One Country & two oceans: Surfing in Colombia
PART 2: SURFING
I was surfing in both oceans. In general, the waves on the Pacific coast were harder to reach (because of the more isolated location), but had better quality. The waves here were more consistant, larger, had more power and the cherry on top: There was a very small possibility surfers could steal your wave. In both oceans, I didn’t need a wetsuit.
In general, I saw more water sports like water skiing, jet skiing, stand-up paddling, kite-surfing, sailing and snorkeling in the Caribbean Ocean passing by because it was more touristic and accessable. The two types of ocean gave me a totally different experience.
Surf spots I enjoyed in the Pacific Ocean were the beaches of Guachalito, which was one hour by boat from Nuquí. There was board rental availble in some eco-lodges. There was a much more stunning surfspot (one hour by boat) at Cabo Corrriente (Pico de l`oro) but because of high gasoline prices it was really expensive to get there. The coast per boat was 500.000 cop. The best way to go there is when you can collect a couple of surfers so you split the cost.
The beaches of El Valle, only 30 minutes by bus from Bahia Solano were awesome too! Here there was board rental and you could take lessons organized by the hostel. Surfing spots in El Valle are Playa Aljemal, la Bocana (Rio) close to Playa Aljemal, Playa de la Cuevita (9 km from the villlage) and Playa de los Deseos. This idylic playground and the empty beaches made the whole picture very surrealistic and still many waves are still undiscovered.
The Colombian surf destinations in the Caribbean Sea in Puerto Colombia, aprox. 20 minutes from Barranquilla, were I have been surfing disappointed me sometimes because of the weak and inconsistant surf, nevertheless I had fun and did some exercise.
Catching a wave with a long board wasn’t that hard, but I had a short board (size 6.6.) L. The most famous surfspot is El Bolsillo in Pradomar – Puerto Colombia, at the beach of a trendy beachclub Cilimanjaro and busy visited on the weekends. Here there is a right breaking wave. Another place in Puerto Colombia, Punta Roca, is interesting too where you have both , lefts and rights. Punta Roca was one of the less touristic spots, and most of the time nobody around. Unfortunately the beach here was full of garbage. Board rental was only possible at the beachclub in Pradomar. With a strong north-east wind you can go surfing at the ’Muelle’ (Pier, 2 minutes walk from the ’Plaza’) and Alcatraz which is located at the beach of Salgar.
An more unknown island is Isla Fuerte; here there was a surf spot only accessable by boat or 20 minutes paddling, a perfect lefthand reefbreak. Be aware: Here was no board rental availble. There are more populair and better surfspots in Santa Marta, aprox. 10 minutes (at ± km 38) after passing the main entrance of the Tayrona Park (from Santa Marta city = 1 hour). Prices are 20.000 cop half day, 30.000 cop full day rental. Class is 25.000 cop half day (= 2-3 hours).
The south of the island San Andres offers the best waves between December and January. It´s also possible to catch some waves in hurricane season from June till September. The international surfcompetition is always taking place here in January.
When you are lucky you can go surfing in Cartagena too, in the part Bocagrande between the jetties. With the taxi only 10 minutes from the historic center (taxi = 5.000 cop). In general this is a better place for wind- and kitesurfing. Boardrental is possible here. Prices see at the picture.
I admit that Colombia might not be THE surf destination but the combination with the unique flora & fauna and the 1001 other sports and things you can do is great isn’t it!?
Santa Marta – Palomino = Busticket 8.000 cop/pp (2 hrs). Take the bus @ calle 11 Mercado.
Bahia Solano – El Valle = Busticket 10.000 cop/pp (30 min). Take the bus @ the airport.
How to get to Isla Fuerte? When you come by plane to Montería, travel by road to Lorica, then to San Bernardo Del Viento (75 min). In Paso Nuevo you take a boat to Isla Fuerte (price = 10.000 cop/pp, 25 min). Price can be more or less expensive depending on how many people you are. I was with 4 other friends.
1: Surfboards? Surfschool @ Beach in Bocagrande. Long boards are for sale from 1.200.000 cop.
2: Flying to the Pacific? With ‚ADA airlines’ taking a surfboard is free. Best book a ticket directly in a shop because the website does not always work well. You can travel with the boat from Buenaventura (6 hrs) but my advice is: Go with the plane, the sea can be very wild and then the trip is horrible.
3: The cost of shipping a surf board from Peru to Colombia cost ± 75-100 USD depending on the airline.
4: You are looking for a place to stay in these destinations? Check it out here!