Caribbean Region of Colombia
The Caribbean region of Colombia, or Caribbean coast region, is in the north of Colombia and is mainly composed of eight Departments located contiguous to the Caribbean.The area covers a total land area of 132,288 km2, including the Island Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina in the Caribbean sea, and corresponding to approximately 1/10 of the total territory of Colombia. The Caribbean region of Colombia is home to approximately 9 million people according to the Colombian Census 2005.
The Caribbean region of Colombia extends from the Gulf of Urabá to the Gulf of Venezuela. Straddling the coast are Colombia’s two main Atlantic port cities of Barranquilla and Cartagena. The administration of the region is covered by eight department governments; Atlántico, Bolívar, Cesar, Sucre, Córdoba, Magdalena, La Guajira and San Andrés y Providencia. Most of its inhabitants speak a dialect of Caribbean Spanish with variations within its subregions.
Places to Go – Things to Do – The Caribbean Region of Colombia
The sea breeze and the sunset that transform the colors of 400-year-old houses enchant visitors in Cartagena. A World Heritage Site, this city was founded by Pedro de Heredia in 1533. The colonial architecture of its buildings is protected by the most complete set of fortifications in South America. Cartagena de Indias, one of the most popular destinations on the rise in the world.
The historic center enclosed by the walls of Cartagena is the soul of the city that inspired Gabriel García Márquez, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. In addition to taking in the history of centuries-old cobblestone streets, you can explore the Castle of San Felipe, experience the wonder of the city’s many churches, and even enjoy a leisurely swim in a nearby mud volcano.
Known for the 6.8 miles of walls built around it by the Spanish, Cartagena has a historic center that should be explored slowly and without a care in the world. A number of festivals devoted to film and classical music are held here. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, Cartagena is ideal for honeymoons, scuba diving, and cruises, among other activities.
The Caribbean sea and snow make Santa Marta a difficult place to forget. The city is located on the shores of the Bay of Santa Marta on the Caribbean Sea, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, whose peaks can be seen on clear days from the beach. The capital of the department of Magdalena, which was founded in 1525, is one of the oldest cities in South America.
Near the birthplace of Gabriel García Márquez, the father of magical realism, Santa Marta’s beach captivates with activities and culture, among other options. Here visitors always find something to do: diving, adventure sports and visiting beaches where the rainforest meets the sea; bird watching, a historic city tour and a visit the heart of the Tayrona culture.
The city, Simon Bolivar’s final resting place is the starting point for trips to several beaches and the archaeological remains of the Tayrona culture. Santa Marta, one of the first Spanish cities in America, offers unique sunshine and sunsets and unforgettable experiences like swimming with dolphins and reef snorkelling.
About 40 dive sites; beaches of soft white sand; blue sea but also green and lilac…The islands of San Andrés, Providence and Santa Catalina, in the southwestern Caribbean, greeting travelers from around the world in search of these perfect postcards to verify that in the breeze, coconuts and carefree smiles of its inhabitants lives the joy of Colombia.
In the islands, a Unesco Seaflower Biosphere Reserve, tourists are amazed with the colors of marine life; have fun with activities such as kite surfing, windsurfing and jet skiing; swimming in natural pools where waves have sculpted the rocks and taste dishes prepared with the best of Caribbean lobster, snapper, crab, snail and more.
Swimming with stingrays, snorkeling and diving coral reefs with a visibility of 30 meters are some plans that visitors who come to the islands of San Andrés, Providence and Santa Catalina most enjoy. Visitors can also relax with the simple rhythm of reggae, admire nature parks, walk on deserted beaches and enjoy the slow passage of time.
Riohacha, located alongside a desert and at the gateway to the Caribbean Sea, is a port of entry to La Guajira peninsula, the northernmost department of Colombia. This city, situated on the Ranchería River, was founded on August 6, 1545. Those who visit are also witness to the legacy of the indigenous Wayúu people, evident in their colorful blankets and knapsacks, among other handcrafted items.
Among the many possibilities for visitors to enjoy in Riohacha, the capital of the department of La Guajira, are visits to Wayúu settlements, the salt flats of Manaure, and the Taroa dunes at Punta Gallinas. Other attractions in this city include the Plaza de Padilla and the picturesque pier, where handcrafted items are available for purchase.
Encounter the indigenous Wayúu culture at their settlements. Relax on the beaches of Cabo de La Vela. Take in the sights and sounds of the nature reserves in the area. These are just some of the many enticing options that await travelers at Riohacha.