Cartagena de Indias has a legendary name amongst all the beach and sun lovers of the world, and it is no coincidence. The Colombian city with perfect sea and sand has become a landmark for the real beach fans: Moreover, recent studies have determined that Colombia is one of the happiest countries – and we are sure that all this happiness has something to do with the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Welcome, then, on this imaginary journey through the Miami of South America, Cartagena, a laughing city bathed by the Caribbean Sea and, in parallel, also by the Pacific Ocean. Rich in history, tradition, tropical rhythms and wonderful people, Cartagena will enter your heart in no time. Try it to believe it!

Here are some of the beaches we'd like to recommend for your next visit to Cartagena de Indias:

  • Blanca Beach
  • Castillogrande
  • Rosario Islands
  • Punta Arenas
  • Bocagrande
  • La Boquilla
  • Manzanilla del Mar
  • Marbella Beach
  • Barù Beach
  • Tierra Bomba Beach
  • Mucura Island
  • Azul Beach
  • Punta Norte Beach
  • Linda Beach
  • Tintipan Island
  • Cristal Beach
  • San Bernardo Archipelago
  • Boca Chica Beach
  • El Laguito Beach
  • Cholon Island
  • Crespo Beach
  • Punta Canoa Beach
  • Blas El Teso Beach
  • Las Terrazas Beach

Blanca Beach

Those who arrive at the island of Barù must spend a few hours in the wonders of Blanca Beach, one of the seaside landmarks of this magical destination. Avoid the crowds by arriving early in the morning or after 3 p.m., and take with you everything you need for an excellent day at the beach: beach towel, parasol, a good book and lots of sunscreen. Despite being one of the most popular and crowded destinations in Cartagena, this is a place worth seeing. In addition to the thousand local craft markets where you can stock up on souvenirs, you can enjoy a pink beach that dives into the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea in a one-of-a-kind show. If you visit the island of Barù, you'll stop by the Avario Nacional de Colombia, the Protected Area for Birds where wonderful species can be observed in a relatively quiet setting.

Castillogrande.

One of the most beautiful beaches in the Bocagrande Peninsula, in the heart of Cartagena. If you are passionate about luxury beaches, this is one you have to come to. The world's elite have made it a landmark for luxury seaside life, and has carved out its own personal Caribbean cul-de-sac right here, in Castillogrande. Despite being a beautiful beach, just like that of Bocagrande, there are many resorts here to make it an exclusive area, where you can still enjoy the Caribbean with a little privacy – but not too much. Just off this area, an underwater wall was built to keep pirate ships at a distance, but which today still acts as a barrier for the strongest currents. Castillogrande is therefore the perfect place for enjoying a quiet swim in calm waters, but not as crystal clear as you would imagine due to the presence of the port.

Rosario Islands

If you plan to extend your stay on the island of Baru’, enjoy Blanca Beach and then take a tour to the Rosary Islands, an archipelago of islands near Barù, not far from the coast of Cartagena. Here you enter the National Park, home to Colombia's most beautiful coral reef and the perfect location to admire the local marine wildlife. The beaches are wonderful and as beautiful as that of Blanca Beach, but almost deserted.

Punta Arenas

 

Come to Tierra Bomba for the popularity of the location and stay for Punta Arena, just across from Castillogrande – a 7-minute drive away. Punta Arena is one of Cartagena's best-kept secrets, where locals are ready to meet every need of the tourist, hungry for beaches, traditional seafood dishes and refreshing drinks. Punta Arena is a lovely coastal strip of white sand, with a blue and turquoise sea that doesn't have to contend with the city's urban skyline. If you are looking for a relaxing day under the parasol or need a moment for you, come here. If you prefer, you can also book an island trip with lunch, transportation and "almost" private beach included.

Bocagrande

This is one of the world's most famous urban beaches and, of course, Cartagena. Located in front of the eponymous neighbourhood (celebrated for its skyscrapers and luxury hotels), Bocagrande is one of Colombia's most glamorous locations, with a stunning white, cotton-soft beach just a short walk from the busty urban hustle and bustle. This is where you must come if you're a fan of afternoon sunbathing and nightlife: you'll be overwhelmed by the comfort of the facilities, the luxury, and the access to one of Colombia's most beautiful and best-served beaches.

La Boquilla

Much loved by local tourists, La Boquilla is a popular beach that is located a short distance, to the east, from the historic centre of Cartagena. It may not be the most exotic and wild location in the city, but this is where you have to come if you want to experience beach life in the company of the locals, away from the tourist routine of foreigners in search of bathing perfection. If you're tired of the beach (really?), from here you can also book a boat ride through the mangroves, ideal for taking unforgettable photos and get your fill of unspoiled nature.

