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Playa Blanca, Cartagena’s Most Beautiful Beach

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When many people hear of the beaches near Cartagena, they are redirected to the Rosario Islands. While Cartagena itself may not have the best beaches of Colombia, the surrounding islands certainly do. Check out Playa Blanca, Cartagena one of the most gorgeous beaches in the country.


Visiting Playa Blanca on Isla Baru is definitely one of the best things to do in Cartagena. that's why we're here to share everything you need to know for visiting. In this guide we're going to cover how to get there, activities you can do, and everything else you need to know for Playa Blanca, Cartagena. Let's jump right in!

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playa blanca, Cartagena- Isla Baru

Where is Playa Blanca, Cartagena?

This may seem like an easy thing to answer, but truthfully, it can seem quite confusing. As there are so many different places that pop up on Google Maps for Playa Blanca, we're here to clarify which is the one you want to go to.


The famous Playa Blanca, Cartagena is actually located on Isla Baru. This is the one known for its turquoise waters, colorful hostels, and soft sand.

where is Playa Blanca Cartagena

Playa Blanca is located on Baru Island.


How to Get to Playa Blanca, Cartagena

Isla Baru is in fact an island, but it is not only accessible by boat! Actually, the easiest way to get to Isla Baru is by land. It is just an hour from the city of Cartagena, and has a bridge connecting it to the mainland.

playa blanca isla baru drone

Playa Blanca is located on an island, but can be accessed via land as well.

Visiting Playa Blanca, Cartagena By Bus

This is the cheapest option by far, and is pretty simple! There are plenty of buses that go to Isla Baru right from Cartagena.


Visiting Playa Blanca, Cartagena By Taxi

This is definitely more expensive than taking the bus, but is definitely the fastest and the easiest. You MUST bargain for the taxi, as they will ALWAYS try to rip you off. We paid 60,000 pesos (about $18 USD), so we would say make sure not to pay more than this.


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Not only will they try to rip you off greatly, but when you finally agree on a price they will have you waiting around to try and recruit other people (unless you are a group of 4).


If you let this happen, you are losing the time that you would be saving by getting a taxi in the first place! Be very firm, and let them know that unless they are leaving right away, you will not go with them. Also make sure that you do not pay them until the taxi is physically leaving, otherwise they will have you wait because they already have your money.


Visiting Playa Blanca, Cartagena By Car

This is hands down our favorite option, because it gives you the most freedom, and avoids you from having to bargain and worry about being ripped off. When we were in Cartagena, all of the cars were rented out so we didn't have this option, but we would have much rather taken this route.


We highly suggest booking a rental car in advance, as this is also when you can find the most affordable prices.


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Visiting Playa Blanca, Cartagena By Boat

You can find plenty of boats on the main pier that will take you to Isla Baru, but the cheapest way is if you hop on with the locals, which would be the very first thing in the morning. We went at 9 am and all of those boats had left already, leaving us with only private boats (that clearly cost a fortune).

boat isla baru

Getting back from Playa Blanca to Cartagena is best by boat.

Coming back to Cartagena, it is MUCH easier to find a boat, as there are plenty of "lanchas" (small boats) that leave straight from the beach to bring people back to Cartagena. Locals pay just 10,000 pesos (about $3 USD), meanwhile when they know you are a tourist they will try to take you for 3 or 4 times the price.


Want to book your tickets in advance to Isla Baru? Just look below for both bus and ferry options:


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This is another time where you will need to let them know that you refuse to be ripped off. Tell them that you come all the time (even if you clearly don't) and tell them you always pay 10,000. This is the only way that you won't get ripped off.


Visiting Playa Blanca, Cartagena By Tour

If you don't want to go to Playa Blanca on your own you can always take a tour. Here are a few different ones that you can choose from.


Cost to Visit Playa Blanca, Cartagena

When you arrive to the beach, you will have plenty of people coming up to you and trying to sell to you. This beach is completely free of charge and public to access, so don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Walk straight down and enjoy any part of this beautifully open beach.


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Food & Drinks on Playa Blanca, Cartagena

Playa Blanca is full of food and drink options! Walk along the beach to your left and you will find restaurant upon restaurant lined up, where you can find fresh fish, meat, and local dishes.


We definitely suggest getting seafood, as it is their specialty, and very affordable. Another thing we suggest is getting the fresh fruit cocktails (they are actually served inside the fruit).

pineapple drink playa blanca

You can get drinks served in fruit on Playa Blanca.

Snacks

Walking along the beach you will find plenty of people selling an array of snacks. It may get annoying, as it will feel as if every 5 seconds there is someone trying to sell to you. But if it's one thing we really enjoyed, it was the fresh coconut desserts that we found some people selling.


