Playa Blanca Cartagena Colombia

The Ultimate Backpackers Guide

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Playa Blanca Cartagena Colombia

The Ultimate Backpackers Guide


I don’t know about you, but as soon as I heard the words Playa Blanca, I just knew I had to go spend a day on Cartagena’s most acclaimed beach.

Between the name translating to ‘White Beach’ and all of the flawless pictures I saw of this tropical paradise, this was the number one destination I was looking forward to during my stay in Cartagena.

And it’s no surprise that Playa Blanca Cartagena really is quite beautiful… the water is a bright hue of aquamarine, the sand is white and powdery, and the beach is lined with restaurants and bars, perfect for when I work up an appetite after a long, hard day of tanning!

While it’s no surprise that as one of the most stunning beaches of Cartagena Colombia, Playa Blanca would be quite popular among any tourist looking for a beach getaway during their Colombia trip!

While the beauty of Playa Blanca might at first seem like a quintessential tropical utopia, all of the allure and subsequent fame has created a bit of a double-edged sword scenario.

I’m not sure if it has always been this way, but in recent years, Playa Blanca has become a bit of a tourist trap.

Visiting at the wrong time of the day or day of the week could completely hinder your opinion of this beautiful beach.

Being a huge attraction in Cartagena, it was overcrowded and that honestly made it pretty hard to relax on this beach.

Additionally, as one of the most beautiful Cartagena Colombia beaches, you’ll want to know how to properly enjoy Playa Blanca.

It’s not a perfect beach experience in my eyes, so before you visit, you should know what it’s really like compared to what they all the travel agents try and tell you.

Therefore, here are a few things you need to be aware of in order to get the best experience out of this beach!

Keep on reading to find out everything you need to know about Playa Blanca Cartagena Colombia!


The Honest Truth About Playa Blanca Cartagena Colombia

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When travel agents on the streets on Cartagena are offering you day tours to Playa Blanca, they will show you a picture of a damn-near perfect beach. Aquamarine waters, white sand, and practically no people.

Sounds like pure bliss, right?

Wrong.

In reality, the beach is overcrowded to the point where you can barely find a spot on the beach or even a sunbed to rent for the day, and the vendors are on another level of annoying.

As soon as you step off the shuttle bus, you are immediately bombarded by people trying to get you to rent their daybed, jet ski, hostel accommodation or anything else they can possibly think of.

Moreover, if you’re sitting here reading this thinking they will just go away after you firmly reject their first offer, THINK AGAIN!

They WILL follow you and pester you all the way up and down Playa Blanca attempting to get you to rent or buy anything at all from them.

Then once you’ve finally managed to find your own square meter on the beach to catch some rays, you will be hassled by even more vendors who are relentlessly offering oysters, fruit, empanadas… you name it. One vendor even tried to sell me my own shoes.

On one hand, you gotta respect the hustle, however, on the other hand, it is beyond annoying when all you came to do is relax.

While all the other travel blogs I’ve read about Playa Blanca rave on about how everyone must visit this paradise and it’s such a perfect beach, beware of the reality.

Even though some of them do mention how you will get hassled a little bit on the beach, no one truthfully mentions how annoying it actually is… or well how it can be if you go at the wrong time.

Anyway, rant over!

HOWEVER…

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Don’t get me wrong… Playa Blanca is, in fact, a really nice beach.  Although it may have taken a while, I can see how it has become this famous throughout Cartagena.

Like I said before, the beach is picture-perfect, however, I do think it would be a much better idea to stay there for a couple of nights so you can experience it at its best.

That is of course in the evening or early morning when it’s not completely bombarded with tourists.

However, once most of the tourists have left, the reggaetón music starts and you will begin to notice people having some chilled-out drinks on the beach to watch the sunset.

The beach is surprisingly quite tranquil in the evening, so I’d recommend everyone to at least stay at Playa Blanca for dinner and some drinks regardless of whether you choose to stay a night or not.

Either that, or visit Playa Blanca in the low season when there will be fewer tourists.

HIGH SEASON VS LOW SEASON

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The high season is from December till March. This is when a lot of South American’s are on holidays and tend to travel to Colombia.

During January it’s quite windy on the Caribbean coast, and the wind settles down starting in February.

I can imagine Playa Blanca might actually feel more like a paradise if you go there during the low season.

However, be aware the low season is also the rainy season and this runs from May to June, and October to December.

Locals told us that the perfect time to travel there is in July when there are much fewer people, however, keep in mind it is a little bit colder at this time.

Other than this, I think the perfect time to go would be sometime between March and May when it’s still hot and dry, but it’s also in between high and low seasons.

WHAT TIME THE DAY TO VISIT TO PLAYA BLANCA

In terms of what time of the day to go to Playa Blanca, it’s pretty much crowded all day from 10 am when the buses start arriving until about 4pm, which is when everyone is getting taxis and shuttles back to Cartagena.

BEST TIME OF THE WEEK TO VISIT PLAYA BLANCA?

Whatever you do, absolutely do not visit Playa Blanca on the weekend or a public holiday otherwise you experience an influx of locals along with vacationers on the beach.

