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Best Cartagena Beaches

Playa Blanca near Cartegena
Playa Blanca; credit: Wikimedia

Heading to Cartagena, Columbia anytime soon? Looking for the perfect beach to kick back, relax and enjoy life?

Cartagena is the right place for a great beach. Following is a comprehensive list of the better beaches in Cartagena.

Blessed with an average temperature of 27.7 degrees Celsius and 2,500 hours of brilliant sunshine a year, some say Cartagena is the Miami of Colombia. As such, pretty much every day is a good day to go to the beach in Cartagena.

Boasting a total of 19 kilometers of beaches in the metropolitan area, there is nearly another 100 kilometers of beaches heading north to Barranquilla. Examples include:


A hyped and quite popular beach in Cartagena, Laguito is a Mecca for spring break students and visitors on the hunt for a great bargain.

Laguito is actually a stretch of beaches with the best being on the grounds of the Hilton Hotel. This beach provides all the comforts expected of an international hotel chain.


Castillogrande is mostly suited for family trips. Popular activities includes building castles and playing water sports. However, the beach mostly caters to Cartagena’s elite.

Being an exclusive enclave, the beach is more laid back than its neighbors. It even includes a private members’ club that caters to the needs of the city’s beach bums.

Island Beaches

Cartagena’s city beaches offer reasonable stretches of sand and unbeatable convenience. Still, the beaches in town lack the crystal-clear and bleached-white sand—Caribbean Sea look.

As such, the city’s beaches only thrive during the high season. Otherwise, the various small islands located on their 43-island archipelago, under an hour by boat to the south, offer plenty of options for those looking to catch some sea and sun.

Rosario Islands

An idyllic, 30-island archipelago 45 minutes from the city by boat (local cruise operators, such as Tesoro Tours also provide passage), the Rosario Islands National Park is a fantastic seven-star playground for Cartagena’s rich and famous.

Rosario’s white beaches and transparent waters invite sun and beach lovers to become immersed in a marvelous landscape. Besides the beaches, San Martin features an aquarium and good areas for snorkeling. Among Cartagena’s beaches, Las Islas del Rosario may receive the most attention.

Barú Island

Barú is a large island located close to Cartagena, marked by fine white sand and delightful underwater gardens. Besides the Islas del Rosario, Barú ranks high among Cartagena’s most popular and worthwhile beaches.

Access to the island is possible by crossing the Bay of Cartagena by boat or taking a ferry across the Canal del Dique.

Playa Blanca

Crystal-clear Caribbean waters, a couple of kilometers of bleached white sands and friendly islanders make Barú and its star attraction, Playa Blanca, top choice in Cartagena.

Unlike the beaches right in Cartagena, visitors don’t need to worry about peddlers bothering them while they lounge and tan. Moreover, the sand and water are notably cleaner. Playa blanca is a popular spot for day visitors so between 10 a.m. and 4p.m.

San Bernardo Island

Located just south of Cartagena, San Bernardo’s beaches are a marvelous spot for lovers of sun, beach, and relaxation. The beaches of San Bernardo Island are generally cleaner and quieter than any that on the mainland.

Special caution is required when swimming near the islands; there areas with strong sea currents. For those bringing small children or poor swimmers to the beach, avoid San Bernardo.

Cartagena is one of the most beautiful and best-preserved ancient cities in America. Each strip of Caribbean sand has a very different vibe, from the laid-back family feel of Castillogrande to the more full-tilt tourist experience in Bocagrande.

Still, for the Caribbean beach idyll, visitors will need to venture further afield to the Rosario Islands or another island chain for a more authentic Colombian beach experience on beautiful island beaches.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
February 17, 2020

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