One of the must-do tours from Cartagena is Playa Blanca, on Isla BarÃº. This is the dream beach: A palm-shaded white strand of fine sand skirting a crystalline turquoise sea. Many dream of a paradise like this, of passing the days swaying in the hammock, going for a swimâ€”swaying in the hammock some more until lunch with an Ã¼ber-fresh fish, then an afternoon siesta (swaying in the hammock) before kicking back to watch the sunset, drinking a coco loco. Such a place is perfect for easing away weeks of hard travel and hiking.
Most Cartagena visitors come to Playa Blanca only for the day. For several hours, the beach is strewn with folks playing in the sun and surf. Vendors stroll the beach, selling everything from snacks and drinks, to kitsch souvenirs and shell necklaces, to massages. When the last boat leaves before sunset, then quiet begins to reign.
But staying on to watch the moonlight snake across the quiet waves is possible. Several luxury resorts have set up on Isla BarÃº, like Mona Prieta, which has two deluxe cabaÃ±as to let (URL: www.monaprieta.com) and the national hotel chain Decameron (URL: www.decameron.com). Playa Scondida also has bungalows (Ca Larga 8B-55, GetsemanÃ. Tel: 5-664-2923, URL: www.playascondida.com).
Unfortunately, the days of cheap options on Isla BarÃº are coming to an end. Camping Wittenberg has moved on to SapzurrÃ³. One of the few options left is Hugoâ€™s Place, which has camping, hammocks and rooms, and a water sports school. Expect a party atmosphere. Some women have reported feeling uncomfortable, though (Tel: 310-716-1021, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Travelers coming on day trips to Playa Blanca usually hop on a tour from Cartagena ($20-28). For cheaper alternatives, see Getting to and away from Cartagena. An overland route does exist. From near the India Catalina monument, take a buseta to Pasocaballos ($1) and from there a ferry across the Dique del Canal ($0.50). Once on the island, take a mototaxi to Playa Blanca ($6-8). To get back to Cartagena, negotiate for a seat on a returning tour boat ($6-12).
Other Activity, Beach Types:
Beach, Snorkeling, Bars, Restaurants
Relative price: Mid-Range
Travel Skills: None
You Need to Bring:
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