When you speak of must-see beaches in Cartagena, Colombia, you will hear two named, almost always in tandem: the Islas del Rosario and the Playa Blanca. The first is a small group of islands, the second is a beautiful white sands beach. When it comes to beach-hopping, these are the two beaches you should not miss.
How to Properly Enjoy Playa Blanca
First, Know Your Transportation Options
To get to Playa Blanca, just take a boat or even road transportation from Cartagena. You could take the speedboat for 30 minutes, although it is not ideal if you want some stopovers to go scuba diving or general mid-sea swimming. By bus, motor taxi, or ferry, it takes 3 hours to get to Playa Blanca by land. If you want the general scenic route and dry land under your feet, this is your best choice.
Lastly, if you are taking a tour boat, it will take you around 3 to 4 hours to get to the island. This is because you are certain to travel around several other islands, and stop at several other beaches, before reaching the Playa Blanca. We suggest you try and find a sailboat captain who will take you to the Playa Blanca. They are also more likely to stop mid-sea for scuba-diving.
Second, Know Where to Stay on the Island
The problem with popular beaches is, you guessed it! Other tourists. Tour smart and avoid the tourist entry points on the island. From 12 noon to about 4 in the afternoon, tourists crowd the Playa Blanca to the right as you face the beach. Instead, walk left and the crowds will thin. Continue walking until the isolation is at the desired level.
Further Tips to Enjoy the Playa Blanca
First, Avoid Packaged Tour Deals Like the Plague
The Playa Blanca is worth a whole-day stay, if not an overnight one. Most package deals are the Islas del Rosario tour deals, which will only give you 3 to 4 hours in the Playa Blanca–at the most. Considering that it takes 3 to 4 hours to get to the Playa Blanca by tour boat, and that you’ll need to pay more just to opt in their snorkeling deal, ignore the deals.
Instead, research on the hotels and places to stay at the Playa Blanca, for the whole day or overnight. You will get to spend the whole day or the whole night at the beach, and you’ll still pay less than you will for a too-quick package deal. If you can, have your transportation linked to the hotel fees, so it will be one less thing to worry about.
Second, Go for Hostels on a Whole-Day Stay
Tourists tend to bring their own umbrellas and suffer under the too-little shade the entire day. Instead, walk left (remember that magic left?) and find small hostels renting umbrella-tables and even hammocks for your convenience. The food at the hostels is also reasonably priced, and definitely better than tour package food.
How to Enjoy Playa Blanca: Take Your Time
Playa Blanca is not the kind of beach you dip your toes in just to say you were there. It is an experience in itself, with white sands, blue waters, and wonderful snorkeling spots. To get the most out of Playa Blanca, take your time and enjoy it to the fullest.