Thinking of Cartagena de Indias is thinking of Colombian joy, in a refreshing drink. The radiant sun and a Caribbean Sea that, in the background, contrasts with the pastel colors of the colonial houses, located on charming cobbled streets. Traveling to Cartagena is like walking through the streets of a fairytale city (almost literally), a city that makes everyone want to photograph it. Although, thinking of Colombia and the Caribbean Sea generates something that makes us feel that we want to rest on a beach, bordered by palm trees and a climate more than ideal to take a bath in that hypnotizing turquoise.
In this post we will leave the Cartagena “fairytale city” because we will put on our swimsuits and go on a trip to the beaches near Cartagena, those that beach travelers love for the tranquility of their waters and the wallpaper images that we all want to see. Did you know that there are islands near Cartagena? We will also tell you about the must-sees and the most beautiful in this post… Take note!
What is the best time to visit the beaches near Cartagena
The city of Cartagena de Indias is an authentic postcard of colonial Colombia (inspiration site for books and stories like Love in the Times of Cholera): a walled city, with pastel-colored houses, cobbled streets and, in the background, the noise of the Caribbean Sea that opens at the feet of all those travelers who seek to pass its hot Afternoons of travel on a paradisiacal beach, without having to travel many kilometers.
In summary, the best time of year to travel to Cartagena is: all year round! Although if you prefer to avoid the rainy season, it is advisable to organize a trip between December and April and, in addition to enjoying the sunny days, take advantage of and enjoy the colors of the Christmas in Colombia.
The best beaches near Cartagena to visit
Some say that the best beaches in Colombia are in Cartagena, others say that, during a visit to the colonial city, it is impossible to miss the islands near Cartagena, since its charm and nature captivate everyone who want to explore them, swim, discover them and feel that paradise truly exists.
Between diving, water sports, an admirable underwater world, the warm temperature that characterizes the Caribbean Sea and the wide possibilities of resting in different corners, full of nature, make visiting the beaches near Cartagena are more than a better and great option. So much? Let’s discover them.
1. Playa Blanca, Isla Barú
Surely everyone has ever heard (or seen) about the beauty of Barú Island, a true PA-RA-DI-SE. Thus, “with all the letters” as some popular sayings would say. Within the magnificent piece of heaven in which Isla Barú is located, one of the best beaches near Cartagena is centered. Playa Blanca, as its name says, has sands of this same color that almost like a perfect contrast, makes the turquoise water of the Caribbean Sea stand out that it even dazzles.
Its beauty makes a quite crowded beach, so it is advisable to go in the early hours of the morning, or after 3 in the afternoon but, definitely, it is not to be missed within a trip around the island.
- Distance between Cartagena and Playa Blanca : 1 hour by car.
2. Rosario Islands
With its 30 islands that compose it, it is impossible for us to choose only one beach within the Rosario Islands, we can say that, almost a beauty contest disputed between Barú Island and the Islands del Rosario, the winners are impossible to choose.
Las Rosario Islands are a paradisiac archipelago, everything that one as a beach traveler wants to see (the white sands and turquoise waters) but adding the importance of being a protected place, so nature is almost untouched and maintains the beauty that it should have in each of the world’s places.
Among the 30 beaches that compose it, there is a top 3, ideal to visit. How? Hiring excursions or renting shared boats to visit each of them :
- Isla Grande: is the largest of all the islands, different ecosystems in its interior and even an enchanted lagoon.
- Isla Fuerte : with its quiet beaches and wide biodiversity.
- Isla del Pirata : 1.5 kilometers long, a truly piece of heaven where it is also possible to taste of seafood dishes.
Important fact: Barú Island is part of the Rosario Islands, but its importance makes it worthy of a separate chapter.
- Distance from Cartagena to Rosario Islands : 40 minutes by boat.
3. Punta Arenas, Tierra Bomba Island
If we are talking about islands near Cartagena that are spectacular, then we are also going to name the Tierra Bomba Island and its most paradisiacal beach: Punta Arenas. Literally a kind of tongue of white sand in the middle of the turquoise blue sea make this one of the best beaches near Cartagena that you have to visit.
In addition to its natural beauty, it is a great opportunity to taste the great gastronomy that characterizes Colombia, based mainly on fish and shellfish.
