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“Turquoise Caribbean Waters” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Playa Blanca

Playa Blanca
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$35.00*
and up
Playa Blanca and Baru Island Day Trip from Cartagena
Bogota
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Turquoise Caribbean Waters”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 10, 2013

Getting to this Beach is pretty difficult, it is only possible through a boat that sails every morning at 8:00 am from Cartagena and returns are only at 2-3pm. However once you get there you will see a magnificent turqoise ocean which is worth visiting.

Although it is crowded, on low seasons you can walk away from pople and find quiet spots. I strongly recommend to try to stay there for the night at one of the beachside accommodations which are not expensive (12 to 25 uSD per night). Sleeping in hammocks or camp there ere other options.

A great place to sta definitely going back

Visited March 2013
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1 Thank Rufoandres84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Beautiful Beach -- lots of street vendors”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 2, 2013

In my opinion, this is the most beautiful beach around Cartagena. Blue clear water and white sand. The only negative part --that can be easily ignored-- are the pushy street vendors and massage ladies. You just have to keep saying "No thank you" and avoid eye contact.
However, I do like the occasional vendor selling fruit salads, water, soft drinks, beer, etc.

You can get to Playa Blanca by land or boat. The easiest way is to take a 15 to 20 passenger fast boat from the main pier in Cartagena early in the morning. You get to the island around 10AM. You can arrange to rent a "cabana" for the night so you can really enjoy your time at the beach. Next day, locals can help you arrange similar boat to go back to Cartagena. I think it cost me ~15000COL pesos.

If you get there by land (probably faster), you can take public transportation (bus/cab) to the ferry, ride the ferry across the river (10 mins) and take another bus/cab to get to the beach. It is doable (I have done it) but make sure you have enough information about the schedule. It can take you a couple hours. You can always arrange a cab (150000 - 200000COL pesos) to drop you off & pick you up next day. This is a good option for 3 to 4 friends so you can split the fare or if you don't mind the additional expense. I have done it this way too; faster no hassle.

It is really a beautiful beach. It is worth the trouble to get there. It is better if you stay at least one night.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
Thank FilimelePR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aspen, Colorado
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great time!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 18, 2013

We visited Isla Baru(Playa Blanca) at the end of November of 2012. I would strongly suggest to stay there for more than just a couple of days. There are several cabanas you can rent for about 30-35 dollars per night. You should not expect those cabanas being something like motel rooms. Pretty basic, but close to the shore line, and I mean about 10 meters and hospitality of local people is amazing. We stayed at the place which is known as Pacho Chocolate's place. Just ask any person who will greet you when you disembark. But as I said there are about a dozen of owners who will be happy to rent out there cabanas. We like Chocolate's place because his wife is a great cook. Fresh fish, shrimp, octopus, breakfast, lunch and dinner made to your order from scratch-mmmm! From 9am to 4pm there are a lot of tourist visiting the island from Cartagena. Ask the person who you are staying with about renting a boat and going to the nearby corral reef to do some fishing or snorkeling- you'll have a lot of fun! Again if you need a comfort of a big resort with all- you- can -eat -buffet and guided tours with the lunch provided-this place is not for you. But if you want to enjoy simple but fresh food, nice friendly people and clean unspoiled beach-try it, you won't regret!

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Andre1624
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
43 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“At the end - not a relaxing day”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 15, 2013

As many others we wanted to fit a day at the beach into our trip to Cartagena. We hoped to go to Islas de San Bernardo, but that proved to be impractical for a day. Then the choice was beween going to a private resort somewhere in Islas San Rosario and public beach in Playa Blanca. After asking many locals' opinions we decided in favor of Playa Blanca, thinking that a trip on a less-crowded weekday would negate many complaints heard about incessant vendors on the beach. As we didn't see many recent posts detailing this trip I thought it would be useful to lay out some details about how our day went.