Manzanillo del Mar

 

The beaches of Manzanillo del Mar are perhaps amongst the furthest from the urban area of Cartagena, but this is not necessarily a disadvantage: imagine them pristine, beautiful and (relatively) empty. Located in a small town with the same name, about a 35-minute drive from the city, the beaches stretch for kilometres of white splendour, with few tourists in sight. Here you can take unforgettable photos and enjoy the silence and peace in the heart of the Caribbean. It's no small feat, if we can be honest! Among the most beautiful beaches in the area we remember Golden Beach.

Marbella Beach

Marbella Beach is a delightful strip of coastline that stretches between El Centro airport. Frequented mainly by locals, it is a very nice beach that offers a bit of relaxation and lots of quiet. Typically you stop at Marbella Beach to take a picture in front of the huge sign of Cartagena that stands on the sand in this location.

Barù Beach

Known for its beauty that leaves you speechless, the always welcoming climate and the multitude of amenities ready to welcome tourists and satisfy their every holiday need. We're talking about Barù Beach, a short distance from Blanca Beach – the centre of Cartagena's seaside life. If you can only spend a few days in Colombia, all the guides will strongly advise you to spend at least one here – and when you arrive at your destination you will understand why. Barù beach is a 45-minute boat ride from the city, on the spectacular Barù Island, in the Rosario Islands that extend as far as the Caribbean. Barù is by far the largest and busiest, especially since in recent years a bridge has been opened that connects it directly to Cartagena, facilitating traffic.

In Barù, the beach stretches as far as the eye can see in all directions: white sand, soft as clouds, clear sky and turquoise sea that pulls one dip behind the other. The beach of Barù has in recent years become one of the most popular destinations for tourists, but at the same time it is not yet equipped with adequate accommodation facilities. Anyone who goes to this spectacular location is asked to take their waste with them and throw it in the appropriate Cartagena containers, so as to keep the waters and sands clean for visitors to come. Barù can be visited by booking tickets from the multiple tour operators located in the area, but also autonomously – to avoid subjecting you to timetables and rules that often do not fit a relaxing visit. If you can, buy public transport tickets and go on your own to Blanca Beach and Barù Island, so you can enjoy the beauties of the area in a completely independent way. The ticket will cost about 15 euros per person, but it will be worth every single penny if you decide to go to the area early in the morning – in order to avoid the stampede.

Any tips for an unforgettable day at Blanca beach? Book a cabana: Not only are they relatively cheap (about 10 euros per day), but they are comfortable and allow you to avoid the hottest hours of the day and sunburn. Another good tip is to place your parasol or sunbed in an area away from the main entrances to the beach, so as to avoid the traffic of enthusiastic people who, like you, would just like to relax.

Tierra Bomb Beach

Just 7 minutes from Castillogrande, Tierra Bomba is the closest island to Cartagena and offers everything you need for a day of sun, beach and and an envy-inducing tan. Fifteen minutes drive is all it takes to replace the Colombian skyline with refreshing drinks and sky as far as the eye can see. The water at Tierra Bomba beach is still beautiful, but given its proximity to the city you should not expect the unspoiled paradise that you might see on the Islands of the Rosary. Compared to Bocagrande, Tierra Bomba's water is still a wonder where bathing is a pleasure, and the waves are calm – suitable for less experienced swimmers and toddlers. That's why Tierra Bomba is perhaps one of the busiest beaches in Cartagena, and you have to be careful if you decide to take a trip here, especially at the weekend.

If you're looking for the perfect shot, immerse yourself in the Punta Arena waters, where the beaches are beautiful and the amenities are super-equipped to face the peak hours. Here you can admire one of the best sunsets in Colombia and, above all, you can enjoy a bit of Caribbean atmosphere in all the comfort of a resort area. If you're looking for some privacy, avoid renting cabanas just outside the bars and restaurants, while if you want to stay here for the night, we strongly recommend that you buy a package with a place at the beach and hotel included. If you don't want to enjoy one of the typical daily menus at one of the fried plantain bars, you can decide to bring something to nibble directly from a supermarket in Cartagena.

