Playa Blanca and Isla de Baru

Cartagena Playa Blanca

For such a beautiful city Cartagena´s local beach Bocagrande is not really one to write home about. Luckily there are other options available for those looking to cash in on the Caribbean sunshine and one of the best is to take a trip to Isla de Baru to visit the spectacular Playa Blanca.

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Referring to Baru as an island feels a bit like cheating – it is effectively a peninsula  a man-made channel to detatch it from the mainland – but once you´re lying on the brilliant white shores staring at the bright blue sea you´re hardly likely to care! There´s no denying that the beach is not as pristine as those that can be found in Parque Tayrona, but on a sunny day it still looks like a tropical paradise.

There are plenty of restaurants along the beach-front offering the standard Colombian meat/fish, rice & beans, and if you´re lucky you may find someone walking the beach offering to cook you up their latest catch of the day!

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Main Beach Playa BlancaGiven that Baru is not really an island it does give you a couple of options for getting there. Most people chose to buy a return ticket ($35,000) for one of the organized boat tours that departs from the main harbour in Cartagena. Get down there early as the boats leave between 8:00 am and 9.00am. On the way you will stop at the beautiful Islas de Rosario where there is the opportunity for some snorkeling, and also an aquarium and dolphin show ($15,000 additional cost) before arriving at Playa Blanca in time for lunch.

The alternative is to make the journey overland; public transport by bus can get you to Pasacaballos, where you can then make the short ferry crossing over the Canal del Dique to Baru. From there you can take a moto-taxi (at your own risk!) to Playa Blanca – the whole journey shouldn´t cost you more than $12,000.

If you have a group of 4 and want to travel in comfort you can also get a taxi all the way from the Cartagena harbour to Playa Blanca for about $80,000.

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Musician at Sunset, Isla BaruThere are plenty of places to stay in Playa Blanca with little to choose between them;most offer hammocks on the beach front for $6,000-$8,000, though there are also a couple of places where for a bit extra you can get a private cabin with sea views.

In general the further you walk down away from where the boats come in, the quieter and nicer the beach is. This also applies for if you are looking to get some peace from the many vendors walking the beach offering massages, fruit & drinks and souvenirs.

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=>Many people just visit Playa Blanca for a day trip (boats return 3.30pm), but if you want to avoid the masses of day-trippers and get the best from the beach we recommend staying a night or two. Just bear in mind that there´s not much in the way of running water so you´ll probably be bathing in the sea!

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Cartagena was the center for slave commerce during the XVI and XVIII Centuries in Colombia, it ended in 1801.

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