When most people think beach destination in South America the first country that comes to mind is Brazil, with Ipanema and Copacabana it's no wonder that this country ranks among the best in the world for beach holidays.
But with a world-class reputation comes the crowds and if you are looking for a vacation where you can rest and relax you may want to consider another South American country with a warm climate and great atmosphere.
Cartagena is the base for most of these beaches. It's just a short plane ride from Bogota and is a great city to spend a couple days before moving onto the perfect beach holiday, with white sandy beaches, hot weather and friendly population, you can't go wrong with one of these great Colombian beaches.
What many people do not know is that Colombia also owns islands in the Caribbean. You will find this tiny island with only 5000 inhabitants tucked in between Costa Rica and Jamaica but it is still part of Colombia. This is a unique atmosphere as many travelers are unaware of this island and it has a unique culture. Here people speak Creole and English and it has a fantastic Caribbean reef perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Tayrona National Park
Staying on the Caribbean coastline, this National Park is located just outside Santa Marta and boasts a stunning beach with a beautiful rainforest as its backdrop. There are several beaches in the park connected by hiking trails, there are also plenty of fisherman and water taxis willing to take those who prefer a chauffeur to the best beaches.
There are strong rip tides so swimming far is not advised as it can be quite dangerous. There are a number of camps set up in the park where you can tent or rent hammocks for the night if you want to stay a few days.
San Andres Island
Like Providencia Island, San Andres is in the Caribbean but it has a higher profile as it is known for its beautiful white sandy beaches and has become very popular with travelers in Colombia as the flight is less than two hours.
Only 125 miles from Nicaragua, there is a bit more nightife here and much more English spoken to accommodate the tourists. Many big hotel chains are located here and you can often get all-inclusive packages. If you want a more independent approach there are also many apartments to rent. No matter what your preference for accommodation, if you want to relax during the day, eat fantastic food for dinner and spend the night dancing, this is a great place to visit.
Named after its white beach, there are many beaches located near the city of Cartagena but none as clean and beautiful as this one. In fact many consider the stretch of 2.2 mile powdery sands to be the best in the entire country with its crystal clear water. You'll need to take a ferry to reach the beach and it can be quite slow but makes for a nice few days. There are many options from hostels to hotels to hammocks in the sun.
If you want to head out for a day trip or several days make sure you arrive for the 9am ferry or you may get stuck waiting around. And regardless of what anyone tells you, make sure you get a return ticket as many travelers are told they can just pay the captain directly when the want to return only to find out that this does not secure them a spot and they need to pay more.