Colombia: the top five Caribbean beaches

The beaches that line the stretch of Colombia’s Caribbean coast epitomize the stereotype of a paradise beach: white sand, warm transparent water, and coconut-filled palm trees. With some difficulty, VIVA picked its top five Caribbean beaches from the new Colombia Adventure Guide. Here they are, in no particular order:

Cabo de la Vela sits on the Guajira Penisula, on the most northwestern point of the Carribean coast. Here you will find a small fishing hamlet and a deserted stretch of beach-and very little else; tourists are rare here. If you get bored of swinging in a hammock, explore the natural pools, blow holes, and nearby lagoons frequented by flamingos.

“Tayrona,” by Steve Monty

The ocean at Coveñas is the warmest you will find in all of South America. Combined with the hot tropical sun, it feels more like a Jacuzzi. Several pleasant days can be spent without noticing here, as time somehow slips its way through your fingers. Colombians mob the beach on the weekends, while the weekdays often see empty sand and sea.

Palomino is a little Colombian secret, one that few foreigners have heard about. Here you can comb these amber sands for shells or observe birds in the rivers’ mangroves. On clear mornings, the snowy peaks of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta backdrop the palm trees, and sea turtles nest in season.

Accessible only by a 30-minute boat ride from Cartagena, Playa Blanca is a popular half-day destination half-day trip for Colombian tourists, but rarely do people take advantage of the few basic cabins-or handy spots to sling a hammock or set up a tent-to stay longer than just an afternoon. If you do, you won’t be disappointed: the day-trippers tend to keep to one area, meaning you’ll have much of the unspoilt (there’s no electricity here) palm-shaded, white-sand beach to yourself.

“Playa Blanca-Cartagena-Colombia,” by mallox

The pristine, jungle-fringed beaches of Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona are said to be the most beautiful in Colombia. Most visitors head to the beaches closest to Santa Marta-Cañaveral and Arrecifes-but head west and you will be rewarded with the quiet, remote beaches of Bahía Conchaand Playa Brava, where you can scuba dive in the coral reefs.

“Parque Tayrona, Colombia,” by szeke

The Colombia Adventure Guide is available in a variety of e-book applications directly from VIVA, as well as in print format from and Barnes & Noble.

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