Mucura Island

The island of Mucura is located In the San Bernardo Archipelago, in the Gulf of Morrosquillo – Caribbean Sea. The easiest way to reach this somewhat unknown location is via Cartagena, taking one of the ships departing from La Bodeguita. Mucura is the perfect destination for a day of pure sea and idleness: if we have not yet convinced you to take the trouble to come here, think of the tropical paradise par excellence and multiply its potential. There is nothing here: there are no shops, facilities for activities, excursions, tennis courts, golf courses or any type of accommodation. Sure, there are restaurants, the minimum required for a full day's stay on the island of Mucura: come here to collect shells and take a nap in the sun, be won over by the ultra-affordable lobster, available in all facilities and particularly delicious. Crystal clear sea, blue sky, soft sand like a cloud: You have arrived in Mucura, and here you will enjoy relaxation like you have never experienced it before.

Azul Beach

 

Located on the Island of Barù, Azul beach is one of the favourite destinations for tourists eager for a Caribbean destination without having to move too far from the coast of Cartagena. Here you come to enjoy a beach day in a somewhat magical context, where the sun is warm and the only noise is that of the waves crashing on the beach.  Blue Beach (Playa Azul) is an uninhabited area, where the presence of street vendors and tourists is reduced to almost zero. The spectacular scenery allows you to take incredible photos in a context of unspoiled to beautiful nature. Those who do not want to indulge in the noble art of sweet doing nothing can take part in one of the tours around the island, amongst flora and fauna, or enjoy some snorkelling and a few dips in a crystal clear sea.

Punta Norte Beach

 

A little tropical paradise on Tintipan Island, in the San Bernardo Archipelago. Everyone who visits Cartagena should necessarily plan a little visit here, where the reception facilities are excellent, the beach is an enchantment – also suitable for children – and the food is amazing. You eat great fresh fish while the waves crash on the beach, and you can rent one of the cabanas to fully enjoy the tropical atmosphere of the place. Those who do not want to give up a daydream must pass through here!

Linda Beach

A delightful beach in the heart of Tierra Bomb Island. The pristine white beach plunges into the turquoise waters of a delightful sea. There are few facilities here but the ones that do exist are very efficient and allow the daily stay of tourists in a serene and comfortable environment. As mentioned, Tierra Bomba is just a few minutes' drive from Cartagena, and is the perfect destination to avoid the crowds that can be found in more famous and central beaches. The clean water and the absence of street vendors allow tourists to benefit from the beauty of the location without too much worry about the disturbing elements. Many tourists recommend coming here in the company of a local guide, so as to snatch the best prices from the local restaurants.

Tintipan Island

Few travellers are aware of the existence of this extraordinary island in the San Bernardo Archipelago, a few kilometres from Mucura, between Fuerte Island and the islands of  Rosario. With its corals, sandy beaches and palm sofas to find shade even on the hottest days, this is the go-to resort for those who want a corner of paradise and are not afraid to pick it up. The island of Tintipan has not yet been invaded by mass tourism, but it soon will be: better to visit it now! In addition to a place to enjoy natural beauty and sunbathe in peace, Tintipan is the perfect place to indulge in some snorkelling. We recommend night tours in search of plankton which creates a truly incredible bioluminescence effect, especially in new moon periods. Tintipan also has a variety of facilities offering courses and rentals for kayaking and paddleboarding.

Reaching this island is not as difficult as you might think, and the sporadic presence of "Gringos" makes it a magical place to live a unique experience and fully immerse yourself in Colombian culture, without any tourist compromises whatsoever.

Cristal Beach

 

Unspoiled waters, sky as far as the eye can see and meticulously preserved wilderness. You have arrived at the Tayrona Nature Park in Santa Maria, more specifically at Cristal Beach. It is no coincidence that this location is called this: it is a magical paradise where heaven and water blend on the horizon line and create one of the most romantic atmospheres in Latin America. Come here for the tan and instagram shots, stay for the unbeatable food and snorkelling on the reef that has nothing to do with what you've done to date. Try it to believe it!

San Bernardo Archipelago

Anyone who thinks that the Colombian Caribbean is only in Cartagena has not taken into account the San Bernardo Archipelago, one of the most magical locations of your next trip. The archipelago consists of 9 coral islands located on the Gulf of Morrosquillo, in Sucre. Here we find Boqueròn Island, Cabruna Island, Ceycén Island, Magle Island, Mucura Island, Palma Island, Panda Island, Santa Cruz Island, Tintipan Island and Maravilla Island.

