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Beaches in Colombia: enjoy the best of the Caribbean

by Pilar Dujan | March 28, 2024
A guide to the beaches in Colombia

Colombia is very well known for the dreamy beaches you can find along the Caribbean coast. Due to the currency in Colombia being of lower value than other foreign currencies, you can get a unique travel experience for less money than you might think.

Here you will find the essential guide to the beaches in Colombia you can’t miss on your trip and what to do in them. Plus, specific advice for cities like Cartagena and Barranquilla.

What are the best beaches in Colombia?

San Andrés 

San Andrés y Providencia island in Colombia

San Andrés is an island belonging to Colombia, but closer to Nicaragua in the Caribbean sea. You can board a flight to San Andrés from the most important cities in the country, like Bogotá or Cartagena… and you definitely should. It’s a very typical tourist spot so don’t expect to be alone in San Andrés. 

This island is a paradise on Earth, with some of the most stunning beaches in Colombia and the world. The sea is crystal-clear in a very light shade of blue, the sand is white and very soft, and it’s a perfect spot for snorkeling.

You should know that it’s a bit more expensive to stay in San Andrés than in other beaches in Colombia. However, it’s money well-spent: a trip to San Andrés is something you never forget.


Barú beach, Colombia

Barú is just a short boat ride away from Cartagena, and a very popular destination amongst tourists. Of course, this means it can get very crowded, but there’s a way to avoid it: just walk along the coast until you find your ideal spot.

It’s no wonder why it’s so popular: just like the other best beaches in Colombia, the sea is perfectly clear and calm and the sand is white and soft. Another strongpoint of Barú is that it’s a great place to enjoy a Caribbean sunset. You can also book a tour to explore the surrounding mangroves.

You can stay in lodgings located right on the beach if you wish, and there’s no need to rent beforehand (although it’s always advisable) because most people visit Barú as just a day trip. If you choose to spend the night in Barú, prepare to enjoy the freshest seafood available in Colombia.

Islas del Rosario 

Aerial view of Rosario Islands in the Caribbean sea

The Rosario Islands hold some of the most stunning beaches in Colombia. These Caribbean islands are a snorkeler’s dream: you just need to get in the water to immediately be surrounded by small fish in every color. 

Very peaceful and quiet, you can lay in the sand amongst mangroves or go swimming without vendors or other tourists disturbing you. 

Cabo San Juan del Guía 

Cabo San Juan del Guía in Tayrona Natural Park

This entry to the beaches in Colombia is inside Tayrona National Park. It is located in northern Colombia, right on the coast of the Caribbean sea. The park itself is one of the best things to do in Colombia: it’s a magnificent contrast of landscapes, where the jungle meets the sea in a stunning spectacle. The two typical cities to start the trip to Tayrona from are Taganga and Santa Marta. 

Some beaches in Tayrona National Park are not open for swimming due to strong currents, but the beach of Cabo San Juan del Guía is. This is also the spot to stay in in the park: you can rent a tent with a mattress or a hammock overlooking the beach. 

Why is Cabo San Juan regarded as one of the best beaches in Colombia? Because the sea is perfect in terms of temperature and color (the most stunning shade of blue), surrounded by huge rock formations that only increase the appeal of the place.

But the beauty doesn’t end when you get out of the sea: if you turn around to face the park, you will see tall palm trees, mountains and the deep, green jungle.

Important: the Colombia vaccine requirements state that the yellow fever vaccine is mandatory for all travelers. You will need to present the vaccination certificate when you try to enter the Tayrona National Park. 

Palomino beach

The beaches in Colombia include Palomino

Less than an hour’s drive away from Tayrona you can find Palomino, a small coastal town. It’s less popular than other beaches in Colombia, which only means it will be quieter and more private

Besides typical activities of the region like scuba diving or snorkeling, this small town offers you the chance to surf or go tubing down the Palomino river until you reach the beach. 

Beaches in Colombia: recommendations for specific areas

Cartagena Colombia beaches

The Cartagena Colombia beach is not one of the best beaches in Colombia. Although it’s easy to reach from the city center, it’s usually crowded and the beach itself is not pretty. 

Since very close to this city are some of the best beaches in Colombia (like Barú or Rosario Islands), one of the smartest things to do in Cartagena is to rent a boat to visit them.

Barranquilla Colombia beaches

Barranquilla is one of the biggest and most well-known cities of Colombia. Although it sits on the coast of the Caribbean sea, the beaches of Barranquilla aren’t well worth the visit. 

However, stunning beaches in Colombia are never far away. For example, from Barranquilla Colombia beaches accessible include Playas de Salgar, Villa Alcatraz and Puerto Colombia. There you will be able to enjoy water sports like surfing, kitesurfing and windsurfing.