Your Complete Guide To

Cartagena’s Top Beaches

Cartagena is a large, vibrant city with a rich historical heritage! Its colorful streets are nestled along the northern coast of Colombia on the southwest shores of the Caribbean Sea. The city is quickly becoming a Caribbean hot spot. However, tourists familiar with Caribbean destinations like Aruba and St. Lucia are often disappointed after their first experiences at Cartagena’s city beaches. That’s why we’re here to help!

This guide will give you an insiders look at the best places to soak in the sun, sea-side, in both Cartagena and the surrounding area. You’ll get the low-down on where to go, what to expect, how to get there, and the best things to do when you arrive. We’re starting with our top pick…

The Rosario Islands:

If white sands and turquoise seas are what you seek you’ll want to head to the islands. A 45-minute boat ride from the Bodeguita dock, located close to Cartagena’s iconic Clock Tower and Plaza de Los Pegasos, will take you to paradise.

Depending on the season you may encounter quite the crowd as others search to find that perfect instagramable vacation backdrop. That’s why we recommend making a reservation for a VIP spot at the Bora Bora Beach Club Resort. There you’ll be able to experience the beauty of the island from a private cabana. Soak in the serenity of the ocean air or join the party atmosphere on the other side of the resort.

Manzanillo del Mar Beach:

The beaches of Manzanillo del Mar are the farthest mainland beaches from the urban area of Cartagena and are consequently the most secluded and tranquil stretches of sand nearby. Around a 35-minute drive from the city – we recommend Playa de Oro for its beautiful swathes of sand and sea, with very few tourists in sight.

If you have a flair for adventure, consider exploring the Manzanillo del Mar shores by ATV. Cartagena ATV offers guide tours that will take you past natural rock formations and through rugged trails along the sea.

Playa Blanca, Isle Baru:


A caribbean paradise, Playa Blanca sits about 40 minutes south of Cartagena on the Isle Baru and is accessible by land or sea. You may find it quite crowded but the picturesque shoreline will make it worth the trip.  To avoid the weekend crowds, consider planning your trip on a Tuesday or Wednesday. However, if you must visit during peak traffic, plan on walking down the beach towards Hotel Decameron. The further you walk, the more secluded the beach will become.

While there is plenty to do on this beach shore, one of the allures of Playa Blanca is what’s beneath the crystal waters. Get a close up look at tropical fish and colorful coral by booking a diving adventure with Buceo Aventura Colombia.

Playa de Bocagrande:


If you’re staying inside the city, one of the closest local beaches is Playa de Bocagrande. A short Uber ride will find you there. However, if the weather’s nice, consider walking the 4 Kilometer trek from Cartagena’s iconic Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas after a tour from a local historian.

This popular urban beach is lined with skyscrapers and situated in front of the glitzy neighborhood of Bocagrande. The hustle and bustle of the city collide with the beauty of the ocean on the sands nestled along the peninsula. If you’re looking for a quiet and relaxing beach experience, this is probably not your spot! But if your looking for an easily accessible shoreline with lots to do and see, this may just be the place for you!

One last thing to note about this spot and others in the city. While their waters are clean and warm, the rhythmic tides often stir up the fine soft sands beneath the water, diminishing the vibrant turquoise color that’s typical of the Caribbean Sea.

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