- Distance from Cartagena to Tierra Bomba Island: 10 minutes by boat.
4. Bocagrande Beach
One of the beaches near Cartagena most famous for all travelers who visit the city is Bocagrande beach, located next to one of the most luxurious neighborhoods in the entire city, a place where, in addition, there are the luxury hotels and skyscrapers.
Although it seems that the “built curtain” is not the best beach postcard, the whiteness of the sand and the turquoise color of the Caribbean Sea work perfectly, which makes it a great choice by tourists and also locals who reside in the city.
- Distance from Cartagena to Bocagrande Beach : 15 minutes by car.
5. Playa de Oro, Manzanillo del Mar
A few minutes away from the city and a few kilometers from the historic center, we find another of the best beaches near Cartagena with an “urban” rating. Although it is close to the city, nature continues to “tread firmly” and makes this beach stand out, not only for its scenic beauty that we have been talking about, but also for its infrequency of tourist crowds and its charming little town that integrates it, with some “truly authentic” services.
This is a great place to rest, enjoy the great climate of Colombia and the tranquility that characterizes it.
- Distance from Cartagena to Playa de Oro : 35 minutes by car.
6. Barú Peninsula Beach, Barú Island
Ok, we could have named it before, but we firmly believe that this beach on the Barú Peninsula deserves a separate chapter among the best beaches near Cartagena.
Soft white sand as cooking flour, turquoise waters, an underwater world awaiting travelers with masks and tubes to breathe and even magical accommodations where you can spend the night and enjoy nature when everyone is already going to sleep.
There is no place that does not recommend a walk along the Playa de la Península de Barú and we are no exception. : D
- Distance from Cartagena to the Barú Peninsula Beach : 1 hour from the center of Cartagena.
7. Tintipán Island
One of the best islands near Cartagena that can compete calmly with Isla Barú and the Rosario Islands is Isla Tintipán, which, with its sands, What color? White, of course, its waters turquoise, the coral reefs that surround it and, attention, the ignorance of travelers, make this exotic destination a great plan to do in Cartagena when someone is looking to go to the beach, without so many crowds.
Its beauty does not end when the sun goes down, because on Tintipán Island night tours are organized in search of bioluminescent plankton, where nature illuminates the sea on dark nights.
- Distance from Cartagena to Isla Tintipán : 2 and a half hours by boat (which are completely worth it).
8. Boca Chica Beach, Tierra Bomba Island
If we talk about contrasting places, then we find a great plan to do near Cartagena: Boca Chica beach. This exotic destination invites tourists to discover charming beaches, walks in the middle of nature and even visits to an old fort and walls belonging to the Castillo de San Bernardo, built to watch over the coasts during the conquests in search of the gold of Cartagena.
- Distance from Cartagena to Boca Chica Beach: 10 minutes by boat.
9. La Terraza Beach
One of the busiest beaches in the city makes La Terraza Beach one of the best beaches near Cartagena, more than chosen by travelers and residents. Its Caribbean landscapes and its incredible tranquility, despite the travelers, create a great place to enjoy the true Colombian paradise.
Unlike other beaches, the Beach La Terraza, with its name according to the Main restaurant, has a large number of traveler services, including different restaurants where you can taste authentic Colombian cuisine and places to practice water sports.
- Distance from Cartagena to Playa La Terraza : 15 minutes by car.
10. Cholón Island
If to the paradisiacal islands of the Colombian Caribbean we add nightlife, discos and lots of dancing true to the national style, then we find Cholón Island, a great option and a of the best islands near Cartagena to visit. Traveling as a couple, with friends or in search of more travelers to socialize, the Isla del Cholón brings together everything that the most active travelers look for: aquatic activities, coral reefs where to dive, crystal clear and warm waters, white sands and, when the sun goes down, the hectic nightlife that is present, along with its music, tropical drinks and good energy.
It may not be the ideal place to travel as a family but, being close to Cartagena, it is a great place to spend the day, taking advantage of the pleasant temperatures of the Colombian Caribbean.
- Distance from Cartagena to Cholón Island : 40 minutes by boat.
If we talk about the best beaches in Colombia, probably those near Cartagena and the islands that surround it, are part of, at least, the top 3, a paradise for “beach travelers”.