Each of these islands offers a postcard landscape, Caribbean atmosphere, typical and unforgettable food and, of course, a lot of calm and solitude. Those who have a luxury stay in mind should look elsewhere, but with a bit of a spirit of adaptation you can live for a few days on these islands experiencing something truly unique. In fact, some local lords rent Perfect hammocks for sleeping under the stars on the hottest days. The rest of the day is spent chatting with locals, eating and enjoying the sun and the sea. Santa Cruz is the most densely populated island and has more than 1247 inhabitants, 65% of whom do not exceed 18 years of age.

In order to be able to enjoy all the beauties of this extraordinary place it is advisable to spend at least two days here. It is also advisable to bring water with you, as the little available drinking water on the island costs a fortune.

Boca Chica Beach

Cartagena is special, but even the islands that surround it are no joke. Take for example Boca Chica, in Tierra Bomba, which offers tourists crystal clear sea, delicious beaches, a tour in the fort and long walks through the mangroves to glimpses of enchanted paradise. The first lines of defence for Cartagena begin here, in Bocachica, where the almost unknown but well-preserved forts stand majestically guarding the coasts of the Colombian city. In addition to the extraordinary beaches, visit Boca Chica for an unforgettable walk on the colonial walls of the Castillo San Felipe – ideal for those who like to immerse themselves not only in the culture and the sea, but also in the history of the places they visit. Admission to the forts is free. 

El Laguito Beach

 

Many people who come to El Laguito don't know they're in one of Cartagena's seaside gems, a short distance from Bocagrande and, at the same time, far from the crowd of tourists thirsting for accommodation and comfort of the highest standard. Here the beaches are smaller and more modest, and the level of luxury is not comparable to that of the most famous shores, but El Laguito beach is the ideal destination for those who want a bit of calm in the heart of the city. White sand, clean sea and plenty of opportunities to relax and have fun: El Laguito beach is a perfect place for suntan!

Cholon Island

 

Close your eyes and imagine the sun of the Caribbean shining on the calm waters of a transparent sea. Reopen them and welcome Cholon Island, The party island of Cartagena. Technically a peninsula, it is located in the area of Barù, near the Rosario Islands, about a 40-minute boat ride from the Colombian city. It is the favourite destination for travellers looking for nightlife and party spirit that distinguishes some of the world's most beloved islands. In addition to relaxing and enjoying Cholon's tropical climate, there's plenty to do here even when the sun goes down. Discos, clubs, music and entertainment areas make this city the perfect destination for groups of friends looking for the thrill of an unforgettable night.

Crespo Beach

Another of the city's beaches loved by both locals and tourists: we are talking about Crespo Beach, a beautiful line of coastline attached to the city where you can spend unforgettable days based on sun, sea and relaxation.

Punta Canoa Beach

 

Far from the "gringos", as they call them here, and full of surprises. Not too far from La Boquilla, we find Punta Canoa beach, a paradise where you can enjoy soft-sand beaches, crystal clear water and endless sky. Come here to enjoy a tropical paradise and enjoy the seafood and local food. To get to this somewhat magical place, you need to rent a moped and do the last part of the canoe route. The result is a slightly out-of-the-way area that offers endless possibilities of beauty and privacy to those who dare enough to venture there.

Blas El Teso Beach

 

A great alternative to Boca GrandeBlas El Teso beach is located north of Cartagena. Beautiful as a postcard, it allows you to avoid the tourist heat of the most frequented areas and at the same time enjoy a tropical paradise with fewer people around. Here, too, you will find the occasional hawker ready to sell you coconut, sweets, glasses, jewellery and other things, but with a little tenacity you'll be able to rent a parasol and enjoy your slice of paradise avoiding the little inconveniences of the busiest areas.

Las Terrazas Beach

 

Unlike all the other beaches in Cartagena, Las Terrazas stands out for its crystal clear waters, gentle waves and fine sand, ideal for an afternoon of sunshine and tranquillity with wonderful tropical landscapes in sight.

Here you can also rent equipment for diving and nautical activities. Despite being one of the most loved and popular beaches in Cartagena, Las Terrazas beach remains a reference point for those who want to enjoy local food in a context of absolute quality. The beach takes its name right from "La Terrazas", the area's flagship restaurant, where you can enjoy excellent vegetable tempura, fresh fish, burgers, bacon, soups and a huge drinks menu. If you want to stay past sunset, well La Terrazas never sleeps. Come here to enjoy a night of Colombian music and, of course, Samba.

Discover Cartagena with Costa Cruises

 

Take advantage of a Costa Cruise to discover the beaches of Cartagena, such as the beautiful White Beach and Castillogrande. Relaxation and fun await you on white beaches, with stunning backdrops and crystal clear waters.

Depart with Costa Cruises