Finding the Best Beach in Cartagena Colombia
I’ve explored Cartagena’s coastal gems not once, but three times, and I’m here to share my firsthand experiences and insights. My personal connection to this vibrant city ensures you’re getting advice from someone who truly understands the allure of Cartagena’s beaches.
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll discover:
- The top beach destinations near Cartagena, each with its unique charm and attractions.
- Insider tips on how to make the most of your beach excursion, from hidden gems to must-try activities.
- Practical advice for a seamless visit to these stunning coastal getaways.
Visit the beaches in Cartagena to bask in the warm embrace of powdery sands and crystal-clear waters. Whether you seek relaxation or adventure, this guide will unveil the best aspects of each beach, ensuring your visit to Cartagena’s shores is nothing short of unforgettable.
Now let’s get started on finding the BEST Beach in Cartagena Colombia!
Getting to Cartagena
You can reach Cartagena by air, arriving at Rafael Núñez International Airport, which is the most convenient option.
Air Travel: Pros: Fast and convenient, direct flights available from major cities. Cons: Can be relatively expensive, especially during peak tourist seasons.
Bus Travel: Pros: Cost-effective option, scenic routes available for those who enjoy long journeys. Cons: Takes longer compared to flying, may not be as comfortable for some travelers.
Transportation Costs: Airfare prices vary depending on your departure location and booking time, ranging from around $150 to $500 or more. Bus tickets can cost anywhere from $20 to $100, depending on the class and where you’re traveling from.
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Best Time to Visit Cartagena
Cartagena enjoys a tropical climate, with warm temperatures year-round and relatively consistent humidity levels.
Best Months for Beaches:
For the ultimate beach experience, I recommend visiting Cartagena between December and April when the weather is sunniest and there’s less chance of rain.
Seasonal Pros and Cons:
Dry Season (December to April): Pros: Ideal for beachgoers, with clear skies and plenty of sunshine. Cons: High tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices.
Rainy Season (May to November): Pros: Fewer tourists, which means quieter beaches and potentially lower prices. Cons: Frequent rain showers can interrupt beach days, and high humidity may make the heat less comfortable.
My Experiences in February, June, and July:
In February, you’ll enjoy pleasant weather with less rainfall, making it a great time for beach activities.
June and July, on the other hand, fall during the rainy season, so expect occasional showers and higher humidity, but you can still have a nice beach vacation with fewer tourists around.
Now Let’s Discover the Best Beach in Cartagena Colombia
Playa de Bocagrande
Playa de Bocagrande, one of Colombia’s most renowned beaches in Cartagena, has both its charm and challenges.
This beach is known for its wide and spacious sections, ideal for swimming and relaxation. The convenience factor is key here, as it’s easily accessible and surrounded by numerous hotels and restaurants.
However, Bocagrande’s fame comes with a downside. It can get quite crowded, and the beach is teeming with persistent vendors who may disrupt your peaceful beach day. These vendors offer various items and services, making it essential to decide if you can tolerate their presence.
Some of the beachfront hotels in the area provide complimentary chairs and umbrellas, and security staff may help deter vendors from bothering you too much. It’s essential to remember that all beaches in Colombia, including those in Cartagena, are public property.
If you’re looking for a less crowded spot, consider the area near Kiosco El Bony, often referred to as Hollywood Beach Cartagena. This expansive section offers more space, but it can be busy during the day, especially on weekends and during peak travel periods. Alternatively, visit in the evening when the crowds thin out, and you can enjoy cheaper nighttime drinks while renting a chair.
For a quieter experience, explore the areas closer to the entrance of Bocagrande. These sections typically have fewer people and vendors, with a few beach bars where you can savor a beer and unwind.
Playa de Bocagrande strikes a balance between convenience and challenges, making it one of Cartagena’s notable beaches. Its accessibility, ample amenities, and vibrant atmosphere attract tourists and locals alike.
Looking for the BEST Hotel in Bocagrande?
Playa El Laguito
Playa El Laguito, nestled at the tip of Bocagrande and surrounding a picturesque lake, offers a unique coastal experience in Cartagena.
This area boasts a handful of hotels, as well as residential buildings and a selection of delightful restaurants. Stop at one of the restaurants to catch Cartagena’s stunning sunset, making Laguito the perfect place for this scenic spectacle.
For a relaxed beach day at Playa El Laguito, head to El Muelle. Here, you can enjoy the beach chairs and umbrellas if you order drinks and/or food. The upstairs deck offers a pleasant setting, and the food is quite satisfying.
While the beach at El Laguito may not be expansive, it provides a more tranquil alternative to the bustling beaches in other parts of Bocagrande. If you find the crowds at the larger beaches around the corner a bit overwhelming, El Laguito can offer a peaceful Cartagena beach experience.