Bargaining

It may seem like we are telling you to bargain for EVERYTHING, and that's because bargaining pretty much is something you need to do all day every day. This is for anything you may be interested in. On one hand, it's good because the pricing can be flexible. On the other a little annoying, as there isn't a single person not trying to rip you off.


Restaurants will present "tourist menus", where the prices are increased. The moment that you say you are going to come back later, or that you are going to look at another option, the prices magically go down.


Try to see what you can get, so you aren't paying extravagant prices. But of course don't be difficult, as these are small businesses that also deserve to make a living from their hard work. (unlike the corrupt transportation system).

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Activities on Playa Blanca, Cartagena

We absolutely loved the vibes at Playa Blanca, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy this beach! We suggest spending the day just soaking up the sun, and enjoying the gorgeous turquoise waters here. Just make sure you bring sunscreen because the sun is much stronger than you think!


If you are keen on doing a little more than relaxing, then there are a few options to choose from.


Water Sports

All over the beach you will find plenty of activities to add some excitement to your day. Some of the most popular activities include jet skiing and banana boats. There are no set prices listed anywhere, so it's looking like another game of bargaining for this one.


We suggest starting low, so that you can eventually come to a better price.


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Get a Massage

When we were having lunch (as well as when we were laying out) we had a couple of ladies come up to us who started to rub our shoulders. Now normally we think it is a little rude to be bothered abruptly in this way, but we have to admit that we really enjoyed it.


Their tactic is to start by giving you "a free massage" for a minute in hopes that you will want more. This definitely worked in our case, as they offer pretty cheap deals. Like any other thing, make sure you agree on a price first. We paid 10,000 pesos (about $3 USD) each for 20 minutes.


Into the massage they will continue to offer you more services or more time. If you like the idea of them using their special aloe creams, or doing different parts, just make sure you are aware of the price difference. Also, make sure that you have cash!


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Visit Another Nearby Island

Not only is this little paradise perfect on its own, but it also has plenty of surrounding islands! Playa Blanca is a great place to hop on a lancha and check out the nearby islands. The closest islands are Isla Chica, Isla Grande, Tierra Bomba (pictured below).


We suggest that if you want to visit an island to do so early. We were trying around 2 pm and all of the shared boats were already gone.


They run for about 10-20,000 pesos per person, and all go out in the morning. You may still be able to find a boat after, but it will be private, costing anywhere from 100,000-150,000 for the ride.

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isla Tierra Bomba, what to do in Cartagena. Colombia

Want to set up an excursion to visit Rosario Islands? Here are a few options you can choose from:


Accommodation on Playa Blanca, Cartagena

When you step foot on the beach, you will be bombarded by people trying to get you to go to their hostels. We loved that all of these places are perched literally right in front of the water. A few of them were super cute, with colorful buildings and hammocks with beds overlooking the beach.


Pretty much all of the hostels will be cash only, and you may be able to bargain in this case. Head all the way to the right of the beach and you will find some of the most adorable accommodation ever! We didn't stay overnight because we didn't know about this option, but it is definitely something we wish we knew about!

playa blanca isla baru drone 2

There are tons of colorful and fun places to stay right on the beach!

Want to book a place to stay on Playa Blanca? Just check the different accommodations on the map below:

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Packing for a Visit to Playa Blanca, Cartagena

Now that you know almost everything you need for visiting Playa Blanca, here is a packing list for what to bring with you:



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Travel Planning Tools

Here are some useful tools that you can use for planning your upcoming trip!

Skyscanner is our go-to for flights, as it lets you search for "anywhere", the cheapest places in each country, and the cheapest dates each month for your destination.

Booking.com is what we use to book our hotels, as you can collect points and get discounts the more you travel.

Economy Bookingsthe cheapest car rentals around the world

Local Rent a Car: for the best local car agencies

Bus Bud: the most complete site for bus tickets around the world

Flix Bus US: the cheapest bus tickets in the US

Train Line: our go-to for trains in a ton of different countries

Omnio: our secondary choice for train or bus tickets

Airalo is a company that offers E-SIM cards for almost every country in the world, to keep you connected during your travels.

Get Your Guide is a site that gathers tours from local tour operators for unique experiences around the world.

Radical Storage is a company that connects you to the closest luggage storage spots so that you can explore on your layovers, or for hotels that won't hold your belongings.


Playa Blanca was one of our favorite stops while visiting Cartagena. We suggest spending a full day, and even a night. This way you'll be able to fully enjoy this beach, as well as the surrounding islands. 


Want to see more cool things to do in Cartagena? We have a full travel guide for what to do in Cartagena.


Ready to start planning your next trip? Let us help! We at Scratch Your Mapa are dedicated to helping you explore more while spending less. Want to learn more? We have our 3 different options for Travel Planning Services, and we can also discuss customizing one especially for you!


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