Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit the Caribbean region of Colombia

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The Caribbean region is perhaps the most visited region in Colombia, insofar as Cartagena is the most visited city in Colombia… CQFD. There are even tourists who come to Colombia only to stay on the Caribbean coast, or in Cartagena.

Visit the Caribbean region of Colombia

Caribbean Travel Guide

  • Area: 13% of the total territory (132,288 km²)
  • Population: 11 million
  • Indigenous population: 600,000 divided into 10 ethnic groups
  • Departments: Antioquia, Atlantico, Bolivar, Cesar, Choco, Cordoba, Guajira, Magdalena, Sucre
  • Main cities: Barranquilla, Cartagena, Monteria, Riohacha, Santa Marta, Sincelejo, Valledupar
  • General climate: dry tropical
  • Average altitude: 200 m
  • Highest point: Nevado Colon (5775 m)
  • Average temperature: 30°C

Caribbean General information

Caribbean coast Travel Guide

Colombia’s Caribbean region is located in the north of the country and, as its name suggests, is bordered along its entire length by the Caribbean Sea.

While Barranquilla is the economic lungs of the Caribbean coast, Cartagena and Santa Marta are clearly the showcases of Colombian tourism.

This is the hottest region in Colombia, where fishing and livestock farming are the main activities. In the traveler’s imagination, the Caribbean coast is all about the beach. Yet the region has much more to offer, with two totally incredible ecosystems: the Guajira and its arid desert, and the Sierra Nevada de Santa, home to Colombia’s highest peaks!

On the Caribbean coast, everything is slower, the music is tastier, the sea is gentler, you can relax and enjoy a culture that’s very different from the rest of the country.

All our posts about the Caribbean region of Colombia

Caribbean coast Travel Guide

Here’s our collection of posts, each more interesting than the last, with experiences, tips and practical information on not-to-be-missed visits to Colombia’s fabulous Caribbean region.

Most visited destinations of the Caribbean coast

Caribbean region Travel Guide

There’s no shortage of must-sees in this region of Colombia: Cartagena, for a start, is a pearl of colonial architecture on the South American continent. With its colors and history, it’s a must-see, and despite the tourist crowds, it never left us indifferent.

A little further east, Santa Marta is the ideal meeting point for visiting the Caribbean region’s second most famous landmark: Tayrona Park. A sacred land of the Sierra Nevada natives, Tayrona Park is a protected area that can be visited for a fee. The program includes jungle trekking and heavenly beaches.

Last but not least, there’s Colombia’s most famous trek, the Lost City trek! A 4-day adventure along the trails of the Sierra Nevada to the ruins of an ancient sacred city of the Tayronas indigenous people.

Caribbean coast off the beaten path

Caribbean region Travel Guide

It would be a shame to limit the Colombian Caribbean to these two tourist hotspots. In fact, the region holds many treasures, from the Guajira desert and the Wayuu culture in the east, to Necocli, Capurgana and the Guna Dule culture in the far west on the Gulf of Uraba.

And don’t miss the village of Mompox, with its colonial houses clinging to the Magdalena River, Colombia’s longest river Also the villages of San Jacinto and Palenque de San Basilio, lost villages but historical strongholds of Afro-Colombian music.

And then there’s Barranquilla, the regional capital, which is of far less architectural interest than Cartagena, but which becomes a must-see destination when February arrives and its carnival, one of the biggest and most important in the world!

I could also tell you about Buritaca, Palomino, Minca, Rincon del mar, Cienaga, San Jacinto, Puerto Escondido, and so many other villages which, either for their historical or natural interest, offer varied experiences off the beaten track.

To continue your discovery of the Caribbean region, it’s best to browse through our various posts, where you’ll find all the information you need for your trip to Colombia.