Furthermore, Playa El Laguito provides opportunities for surfing lessons or embarking on a captivating sunset paddleboard tour across the bay. Its unique blend of scenic beauty and recreational options makes it one of Cartagena’s best beaches, perfect for those seeking relaxation and adventure in equal measure.
Related: Cartagena Safety: Should You Visit
Looking for the BEST Hotel in El Laguito?
Playa de La Boquilla
Located just beyond Cartagena, La Boquilla is a charming fisherman’s village, where the beach serves a dual purpose as a thoroughfare for cars and buses. Here, you’ll find a refreshing escape from the skyscrapers, tourists, and street vendors that populate more crowded beaches.
To get to La Boquilla, it’s a quick 20-minute taxi ride from the city center, making it easily accessible. What sets this beach apart is its tranquility, with fewer tourists making it a hidden oasis in Cartagena.
While the beach itself may not be the main attraction, La Boquilla offers unique experiences like the mangrove tour. This tour allows you to explore the rich ecosystems of La Boquilla, adding depth to your beach visit.
Playa de La Boquilla embodies simplicity and authenticity, offering a peaceful break from the city’s hustle and bustle. Its unspoiled beauty, calm waters, and local charm make it one of Cartagena’s finest beaches, providing a more intimate and genuine beach experience.
Related: 7 Best Cartagena Walking Tours
Looking for a Laid Back Budget Hostel Close to La Boquilla?
Posada Kalea, a beachfront paradise hostel in Cartagena, Colombia, boasts spectacular sea-view rooms, a range of nautical sports, and the perfect setting for enjoying Colombian coffee with stunning Caribbean Sea views in the morning and peaceful sunsets in the evenings.
Manzanillo del Mar
Manzanillo del Mar is often hailed as the best beach near Cartagena, offering a tranquil retreat just a short drive away from the city.
To reach Manzanillo del Mar, embark on a scenic 40-minute taxi ride from Cartagena’s city center. As you approach this coastal haven, you’ll notice a striking absence of street vendors, creating a peaceful atmosphere to unwind.
Here, you can relax under beach tents that provide respite from the sun’s rays. Despite the gradual rise of nearby hotels, Manzanillo del Mar retains its quiet charm, making it an ideal destination for those seeking serenity.
For adventure enthusiasts, consider trying kitesurfing, an exciting activity available in this pristine location. The calm waters and steady winds make it an excellent spot for beginners and experienced surfers alike.
Manzanillo del Mar embodies tranquility and authenticity, offering an escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Its untouched beauty, calm waters, and secluded ambiance make it one of Cartagena’s finest beaches, providing a serene and genuine beach experience, all within reach of the city.
Looking for the BEST Hotel near Manzillo del Mar?
Experience a beachfront paradise at Zion Beach House, offering great food, vibrant vibes, and an ideal location for water sports enthusiasts with a top-notch kitesurf school, along with exciting evening activities, Spanish lessons, and island tours, all complemented by comfortable rooms and a complimentary breakfast.
Tierra Bomba Beach
Tierra Bomba is a captivating island, just a 15-minute boat ride away from Cartagena, known for its unique blend of coastal beauty and historical significance.
To reach Tierra Bomba, take a short boat ride, and as you approach, relish the breathtaking views of Cartagena’s skyline, with its distant skyscrapers creating a picturesque backdrop.
This island offers various areas to explore. Historically, it served as a defensive outpost, and in the Bocachica area, you can visit two forts, San José and San Fernando. However, the island’s best beaches are found in Punta Arena, offering pristine sands and tranquil waters.
For an extended stay on Tierra Bomba, consider spending the night at one of the ideally located hotels with beachfront access and refreshing swimming pools. Alternatively, you can opt for a Tierra Bomba day trip that includes transfers, lunch, and comfy hammocks for relaxation, all at an affordable price.
Tierra Bomba’s allure lies in its proximity to Cartagena, historical landmarks, and serene beach settings. It’s a versatile destination that caters to various preferences, making it one of Cartagena’s best beach experiences.
Looking for the BEST Tierra Bomba Beach Club/Hotel?
Palmarito Beach Hotel, situated on Isla de Tierra Bomba Beach with an outdoor pool, restaurant, and bar, offers simply furnished guest rooms, some with beach-view balconies, and on-site sports facilities, just 10 minutes from Cartagena’s Bay.
Punta Arena offers a unique perspective directly across from Bocagrande, providing stunning views of the modern cityscape across the bay. This area is known for its excellent beach clubs and hotels, some of which offer day passes or overnight stays for a memorable beach experience.
To reach Punta Arena, you can take a boat from behind the Bocagrande Hospital in Castillogrande. The cost is typically around $20,000 pesos ($5 USD) round trip, paid in full when you return in the afternoon. However, the more upscale establishments often include boat transportation in their prices. Some of these hidden gems are nestled in secluded spots, affording you a private beach experience.
