The 7 best scuba diving spots in Colombia travel guide

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Diving in Colombia is one of the most extraordinary natural activities there is! Having tried it on several occasions, we can tell you that the experience is unique and one you’ll remember for the rest of your life… in this post we give you the best diving spots in Colombia!

And what can I say… there’s plenty to enjoy! With 3.000 km of coastline, there are plenty of scuba diving spots in Colombia! Between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, you’ll have to make a choice, or do both! In the meantime, we’ll take you on a tour of the most famous scuba diving spots in Colombia.

Disclaimer: we apologize in advance for any grammatical or syntactic errors, as our native language is not English (we're a Colombian-French couple), so we hope you'll forgive us and still enjoy the information we share with you! Please note that all the information on our blog is based on our own experience, and is checked and updated regularly.

Santa Marta, Taganga

The best diving spots in Colombia

The 7 best scuba diving spots in Colombia travel guide

There are dozens of scuba diving centers in Santa Marta and Taganga, and it’s a bit of a mess! Beware of unpleasant surprises. We’ll take you diving along the rocky coast of Parque Tayrona.

I’ve been scuba diving in Santa Marta twice, and unfortunately the two experiences weren’t the same. The first in 2013 went rather well, but the second was a disaster with irresponsible diving instructors.

In the waters of Tayrona Park, you can observe the flora and fauna typical of the Caribbean Sea. The cold currents coming down from the Guajira and the heavy waters coming down from the Sierra Nevada mountains allow the development of interesting flora and fauna.

Beware of the high season from December to March , when the sea is very rough and diving conditions can be particularly complicated.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION ABOUT DIVING IN SANTA MARTA

  • Best season: All year round – Between December and April for visibility – Between April and December for calm seas.
  • Level required for diving in Santa Marta: beginners to experienced divers
  • Water temperature: 21 °C from December to April – 26 °C from April to December

Islas del Rosario, Cartagena

The best dive sites in Colombia

The 7 best scuba diving spots in Colombia travel guide

If there’s an ideal spot to start scuba diving, it’s Cartagena and the Islas del Rosario. The conditions are perfect for learning to scuba dive in complete tranquillity, in calm, warm, crystal-clear waters. The shallow depths add to the feeling of safety when you’re just starting out, which doesn’t prevent you from admiring numerous species of aquatic flora and fauna.

During a dive in the Rosario Islands, you can also play explorer and discover the ruins of walls dating back to colonial times, or the wrecks of old boats!

PRACTICAL INFO DIVING IN CARTAGENA

  • Best season : All year round
  • Levels required for diving in Cartagena: beginners to advanced
  • Water temperature: 27°C year-round

Capurgana and Sapzurro

where to dive in Colombia

The 7 best scuba diving spots in Colombia travel guide

Thanks to its protected geographical location, Capurgana is one of the best-preserved coral reefs on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The rocky islets and numerous reefs are just some of the reasons why the marine fauna is so rich and numerous. The surrounding area offers a wealth of diving opportunities, and there are dozens of dive spots.

Capurgana now boasts several diving centers. For my part, I dived for the first time in my life right across the beach from the emblematic islet of Capurgana, and I still have excellent memories of it! Delicious water and great visibility. On this subject, however, you need to be a little careful with the seasons, as between December and February the sea can be a little rough and visibility degraded.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION ABOUT DIVING IN CAPURGANA AND SAPZURRO

  • Best season : All year round – Between May and November for best visibility and calm seas
  • Levels required for diving at Capurgana: beginners to experienced divers
  • Water temperature: 28°C year-round

San Andres y Providencia

The best places to dive in Colombia

The 7 best scuba diving spots in Colombia travel guide
credit: raimundo hamilton

Special mention must go to San Andres and Providencia, among theworld’s most famous diving spots.

San Andres is famous for its “Blue Wall”, an immense wall that descends into the depths, dotted with galleries and faults that can be explored. The wall is home to a wide variety of corals and sharks. Other spots such as “Piramides” are also renowned for stingray watching.

But Providencia, as with the terrestrial part of the island, is the spot we would recommend to amateurs. It is home to the 3rd largest coral reef in the world, measuring no less than 33 km in length! What’s more, the reef is much better preserved than at San Andres, where mass tourism and pollution are wreaking havoc on the seabed.

