at Costeño Beach in the excellent Bomba Estéreo video for ‘Somos Dos’ below.
This beautiful spot on the Pacific Coast is one of the best surfing spots in Colombia, but it is really for expert surfers only: the waves can be extremely big there. Accessed by a boat journey of a couple of hours from Buenaventura, Juanchaco is also popular with beach lovers and ecotourists, but surfers will fall in love with the wild ocean and impressive surf.
This stunning stretch of wild Pacific coastline lies to the south of Guachalito Beach and Nuqui and is only accessible by boat (which can easily be arranged from the previously mentioned El Cantil Ecolodge). The waves here can vary in size, but in the right season, the surfing is truly world-class. The real draw here is the possibility of surfing with humpback whales between July and October: check out the remarkable video below to get a sense of how magical that experience would be!
The small Pacific Coast village of El Valle is a great spot for surfing and especially suitable for beginner- and intermediate-level surfers. El Almejal Beach, which stretches for a few kilometres to the north of the town, has some great surf, and most hotels and hostels can organise surf classes or board rentals. The Humpback Turtle Hostel is particularly recommended. Not only do they offer surfing classes for beginners, but the hostel is also a matter of metres from the ocean.
There are several different beaches where you can practice surfing on the beautiful Caribbean island of San Andres, but Punta Sur Beach is definitely the best of the bunch. With warm, beautiful waters and an excellent climate, surfing in San Andres is really a pleasure, but make sure to pick the right months: December to February, May, and June to August are the peak months for top surfing. Punta Sur is only recommended for intermediate to expert surfers, but you can ask around the island for more peaceful, beginner-friendly beaches.