IS A DAY TRIP BETTER THAN STAYING AT PLAYA BLANCA?

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I would recommend staying in Playa Blanca Cartagena for a night or two if you want to experience it at its absolute best.

This way you will be able to wake up to have the beach literally at your doorstep and still be there to chill once all the crowds dissipate.

The vibes at Playa Blanca at night are much better than they are during the day, so you either need to get accommodation while you are on the beach or organize a later shuttle back to Cartagena if you don’t wish to stay for the night.


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WHERE IS PLAYA BLANCA?

Playa Blanca is located on Isla Baru, which is one of Colombia’s Rosario Islands.

The Rosario Islands are a stunning archipelago located just off of the coast from the city of Cartagena Colombia.

Being part of the Caribbean, once you are in the Rosario Islands you can expect all the beaches to have that perfect hue of turquoise water, and the whitest, softest sand to lay on.

HOW TO GET TO PLAYA BLANCA FROM CARTAGENA

Shuttle Bus (The option we chose!)

The first option (and most popular way) of getting to Playa Blanca from Cartagena is to take a shuttle bus that will drop you off and pick you up from the beach.

If you are confused because of the whole island and bus thing, there has been a bridge built in recent years that now allow Isla Baru to be accessible by land.

The cheapest shuttle bus we found is the Mamallena Hostel shuttle.

It only costs 50,000 COP (which is approximately $16 USD) and they will drop you off and pick you up.

It leaves every day from Mamallena Hostel at:

  • 8.30 am
  • 12 pm
  • 5 pm

Pick up from Playa Blanca is at:

  • 10.30 am
  • 3.00 pm
  • 8.30 pm

It’s an open ticket, so you don’t have to go home the same day you arrive at Playa Blanca.

That way if you choose to stay a couple of nights at Playa Blanca you are still able to use the shuttle service on whatever day you decide to return.

Just be sure not to lose your ticket so you can give to the bus driver!

For more information on the Mamallena shuttle bus to Playa Blanca, visit their official tour website here.

Taxi

Another way of getting to Playa Blanca from Cartagena is to take a taxi there.

This will be more expensive, but you have the luxury of leaving and coming back at any time you wish.

The Cartagena taxi drivers were quoting us around 150,000 COP (which is approximately $48 USD)  for a drop-off and pick-up service.

In this case, they will wait at Playa Blanca until you’re ready to go back to Cartagena.

Boat Tour

The third option of how to get to Playa Blanca from Cartagena is to buy a boat tour from one of the plethora of travel agencies on the streets of Cartagena.

The tour will run all day and you will stop at different spots on the way to Playa Blanca to do some snorkeling.

This is probably the best option if you’re traveling in a group, because you’ll have the boat with your friends, be able to play music, drink and relax on the boat for the entirety of the day.

Or if you simply want to go directly to Playa Blanca, then you could organize a direct speedboat which only takes around 30 minutes travel time.

WHERE TO STAY IN PLAYA BLANCA CARTAGENA COLOMBIA

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Playa Blanca accommodation options are extremely basic so don’t expect anything too extravagant.

You can sleep in a hammock for around 5000 COP a night (which is approximately $2 USD).

Alternatively, you could sleep in a hostel dorm or a cabana for around 10,000 to 30,000 COP a night (which is approximately $3-$10 USD).

There is no real need to book accommodation in advance since most guests who decide to stay the night at Playa Blanca Cartagena book their stay on arrival.

However, it is advised you arrive at the beach sooner rather than later if you plan on staying the night, just in case it does happen to be particularly busy that day.

Better safe than sorry right…

Pro Tip
If you are planning to stay for an extended amount of time in Playa Blanca, then be sure to bring enough cash with you from Cartagena.  There are no ATM’s on the beach so if you run out of money, you are pretty much screwed.

When selecting accommodation, be sure to choose somewhere that provides mosquito nets, otherwise, you will instantly and deeply regret that decision.

WHERE TO STAY IN CARTAGENA

If one day on Playa Blanca Cartagena is more than enough and you do not wish to stay the night then listed below are our three favorite hostels in the city.

DISCLOSURE:
Please be aware that some of the links in this blog contain affiliate links and at NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU, Wild & Away earns a small commission if you decide to make a purchase/reservation.  The commission made from each affiliate link helps to support this website. Please understand that I have experience with all of these booking companies, and I only recommend certain accommodation if I find they will be useful to you. Thank You!

Media Luna Hostel

Perfectly located in the heart of Getsemani, Media Luna Hostel turns it up with a party every Wednesday night in their own nightclub. They also have a swimming pool and a taco restaurant next door!

Click Here To Check Prices For Media Luna On Hostelworld.com

Mamallena Hostel

Although they don’t have a pool, Mamallena is another great hostel located in Getsemani (right across the road from Media Luna).

Click Here To Check Prices For Mamallena On Hostelworld.com

Republica Hostel

The best hostel located in the middle of the gorgeous streets of Cartagena Old Town! They have a pool so it’s the perfect place to keep cool.

Click Here To Check Prices For Republica Hostel On Hostelworld.com


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