If you are imagining waking up, looking through the window of your hotel, and seeing a typical caribbean vision of white sand and turquoise blue water during your stay in Cartagena….umm I’m sorry, but it’s not gonna happen. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as the beaches in the city are clean, and the sea is crystal clear, just without the sky blue or turquoise green colour that you expect from the caribbean. But don’t worry, in the list below you will find public beaches close to the city which are, in our opinion, the best places you can go to see your caribbean dream come true.
1. Punta Arena in Tierra Bomba
Punta Arena beach is located on Tierra Bomba island, which is right in front of the beaches of Castillogrande. In less than 10 minutes by boat, you’ll arrive at a wide public beach, with turquoise blue water, completely different from the beaches of Bocagrande and el Laguito and in complete contrast with the buildings of Cartagena in front of it. The boats can take you to Tierra Bomba at any time of the day, departing from Castillogrande beach, behind Bocagrande hospital. The price of a round trip boat ride to and from the island can be negotiated with the owner of each boat, but it should cost you around COP$25.000 ($5USD) per trip.
Vendors harassment is less stressing here than other beaches in Cartagena, but if you really want to have a completly relaxing day, it's better book a beach day trip in a beach club where you can be sure that you are going just to relax, getting tan and have fun. All beach clubs usually includes boat transportation and lunch.
2. Playa Blanca in Baru
The best beach in Cartagena is located only 40 minutes by boat or by land from Cartagena. Playa Blanca, a caribbean paradise, brings about mixed feelings from its visitors; they either love it, or hate it. Despite complaints from travellers about harassment from local vendors, the incredible colour of the sea, and the beautiful beach continue to make Playa Blanca and excellent place to relax close to Cartagena. A useful recommendation is to walk towards the end of the beach towards Hotel Decameron (past the blue tents that you will see if you arrive by boat). The more you walk, the less people and vendors you’ll see, and you’ll find more quiet parts of the beach to enjoy on your own. If you plan to only spend one day here, we recommend that you go mid-week to avoid crowds.
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3. Castillogrande Beach
Of all the beaches within the city, this is our favourite. It is the most isolated in the circuit of beaches that can be found in Bocagrande and el Laguito. Castillogrande has extensive beaches, and the sea is very clean and clear. If you go towards the naval club, there are not as many vendors, and there is more room to enjoy the beach, which is also one of the best places to watch the sunset in Cartagena.
4. La Boquilla Beach
La Boquilla beach is one of the favourite places for Colombian tourists to spend their vacation days. La Boquilla has quite extensive beaches and many restaurants and kiosks where you can spend an afternoon. Because it is located quite far from the tourist district of Cartagena, it is not very common to see foreigners here, although more and more hotel chains are beginning to build in this unexploited area of the city.
EXTRA TIP For a really pretty, white sand beach within the Rosario Islands to pass away a tranquil day, click here
5. Manzanillo del Mar Beach
The beaches of Manzanillo del mar will continue for the next couple of years to be an ideal place to get away from everything and enjoy one the the most tranquil and solitary beaches in the city. Private investors have set their eyes on these extensive beaches and are now building luxury resorts in the surrounding area, with the hopes to continue on to even more exclusive destinations. Manzanillo del mar is furthest from all other beaches on the list, sitting 35 minutes from the centre of Cartagena. You can take a taxi here from the city centre for about $15USD maximum. We recommend that you go to Playa de Oro and eat fried fish in Dona's restaurant, it's easy to get there, everybody knows it.
You will find a different environment at each of the beaches we have mentioned. Whether you're looking for family fun or peaceful places to unplug, Cartagena has something that will suit you.
If you have any questions or concerns about your trip to Cartagena, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or speak with us using our online chat feature.
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