CARTAGENA | The Rosario Islands (Islas del Rosario) is an archipelago located off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia. It’s a beautiful and ecologically important part of the country, designated as one of the 46 Natural National Parks of Colombia in 1988.
The area is home some of the most important coral reefs in the Caribbean, along with the associated ecosystems, and numerous species of seaweed and animals. Being protected, the area is very well preserved and natural. It’s a popular spot for visitors, attracted to the pristine environment.
The best way to see the Rosario Islands is as part of an organised tour. Tours generally leave from the centre of Cartagena’s old city for Playa Blanca – Isla Baru by car. The long beach is full of golden sand and clear blue ocean. There are a lot of bars and eateries along the beach, and it can get quite crowded.
Most tours will include some time on Playa Blanca, but the majority of the time is spent on boat, island hopping and enjoying relaxing, relatively secluded beach time while snorkelling, swimming, and fishing. Many of the smaller islands also have pop-up bars where you can grab a drink or a bite to eat. Seafood is abundant and caught daily to enjoy freshly cooked.
If an organised tour isn’t your thing, another option is to hire a private boat to show you around. If you can get a small group together, this option can be quite cost effective.
You can visit the Rosario Islands as a day trip, but if you want to extend it out, there’s no shortage of beachside accommodation covering a variety of budgets from backpacker hostels to luxury villas.