Or, what you need to know to fully enjoy the best scuba diving in Colombia
There’s just something about holidaying in Colombia that puts us in the mood to try something new and exciting.
Something that pushes you out of your comfort zone.
Something a bit risky.
No, we’re not talking about juggling fireballs.
We’re talking about scuba diving in Colombia.
Because regardless of your level of experience—whether you’re a seasoned diver or want to get your diving certification—scuba diving in Colombia will satisfy all your wants and needs.
What’s so unique about scuba diving in Colombia?
Nestled between Central and South America, Colombia is a country that has it all—quite literally.
Between fascinating Spanish-built churches, the unspoilt Amazon jungle and multi-cultural communities, there are heaps of tourist attractions that leave travellers spoilt for choice.
But the country’s mesmerizing wealth of colours doesn’t end in the bustling streets, the poetic Andean mountains, or at the bottom of a freshly brewed coffee.
If you dip your head beneath the sea’s surface,
You will see that there’s a whole new world to explore; a world where colourful fish are the main inhabitants and coral reefs are the skyscrapers of the sea.
And given the fact that Colombia has the third largest barrier reef in the world (after Australia and Belize), it’s amazing that scuba diving in Colombia has stayed under the radar for so long.
But with travellers always on the lookout for genuine travel experiences, scuba diving in Colombia is topping many diving buckets lists.
And in this article we’re going to explain why.
The dive sites are a diving playground for all
On one side (the Caribbean side), the warm, tropical waters offer the perfect conditions for newbies to learn to scuba dive. The water is clear, and the seabed is plastered with colourful coral reefs home to more fish than you can count.
On the other side (the Pacific side), adventurous divers will enjoy drift dives and deep dives. Diving enthusiasts will be rewarded with sightings of sea creatures from the deep-blue like sharks, tunas and whale sharks.
It’s not expensive
Unlike other (hyped) scuba diving spots in the Caribbean with dive shops on every street, Colombia still has a natural, quaint atmosphere that’s reflected in its uncrowded dive sites.
Consequently, the scuba diving prices are fair—almost cheap by most standards. So if you want to spend as much time as possible underwater exploring some of the best dive sites without having to get a second mortgage, Colombia is the place to be.
Ok, but where is the best scuba diving in Colombia?
The best scuba diving in Colombia, the kind that you don’t want to miss, takes place here:
- Providencia Island
A little-visited Island in the Caribbean Sea, Providencia is arguably the best dive spot in Colombia with magnificent dive sites that will impress even the most well-travelled divers.
The UNESCO protected marine park has over 40 dive sites and if you want a break from exploring the beautiful coral formations (as if!), there are plenty of spectacular wall dives, caves and wrecks to keep you busy.
By contrast, Taganga is the most popular dive spot in Colombia.
The reason being that it’s easy to get to, inexpensive, and the dive sites are perfect for beginners.
There’s plenty to see as well, with lots of marine life hiding around healthy coral reefs.
Taganga national park is closed in February. There are still dive sites you can explore, but you can’t visit those within the park’s boundary.
Getting to Taganga is easy. Check out your options here.
3. Malpelo Island
Malpelo is a tiny island in the Pacific offering a once-in-a-lifetime diving experience for advanced divers. As a truly world-class dive site, Malpelo is the highlight of Colombia’s diving scene. Here, you can see an impressive number of hammerheads and silky sharks, whale sharks, mantas and swarms of fish.
Another advantage for Malpelo divers is provided by the Colombian government, not nature.
Access to Malpelo is, in fact, limited. As of writing this article, only five liveaboards are permitted to go to the island and only one boat with a max of 16 divers is allowed per day. The presence of a small Colombian marine outpost and the very short wide-open shoreline of the island help keep away the poachers.
4. Gorgona Island
Gorgona Island, about 30km off the Colombian coast, went from being a prison island, known as the Alcatraz of Latin America, to a Colombian diving hotspot on the Pacific coast.
Divers will enjoy a spectacle of colours in the most developed and diverse coral bank in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean.
You can see whale sharks, dolphins, sea lions and many, many other sea animals.
Ideally, however, you want to visit Gorgona between July and October when you can spend your surface interval watching humpback whales breaching the surface during their breeding season.
When is the best time to dive in Colombia?
Thanks to Colombia’s geographic location, you can find a place to dive with warm water temperatures (26°C/79°F) and good visibility all year round.
But to see Colombia’s dive sites at their best, visit the Pacific side between January and March or in August.
If you want to explore the Caribbean coast, plan your diving trip to Colombia between April and November.
Colombia really is a dream destination where you can enjoy some of the most sought-after marine encounters in the world.
Are you ready to take the plunge?
For more diving and travel tips and advice, get in touch with Elena Vivaldo. She’s your round-the-world traveller, scuba diving instructor and copywriter.