We showed up at the marina around 8 am. The marina is right outside the Old City behind the Naval Museum, basically - walk out, cross the wide avenue and you are right there. All along the approaches to the marina you are hassled by people trying to sell you trips / packages. They even stop traffic for you and help you cross the street in hopes of winning your business. As advised on this site and elsewhere, we ignored them and walked right up to the ticket windows outside the marina. As we wanted a direct trip to Playa Blanca, we went to the window advertising that. The window is staffed by folks from Isla Lizamar company in company T-shirts. I asked for round-trip tickets and was quoted 40K COP pp. Having inquired about the price from locals earlier I offered 35K COP and the offer was accepted without hesitation. They added our names on the list (very important!) and gave us tickets (mostly at my request, since no one looked at them anymore). When asked about the next departure they said 9 am. When asked how long to the beach, they said 30 minutes. We took both with a grain of salt and were correct to do that. Then we paid 12K COP pp to enter the marina itself (this supposedly serves as a park entrance fee, so - legit). It looked to us that the only advantage of showing up early was that we got to wait on plastic chairs under a canopy as the pier was still not very crowded at that time. No boats were going anywhere before 9 am. As 9 am neared more people came in and had to wait standing and not in the shade. Finally at 9:10 am or so agents started coming out of different booths and calling people's names off the above-mentioned lists. They did make an effort to account for all the people on the list, so unless you wander off, you would hear your name called. Then people were directed to different boats and, again, people boarded each boat (ours was for about 30 people or so) as their names were called off the list. We were off the pier at 9:30 am.

Playa Blanca was the first stop that we reached in an hour of uneventful boat ride. About half the people disembarked here (by jumping into, or being carried into) the thigh-high water on the beach. The rest went for the tour package that included snorkeling at one of the nearby islands, then coming to the same beach as us around noon, lunch and time at the beach. We were told by locals on for the tour that they paid 55K COP for the package, so the difference between just the fare and the package is about 10 bucks. In any case, we just wanted the beach and so, finally, at 10:30 am, or two and a half hours after arriving at the marina - here we were.

The Playa Blanca beach is a long and rather narrow strip of sand. It starts were got off the boat and goes for several hundred yards to the left as you disembark the boat. The beach is filled by palapas with loungers and tents with chairs for rent in a non-stop progression with hardly any breaks. There is also a selection of backpackers' hostels with small individual raised huts standing shoulder-to-shoulder. As we came onto the beach there were plenty of palapas/tents for rent. We were told the going rate for a palapa and a set of 2 loungers is 10K COP per day, but could not get vendors to agree to that price (I guess it is reserved for locals) so ended up paying 15K COP ($8-$9). The water near the beach is of the requisite green color, but not completely clear and had some seagrass floating on the surface. As we sat in our longers the procession of the vendors began, with massage ladies being the most persistent. Luckily each of them does not bother you more than once (but there are many). The bathroom facilities are truly primitive - a non-flushing toilet (with no seat, but a charge of 1K COP per use) and a drum with suspect water and a pail for washing. There are vendors selling drinks, water, etc as well as cantinas selling food. We are lunch at Hugo's Place, mostly because I recalled seeing mention of it in another review. We ordered basic chicken dish and it was ok and inexpensive. As people came back from the tours around noon, the onslaught of vendors repeated and soon we were coming back to the boat. We were told to be there at 3:30 pm (the boat was already there and, in general, Isla Lizamar appeared to be a well-run operation). The loading started around 3:45 and we were under way at 4 pm back to Cartagena.

If you are not friendly with roller-coasters you may be terrified by the first leg of the return trip. The northern wind starts blowing every afternoon and it creates waves. So what was a smooth ride to the beach became a high speed roller-coaster on the way back with the boat flying off one wave, falling down, then shooting up the next wave and so on. And the sea was relatively calm that day... Most passengers had fun though. We were back at the pier at 5 pm, so one hour to go and same to come back.

At the end, the vendors' pestering and lack of facilites added to a day that was not nearly as relaxing as we had hoped. We spoke to other travellers who instead went to the Sofitel Santa Clara's private beach island/satellite hotel. They had a good time, but their trip was comped. At the rack rate of $100 pp they didn't think it would have been a good value. The beach is clearly not a reason to go to Cartagena. If one has more than a day, however, combining a trip to Cartagena with a 2-3 day trip to Islas San Bernando might be a better combination.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank Yanik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cornwall, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“A quick Stop”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 3, 2013

Playa Blanca was the last stop on the Rosario tour. I swam in the ocean for a short time. The water was emerald green and very warm. There were many vendors who tried to sell different trinkets.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
Thank jeannette d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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