Main Claire's Itchy Feet logo

Scuba Diving in Colombia: Scuba Diving Cartagena and Other Spots

Colombia may not be at the top of your list if you are looking for your next scuba diving holiday. Hopefully, this post will prove that scuba diving Colombia is a can’t-miss experience. Not only is Colombia one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but it also has incredible scuba diving sites.

Colombia truly has it all! It’s one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, and its underwater world is no different. Let’s “dive” into this Colombia scuba diving guide, which includes recommendations to try scuba diving Cartagena, San Andres, and other spots.

Need a Colombia backpacking itinerary? Click here to read mine.

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 

Best Colombia ToursClick here to check out the top Colombia tours
Best Colombia Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Colombia
Best Colombia Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Colombia

When is the Best Time for Scuba Diving in Colombia?

Scuba Diving in Colombia

There isn’t a wrong time to visit Colombia, as the water temperature stays at an average of 26°C/79°F year-round. However, each area has different seasons when you are more likely to see things like humpback whales. In general, water visibility is at its best during January-March and June-August. Plan your Colombia scuba diving trip around these times, if possible.

Where Are the Best Areas for Diving in Colombia?

Colombia has two main coastal areas: the Pacific and Caribbean Coasts. Both have diving suitable for all levels and can’t-miss snorkeling spots. Because there are many easy Colombia scuba diving locations, it’s a great place to qualify as a scuba diver if you aren’t yet certified.

Safety in Colombia

Having spent a lot of time in Colombia, it is really one of my favorite countries in the world. I urge anyone on the fence about visiting Colombia to do it. A holiday in Colombia is always a magical experience. Yes, Colombia does have a murky past, and I know that puts many people off, but as a woman who traveled there alone more than once, I can recommend it with total confidence.

If you are hesitant, there are plenty of companies, like Original Travels, with whom you can book a diving holiday in Colombia. As it’s all organized for you, you can rest assured that you will have a fantastic vacation experience. All of their trips are tailor-made, so no matter your skill level, they can work with you to custom-make a Colombia diving and sightseeing tour that meets all of your needs.

It’s time to get down to the best sites for scuba diving in Colombia!

Need Transportation in Colombia?

I highly recommend booking Colombia transportation with GottoGo. You can search for buses, shuttles, ferries, and flights on their website—I love their customer service. I know them personally from my time living in Guatemala, and they genuinely care for their customers. If a delay occurs and you miss your bus, call them for help.

If you book through GottoGo, you will pay more than at the bus station, but it’s worth it for the ease and security. Click here to search for transportation in Colombia.

Scuba Diving Colombia Highlights

Claire Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving San Andres

For serious divers who also love small Caribbean islands (I mean, really, who doesn’t?), the number one place to dive in Colombia has to be San Andres. You must take a flight from the mainland to get there.

UNESCO protects San Andres’s diving sites as a biosphere area. In the crystal-clear, calm waters, you can find up to 270 species of fish and 85 different species of coral! San Andres is the perfect spot for a relaxing vacation with scuba adventures.

Quick Tip: View my full Colombia packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Colombia Essentials shopping list here.

Scuba Diving Colombia | Dive Spots You Can't Miss

Scuba Diving San Bernardo

San Bernado is a cluster of 10 Caribbean islands. Over 215 different varieties of fish feed on its seagrass beds, making it a hotspot for fish lovers.

In my opinion, has the best scuba diving in Colombia, but it’s not easy to get to. You must first fly to San Andres, and then you need to take a second flight to the island or hop on a two-hour catamaran ride. Either way, it’s worth the extra effort!

So, what makes Providencia such an excellent place to go diving in Colombia? It’s home to the world’s third-largest barrier reef (behind the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Mayan Great Reef in Mexico). There are over 40 dive sites in this UNESCO-protected area, which feature enormous walls, blue holes, caves, and even some wrecks (sunken pirate ships, no less).

Providence has plentiful sea life. If you are lucky, you can see four different species of shark in this area.

Scuba Diving Cartagena

Scuba Diving Colombia | Dive Spots You Can't Miss

There isn’t much decent Cartagena scuba diving. However, as most people on vacation want recommendations for Cartagena diving spots, I tried to include the best places accessible from Cartagena.

The closest scuba diving Cartagena place is Islas Rosarios—it’s a short boat ride, and there are some excellent dives where you can see aquatic plant life. If you have more time, I suggest taking a scuba diving Cartagena trip to Taganga instead. Keep reading for all the inside info!

Taganga is one of the most popular places for scuba diving in Colombia. This is mainly because it’s easy to reach from Cartagena, cheap, and perfect for new divers. This is why many people choose to get their scuba diving certification in Taganga. Taganga diving highlights include colorful angelfish, surgeonfish, butterflyfish, and scorpionfish.

Now, it’s not the most exciting dive destination—it may not be the best scuba diving Colombia site if you are an advanced diver. For new divers, it’s colorful and has lots of marine life, and diving there is easy. Regarding places to learn to scuba dive, it’s up there with Koh Tao in Thailand and Utila in Honduras for price and experience.

Plus, Taganga is a great spot to chill for a few days. A party is always happening, and it’s a very chilled-out little Caribbean fishing village. Its proximity to Santa Marta makes it a great stopping point along the route to Parque Tayrona.

Quick Tip: View my full Scuba Dive Equipment List here. And check out my Scuba Diving Essentials shopping list here.

Scuba Diving Gorgona Island

Scuba Diving Colombia | Dive Spots You Can't Miss

Gorgona Island is another top scuba diving Colombia spot on the Pacific Coast. Although you can’t stay on the island, it’s easily accessible by boat from Buenaventura or Guapi. There are many excellent dive spots in the area for all experience levels.

Most people aim to visit between July and October, as it is a breeding ground for humpback whales. One of the best ways to make the most of your visit to Gorgona Island is to come during the whale season and do a liveaboard. That way, you can mix things up and do some whale-watching during your surface time!

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

is an incredible place for Colombia scuba diving thanks to its ocean life, steep wall dives, and impressive caves. Even the UN named it one of the top dive destinations in the world. However, it’s completely inaccessible unless you are on a dive boat—if there was ever a reason to book a dive boat, this is it.

Malpelo is a rocky formation in the Pacific Ocean off the Colombian Coast that can only be reached by boat. Because of the strict rules in Colombia around tourists, you can’t come here even if you have a bot. You must take an organized trip to visit Malpelo. Trust me: it’s worth the money, especially if you are a shark lover.

One word… hammerheads. There have been reports of divers seeing large schools of sharks out here—up to 500 sharks in one place! If that’s not enough to get you here, how about whales? Yep, there is also a chance of diving with whales here. There is a high chance of you spotting whale sharks around here. It is a dream dive destination; you might even get lucky to see the rare sand-tooth tiger shark!

Quick Tip: View my full Scuba Dive Equipment List here. And check out my Scuba Diving Essentials shopping list here.

Colombia Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Colombia?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Colombia which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Colombia on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Colombia?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Colombia?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

Scuba Diving Colombia: Final Thoughts

There are many incredible spots for scuba diving in Colombia. From Providencia to Cartagena diving, you’ll have a fun and unique experience scuba diving Colombia. Hopefully, this guide will convince you to plan a scuba diving Cartagena, San Andres, or Taganga trip!

Scuba Diving Colombia | Dive Spots You Can't Miss

Jack Sparrow

Sunday 2nd of October 2022

I just returned from a 4 night dive trip on Gorgona Island. There are rooms available on the island. I booked through Destino Pacifico. It was a package that includes all the dives, food and room. The diving was spectacular as were the whales