The seabed in San Andres, Providencia and the surrounding area was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2000, and several varieties of shark and sea turtle can be observed here.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION ABOUT DIVING IN SAN ANDRES AND PROVIDENCIA

  • Best season: Year-round – Between February and May for turtle season
  • Levels required for diving at San Andres y Providencia: beginners to advanced
  • Water temperature: 28°C year-round

Nuqui and Bahia Solano

Scuba diving on Colombia’s Pacific coast

The 7 best scuba diving spots in Colombia travel guide

The Pacific coast of Choco was our favorite destination of our 2018 trip… the region between Nuqui and Bahia Solano is incredible, wild and sublime, and nature is exuberant beyond description. We were there during whale season, and it was a sight to behold! But if we’d been lucky enough to be able to dive during this period, it would surely have been even more unforgettable. Imagining swimming amongst the whales is a thrill in every sense of the word!

The calm waters of the Gulf of Tribuga are ideal for humpback whales, but not only! The region is a marine biodiversity hotspot where many species stop off during their migration. Humpback whales, turtles and even sardines can be spotted here all year round!

Have you ever seen those images of thousands of sardines drawing sublime moving balls? Well, this is where you can admire this unique spectacle during the migration season. And the sardines don’t come alone, attracting numerous predators such as sharks, manta rays, tuna, marlins, dolphins, etc., etc., etc.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION ABOUT DIVING IN NUQUI AND BAHIA SOLANO

  • Best season : All year round – January and February for visibility, March and April for whale sharks, May for sardines, June to October for whales
  • Levels required for diving in Nuqui, Bahia Solano, Choco: beginners to advanced
  • Water temperature: between 20°C and 27°C depending on the season

Isla Gorgona

The best scuba diving spots in Colombia

The 7 best scuba diving spots in Colombia travel guide

Isla Gorgona is one of only two Pacific islands belonging to Colombia (along with Malpelo Island). Located in the south, off the coast of the small village of Timbiqui, it was a prison island for 20 years! But if Isla Gorgona has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s not for its penitentiary… it’s for its rich biodiversity.

While the diversity of animals and plants on the island’s surface is impressive, Isla Gorgona is world-famous for its exuberant underwater landscapes. The coral and rocky reefs are perfect refuges for a wide variety of species. Diving at Isla Gorgona means spectacular encounters: humpback whales, manta rays, turtles, sharks and huge schools of fish. You can also see an old sunken boat, home to dozens of species of fish of different sizes and colors.

PRACTICAL INFO DIVING AT ISLA GORGONA

  • Best season: All year round – January and February for visibility, March and April for whale sharks, May for sardines, June to October for whales
  • Level required for diving at Gorgona: beginners to advanced
  • Water temperature : between 20°C and 27°C depending on the season

Malpelo Island

UNESCO-listed diving site

The 7 best scuba diving spots in Colombia travel guide

Located several hundred kilometers off the coast of Colombia.Malpelo Island is just an uninteresting rock lost in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Yet it’s perhaps one of the best diving spots in the world! This marine sanctuary of over 800.000 hectares has been declared a World Heritage Site, and its entire surface area has been closed to fishing. This is one of the reasons why so many endangered species have found refuge here.

Malpelo is particularly renowned for its abundant aquatic population. While many different species can be seen in most Colombian Pacific spots, the difference here is that they come in shoals, hundreds and thousands of them! Malpelo is particularly renowned for its impressive shark population. Each dive is an opportunity to swim surrounded by several hundred sharks, including the famous hammerheads, silky sharks, bull sharks and one of the last places in the world where you can encounter the fierce odontospide, a deepwater shark. You can also see the immense whale shark, tursiops dolphins, giant groupers and sailfish. Barracudas, tunas, kingfish, amberjacks and jacks move about in large schools… well, you get the idea.

Malpelo is best visited on a liveaboard expedition, and unfortunately for novice divers, the site is reserved exclusively for experienced divers!

PRACTICAL INFORMATION ABOUT DIVING IN MALPELO

  • Best season: Year-round – January to May for hammerheads, May to July for silky sharks, July to September for whale sharks.
  • Level required to dive at Malpelo: experienced (50 dives)
  • Water temperature : between 15°C and 30°C depending on the season

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Authors

Angélica & Samuel

We are Angélica and Samuel, a French-Colombian couple, professional photographers and web editors specializing in travel to Colombia. We created this blog to change the image of the country, help you prepare your trip and inspire you to discover Colombia in a different way!

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