Semana Santa is almost upon us. Colombians and expats resident in Bogota will have already been plotting their escape from the capital city. As the first significant holiday in the calendar most Bogotanos will be yearning for a beach vacation, something as far removed from the drizzle of their city. Here we list a few options and ideas for the visitor.
These islands, closer to Nicaragua than to Colombia, are but a short flight from the mainland. San Andres is the package tourism destination of choice for Colombians from all over the country and has a vast amount of all-inclusive hotels lining white strips of idyllic beaches. If you are looking for that romantic getaway and a little more seclusion, then head to Providencia where the vibe measure clocks in at anywhere between laid back and positively horizontal!
As the eternal city of Colombian tourism, Cartagena possesses the infrastructure to cater for the masses within its charming colonial center. You can take your pick from elegant spa type boutique hotels in the Ciudad Vieja, resorts out on Bocagrande and in the La Boquilla and of course pristine beaches like those on the Islas del Rosario or Playa Grande.
Fly into Santa Marta the capital of the department of Magdalena and you have a wealth of options open to you. High quality Caribbean beaches abound about the city or you can choose to head 15 minutes along the coast to Taganga. Once a small village populated by humble fishermen, Taganga has become the backpacker destination of choice in the region for cheap PADI deals, affordable accommodation and decent nightlife. However, if you are looking to get back to nature then head further along the coast to mouthwateringly beautiful Tayrona National Park.
For the more intrepid, a trip to the Guajira is to strike out like a pioneer into a land of arid desert, peculiar landscapes and indigenous practice. Here you couldn’t be further away from your creature comforts in Bogota! Accommodation will be in Wayuu Rancherias and water is scarce. More sedate but still within the department of La Guajira is the up and coming beach destination of Palomino. Expect rustic cabanas on the beach, plentiful sea food and pure relaxation.
The preferred beach destination for the people from Medellin, the towns of Tolu and Covenas are not much to look at but cater precisely to their target audience. Here, like a Briton visiting the South of Spain, you can find paisas or residents of Medellin chowing down on traditional food from their region, watching the ubiquitous soccer game and bathing in the ocean. Venture a little further away and you’ll find beautiful beaches.
Right up on the border close to Panama and the famed Darien Gap are two towns that are set to boom in future years so make your trip now before this happens. Costa Rica has rightly bagged the term “pura vida” but this is exactly what you find here in the Caribbean Choco region. Here the jungles tumble into an ocean teeming with fish. Tropical birds swoop overhead and the atmosphere will make you want to give up the rat race altogether and opt out.
Accessible only by air (or by boat from the coastal towns of Buenaventura and Tumaco), a flight out into Colombia’s Choco region is never quickly forgotten. Head to Bahia Solano, Valle or Nuqui and you will find wondrous eco-lodges catering to the adventurous soul. Whales breaching can be viewed from the shore near to Bahia Solano, the break at Nuqui has made it a premier surf destination and the Utria National Park near to Valle is not to be missed.
I dare you to stay in Bogota!