While it’s possible to explore Punta Arena independently for a more budget-friendly experience, consider that you’ll need to pay for amenities like chairs, beach beds, umbrellas, and lunch. In the end, the costs might approach those of a day pass at one of the Cartagena beach clubs in Punta Arena. Investing a bit more ensures the convenience of a reserved spot, a delicious lunch, and assistance in coordinating your boat ride back.
For a unique adventure, you can even opt for a kayak excursion across the bay to Tierra Bomba, adding an element of exploration to your beach getaway.
Looking for the BEST Punta Arena Beach Club/Hotel?
Namaste Beach Club & Hotel on De Tierra Bomba Island offers an outdoor pool, a private beach area, and wellness-focused activities like yoga, meditation, sound healing, and fire ceremonies, along with water sports and stunning sea views.
Within an hour Drive/Boat of Cartagena:
Playa Blanca (Isla Baru)
Playa Blanca, located on Isla Baru, is undoubtedly one of Cartagena’s best beaches and holds a special place in my heart as my personal favorite. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting this beach twice, and each time, it left me in awe of its natural beauty and tranquil ambiance.
This captivating beach boasts soft, powdery white sand that meets the warm, crystalline blue waters of the Caribbean. To reach Playa Blanca, you can take a 40-minute boat ride from Cartagena, embarking on a scenic journey to this coastal paradise.
Palm trees gracefully line the beach, providing much-needed shade from the intense Cartagena sun. Whether you choose to relax on a beach chair, sway in a hammock, or unwind under an umbrella, Playa Blanca offers ample options for your comfort.
One insider tip I highly recommend is spending the night on Playa Blanca. After the tourist boats depart, the beach becomes much quieter and peaceful, allowing you to enjoy the pristine shoreline in the evening and early morning. It’s a truly magical experience that makes Playa Blanca even more special.
While visiting this enchanting beach, it’s essential to exercise caution when disembarking from the boat. Unfortunately, my dad was feeling youthful and jumped off, injuring his knee. So, take your time and be mindful of your steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable beach adventure.
Looking for the BEST Hostel on Playa Blanca?
Cholon (Isla Baru)
Cholon, situated within a picturesque cove on the island of Baru, is a renowned gem among Cartagena’s beaches. It has gained popularity for its vibrant yacht, speedboat, and sailboat parties, making it one of the most sought-after tourist destinations near Cartagena.
Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by a small beach area adorned with a charming double row of palm-covered huts. These huts create a captivating backdrop for the beach’s lively festivities. Tourists flock to Cholon with the desire to rent a private boat or yacht, either for an unforgettable day out with friends or a family adventure.
The beachfront at Cholon boasts a unique and lively atmosphere. Boats and yachts form a grand semicircle around the huts, setting the stage for an unforgettable experience. Revelers are treated to the sounds of uplifting music emanating from these vessels, creating a lively and inviting ambiance.
As you soak in the energy of Cholon, you’ll find a variety of ways to enjoy your time. Some prefer to stay aboard their boats, dancing, savoring delightful drinks, or engaging in heartfelt conversations with friends. Others are drawn to the allure of the crystal-clear waters, offering a refreshing escape from the festivities.
Cholon’s distinct blend of natural beauty and vibrant celebrations makes it a standout beach destination near Cartagena. Whether you seek the excitement of boat parties or the serenity of the sea, Cholon offers an unparalleled beach experience that continues to captivate visitors from around the world.
Isla Grande (Rosario Islands)
Isla Grande, the largest island in the Rosario Archipelago, is celebrated for its stunning beaches, making it a top beach destination near Cartagena. With multiple pristine shorelines adorned with sunbeds, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to finding the perfect spot to soak up the sun.
This picturesque island offers a plethora of activities to keep you entertained. You can delve into the mesmerizing world beneath the waves with snorkeling adventures, paddle through enchanting mangroves on kayaking expeditions, or embark on captivating bioluminescent tours that illuminate the night.
For those seeking an extended stay, Isla Grande offers several accommodation options, including hotels, ensuring you can fully immerse yourself in the island’s beauty.
The beaches on Isla Grande are known for their warm and tranquil waters, creating an inviting environment for beachgoers of all ages. The comfortable sands are ideal for lounging and unwinding in the Caribbean sun.
Among the notable beaches, Gente de Mar stands out as a family-friendly choice, offering a safe and enjoyable experience for kids. Isla del Sol and San Pedro Majagua, although man-made, provide a serene escape for a relaxing day at the beach or a refreshing swim in their crystal-clear turquoise waters.
Isla Grande’s diverse offerings, from natural beauty to exciting activities, make it one of the best beach destinations near Cartagena, ensuring an unforgettable beach experience for all who visit.
Which Beach in Cartagena Colombia is your Favorite?
We hope you enjoyed this post! After visiting, let us know in the comments below which beach in Cartagena is your favorite!
If you’re also planning to visit Santa Marta, don’t miss our Finding the Best Beach in Santa Marta Colombia: 10 Stunning Spots article!