Why dive in Colombia?
Colombia is one of the world's most biodiverse countries, and what is easy to spot on top of the surface is hiding to be discovered underneath it. Whether you are an experienced diver or just want to give diving a try, Colombia's underwater world has something to offer everybody with every level of diving experience.
It is hard to compete with the colorful underwater world of the world's top destinations like South East Asia, the Great Barrier Reef, or Egypt and the Red Sea. But with the combination of the kindness and the energy of Colombian people, Colombia certainly wins over your heart and leaves the divers very content and satisfied.
Being the only country in South America with a coast in both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean sea, Colombia offers a huge diving diversity. From the challenging conditions in the Pacific ocean side for already more experienced divers to a more calm Caribbean seaside, ideal for newbies that would like to try diving, learn to dive, and improve their diving technic.
Diving spots in Colombia
The most remote and unique dive site. Malpelo Island is a real underwater treasure of Colombia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, 500 kilometers from the Colombian mainland, it can only be reached by boat, a 35-hour ride in a liveboard from the port of Buenaventura (Buenaventura is easily reached by plane from Cali). This long and difficult journey is definitely worth the time and money. Malpelo is the shark diving capital of the world. Divers can easily spot hundreds of hammerhead, whale, or silky sharks circling around the island. As it is a very remote location with strong currents it is only recommended for advanced divers.
Malpelo Island has been protected as a wildlife sanctuary since 1995 and identified as a particularly sensitive sea area by the International Maritime Organization in 2002. The island was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.
Another dive spot in the Colombian Pacific region. Gorgona is an uninhabited island, a nature reserve, formerly used as a prison. It is now mostly visited by divers for whale-watching as it is a breeding area for humpback whales. The best time to visit Gorgona and experience the extraordinary diving with the sounds of the whales around you and if you're lucky enough even spotting one is between July and October. You can take a liveaboard dive boat or ferry from Buenaventura or a high-speed boat from Guapi and stay overnight.
Providencia is the home of the third-largest coral reef in the world. Even though it doesn't look like it on the map, the island belongs to Colombia. It is located in the Caribbean sea, and in this case, a 'Sea of Seven Colors', named for its multiple shades of turquoise and blue. Thanks to its calm, crystal clear, and warm waters it is an ideal place for beginner divers to practice their new diving skills and for the experienced divers to explore more than 40 dive sites. The seas around Providencia have been declared a UNESCO-protected area. You can experience diving with sharks, in caves, blue holes, and even sunken pirate ships. You can easily get to Providencia by plane from San Andres.
Capurgana and Sapzurro
Located close to the Panama border near the Darien Gap, it is one of the less accessible dive sites and therefore well preserved with a stunning coral reef and with a possibility to make a dive trip to the beautiful San Blas Island. The best time to come dive is between May and October.
Santa Marta - Taganga
Taganga is a traditional fishing village, a district of Santa Marta with a hippie vibe and a dive center on every corner. It's almost like you cannot come to Santa Marta and not dive. It is the dive capital and the most loved place to go scuba diving in Colombia, as it provides a perfect combination of easy access, a beautiful underwater world, and a good price. Plus you get a unique experience of looking at the world’s highest coastal mountain range right from the dive boat.
The majority of the dive sites are located around Isla Aguja in the Tayrona National Natural Park. You can experience calm shallow dives at 12 meters depth, adrenaline deep dives to 40 meters, drift dives with strong currents, Fluorescent night dives, and many more.
What are the costs of diving in Colombia?
Colombia is one of the cheapest dive spots in the world. It is a perfect place to get started, get certified, or even go through it all and jump right from the beginner to an Advanced Open Water Diver or even a Rescue Diver. You can find a fun dive with two immersions for a price so low as under 200,000 COP, approximately 45 EUR, but I believe when it comes to diving the price should not be the main determinant. You need to feel good and well attended when getting in touch with or visiting a dive center. A dive center is here to not only take you to dive but make the stay in the area for you as easy and comfortable as possible, so don't hesitate to ask any questions. A PADI-certified course is around 1,200,000 COP, 270 EUR more or less. You can check out the dive offer at Sony Dive Center.
Do you need to be certified to dive in Colombia?
Depending on the dive location, Colombia offers a variety of dive sites, from the more rough Pacific oceanside for more experienced advanced divers, to the more calm Caribbean seaside ideal for beginners. Although that doesn't mean that you cannot find tough conditions in the Caribbean sea. But certainly, Colombia will leave every diver satisfied, just need to choose well according to their level of experience and preferences.