3 February 2021
Colombia has diving in both the Caribbean and Pacific. The driest time to go to the Pacific side is January, February, March or the middle of August. For the Caribbean, April to November is best.
The Pacific coast offers the more challenging diving, with stronger currents. You are very likely to see big stuff like sharks, tuna and even humpback whales here. World class dive sites include Malpelo, a remote seamount 500 kilometres west of the mainland, famous for schooling hammerheads and silky sharks. Only one liveaboard visits at a time and this must operate out of Colombia. Currently the only liveaboard visiting Malpelo is the Ferox, which has an experienced captain and crew.
Some of the best diving in Colombia's Caribbean sea is at San Andres and Providencia Islands. The coral reef here is said to be the world's third largest. The area is in the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve, around 750 km from the mainland.
Taganga is one of the most popular areas for diving in Colombia. On the Caribbean coast, the diving is not as good at Taganga as it is in some other places in Colombia, but it does have a plethora of dive shops. It's very cheap to learn to dive here. Taganga has an ATM but this doesn't work with many international cards. You might have to go to Santa Marta to get the cash to pay for your course.
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.
Malpelo is a small, barren island just 8 km2. It's steep sided cliffs are the only visible part of a volcanic ridge which drops to nearly 3 km. Here hammerhead and other sharks congregate in relatively shallow waters. Only one liveaboard a day is allowed at Malpelo and at the moment the only one travelling to Malpelo is the Ferox, which has high safety standards and experienced crew.
This is not a trip for beginners but is truly a world-class dive site.
" The sinister and forbidding Malpelo Island is located 314 miles (506 Kilometers) off the coast of Buenaventura, Colombia in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Malpelo is home to an important coral formation as well as a large variety and quantity of marine creatures. Of special interest is the hammerhead shark with its awe-inspiring schools reaching up to 300 hundred individuals. The two most outstanding phenomena in Malpelo are the huge number of cluster and free swimming moray eels and the enormous congregations of silky sharks who often mix with hammerheads to form colossal shark schools.
Other common sights are the white tip shark, Galapagos shark, giant schools of angel fish, Creole fish, jacks, tuna, and occasionally a sail fish, whale shark and even Humpback Whale."
"One of the most beautiful sites to dive in the world. Best of all is still unexploited by tourism."
Sonia Matthews, USA
"Dirty Rock, Malpelo, is 350 miles west of the coast of Columbia. This site is home to hundreds of hammerheads, blacktips, white tips, whale sharks, mantas, yellow fin tuna, etc. 65 deg water with 4-6 ft seas, but high-octane excitment. "
" Malpelo is the ideal place for shark lovers!! Biggest hammerhead shark population in the world!!"
" Gorgona island, until 1985, was a jail; it's now a sanctuary. The land tours are great and you will see sharks, sea lions, dolphins, whale sharks, Whales (sometimes) and it's not over populated with tourists. Gorgona was awesome, As good as the Galapagos. Colombia is more safe than the media would have you believe. "
Providencia island is part of an archipelago around 750 km from the Colombian mainland. In 2000 it was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve - the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve, which includes a massive marine area of 300,000 km2. Other nearby islands include San Andres and Santa Catalina. The archipelago is actually nearer to Nicaragua than Colombia.
"The most beautiful place I have ever been. There are many places to rent a boat and diving equipment. Cost may vary from season to season. Much better than other places such as Costa Rica. Not only the diving is amazing but the island is magical."
The largest island in the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve. It has an airport.
"I just came back from a week on San Andres island staying at the camera and resorts. San Andres has some of the best diving I have done around the world the Decamaron has multiple dive shops and very well educated and trained crews. There are many great dive sites from beginning open water diving all the way up to advanced and technical dives. By far one of the best places I have to live in the Caribbean. I will definitely be returning. "
James, 31 July 2019
"I had a blast. Sunken ships. Sunken 737, Lots of big and bigger barracuda. Stingrays and a great trip to Johnny Cay to feed them in the evening. If you got to San Andres AVOID the Sunrise Hotel. It just plain old sucks and costs way too much. The Decameron Hotels are MUCH better. "
"In San Andres y Providence Island you can find the third largest coral reef in the world plus is considered a Biosphere Reserve by Uesco."
Part of an archipelago around 100 kilometres from Cartagena. It is one of the 46 Natural National Parks of Colombia.
"If you like diving the reef and looking at tiny stuff 24/7 this is the dive for you. I would rate Cartagena as over-promising and under-delivering. "
"Much better than Cartagena San Andras and much more stressless "
"Nice 3 part dive starting with over soft coral moving into a gentle drift dive before ending over a brain and elk horn coral field"
Rich Stroud,UK, 2017
"Beautiful dive over a big brain coral field, great diversity and healthy big coral (some massive examples of both brain and elk horn corals) "
Rich Stroud,UK, 2017
"Turtles, Barracudas, Corals."
George, New Zealand, 2016
The Ferex has exclusive diving access to the World Heritage site of Malpelo. Also visits Gorgona island. Renovated in 2017, there are 8 cabins for 12 divers. The former Ice Classed Mine Layer has an 11 mm armored steel hull, all new machinery and electronics as well as an extensive list of safety equipment including three 6m, self-righting, former Fast Rescue Boats that were operated in the challenging conditions of the North Sea. Dive guides have 30 years of experience in Malpelo.
Calle Estanco del Aguardiente #5-94
Cartagena de Indias
Tel: (57 5) 664 2171
Cell: (57) 300 815 7169 - 300 603 7284
" Andres knows his stuff "
Av. Newball 1-248
In front of "Casa de Cultura"
Tel: (57)-8-51 20101
" Excellent service. They take care of everything, such as loading and unloading your equipment from the boat and rinsing all your dive gear. The price is very good also. "
Firdaus Chinoy, Canada
Hotel Lord Pierre Local # 104
Cabañas EL RECREO
Tel: 57 (8) 514 8775 / 57 (8) 514 8010
Mobile: 57 (312) 521 7503
Fax: 57 (8) 514 8051
Carrera 2 # 17 - 46 Esquina
Tel: +57 5 4219004
"Oceano Scuba - an excellent outfit with experienced instructors. Very impressed by this outfit, well organised with good kit and some excellent dive sites. While there may be better dives sites in Colombia, Taganga/Oceano offer the best value dives in the Caribbean.
Best in the world for PADI courses and best quality for cost dives I've experienced. Well maintained kit, very professional approach to development courses. "
Rich Stroud, UK, 2017
"It was great, the best diving school in the world. 60 dollars two dives and snacks"
George, New Zealand, 2016
A PADI 5* Dive Resort established by Lisi from Austria.
Calle 15, 1B-14
Tel: +57 304 326 3342 (German, English, Spanish)
"I dived with ocean lovers Taganga. It was a great shop, Austrian owned with good attention to detail and safety."
Demi, January 2019
Calle 17 N 2-43
Tel: +57 (5) 4226370
Whats app: +57 3132724842:
"The school is located in Santa Marta but they also have a centre in Taganga where everybody meets to be get kitted before heading to the boat. Whilst I was there I heard the instructors speaking English, French, German and of course Spanish. Fantastic value for money and what they say is true.....Santa Marta/Taganga is probably the cheapest place to learn to dive. Marvin and the team are a fun and professional group who proactively involve their customers and put them at ease. I will be returning to dive with them again as soon as I am back in Colombia."
Andrew Cameron, UK, March 2019
" Most professional dive center in Colombia "
Calle 18 N° 1 - 39 Taganga Santa Marta
Tel: + 57 (5) 4219344
Street 12 No 1 - 40
Tel: (057)5 4219146
Buconos Diving Centre
"Dive with us the best of Colombia!"
Adolfo Salinas (Buconos Diving), 2012
" We stayed at the Sunrise Hotel which is less than a 5 minute walk from the dive shop. "
Firdaus Chinoy, Canada
" If you got to San Andres AVOID the Sunrise Hotel. It just plain old sucks and costs way too much. The Decameron Hotels are MUCH better. "
Tel: (574) 2520707
Lodge with Dive Centre.