Updated on 01/25/2024
My name is Frank and I run a travel agency in Bogota, Colombia. Have fun while reading!
The Rosario Islands: A Tropical Paradise
Introduction to the Rosario Islands
Embark on a journey to the Rosario Islands, an enchanting archipelago near Cartagena, Colombia. Part of the nation’s 59 national parks, these islands offer a rich tapestry of experiences for travelers. This paradise is only 45 minutes away from Cartagena.
Discover the Rosario Islands
- Diverse Attractions: Choose from 28 islands, each offering unique experiences from relaxing beaches to exclusive villas.
- Marine Life: Engage in snorkeling and diving to explore the rich coral reefs around Isla Grande, Isla del Pirata, and Isla del Encanto.
- Bioluminescence: Experience the rare wonder of swimming with bioluminescent plankton in Laguna Encantada or Baru Island.
Travel to the Rosario Islands
- Boat Tours from Cartagena: Various options cater to different budgets. Beware of overcrowded tours and hidden costs.
- Private Boat Tours: Customize your itinerary for a more luxurious experience with reputable providers.
- Sailboat Charters: Spend days exploring the islands; research online or negotiate directly at ports.
- Hotel Options: Some hotels, like Hotel Casa San Agustin, offer private beach access and organize activities.
- Party Atmosphere: The “Booze Cruise” to Cholon Island offers a vibrant party experience on weekends.
- Ground Transport: To Baru you also will find many providers with buses, vans and cars.
Be Careful What And Where You Book
When planning a trip to the Rosario Islands or Baru, keep these key points in mind for a safer and more enjoyable experience:
- Choose Reputable Tour Operators: Research and select tour providers with good reviews and transparent practices. Quality and safety standards can differ greatly.
- Beware of Hidden Costs: Many tours advertise low initial prices but may include extra charges for activities, meals, or access to specific areas. Always ask what’s included in the price.
- Sustainable Tourism: Opt for environmentally friendly activities that respect the local ecosystem. Avoid tours that harm wildlife or contribute to pollution.
- Seasonal Considerations: The time of your visit can impact your experience. Peak seasons might lead to overcrowded areas, while off-peak times may offer a more tranquil atmosphere but with different weather conditions.
- Verify Accommodation Details: Ensure your accommodations, especially in remote areas, are confirmed and meet your expectations. Check for amenities and accessibility.
- Negotiate and Confirm Prices: Especially in tourist spots, prices may be inflated. Don’t hesitate to negotiate and confirm costs upfront, particularly for additional services or excursions.
- Stay Informed About Local Conditions: Keep up-to-date with local weather forecasts, sea conditions, and any travel advisories that could affect your trip.
- Street Vendors: Such tours are also sold by street vendors throughout Cartagena. That’s not always serious. I should know, I know some of them personally.
Delightful Cuisine in the Rosario Islands: A Guide for Food Enthusiasts
Savor the Local Flavors
The Rosario Islands are a haven for seafood aficionados. Indulge in the local specialty – fresh fish accompanied by aromatic coconut rice. This dish is a must-try for its authentic Caribbean flair.
Dining Options Across the Islands
- Hotel Dining: Some tour packages include meal stops at hotels offering a variety of cuisines.
- Local Delicacies: Experience the unique opportunity of enjoying meals catered by local fishermen, available on certain islands and beaches.
Navigating the Culinary Landscape
- Be Price-Conscious: The area has witnessed an increase in overcharging practices. Restaurants on Cholon Island, for example, are known for high prices for modest and low quality portions.
- Smart Dining Choices: Exercise caution and judgement to avoid overpriced establishments. Prices at these spots can exceed what is typically charged in high-end restaurants across Colombia.
- Awareness for International Visitors: Foreigners may face inflated prices. Always ask for the cost upfront, even for items as simple as a beer.
- Seek Authentic Experiences: Explore local eateries that offer fair pricing for a genuine taste of the islands’ culinary delights.
- Special Case Playa Blanca: There are frequent reports of fraudulent prices, sometimes 20 times the normal price.
Ensuring a Pleasant Dining Experience
To fully enjoy the gastronomic pleasures of the Rosario Islands, staying informed and making wise choices is key. This approach not only supports local businesses but also enhances your overall culinary journey in this Caribbean paradise.
Baru and Playa Blanca: Island Highlights
Baru: A Peninsula of Luxury and Serenity
- Premier Accommodations: Home to some of the region’s most exquisite hotels, including the acclaimed Hotel Las Islas.
- Scenic Beauty: Known for its stunning beaches and a quaint village, Baru offers a picturesque and peaceful setting.
- Cultural Experience: Experience the unique charm and tranquility of local life in Baru, making it a perfect retreat.
Playa Blanca: Vibrant but Crowded
- Popularity and Changes: A popular day trip destination from Cartagena, Playa Blanca has undergone significant transformations in recent years.
- Bustling Atmosphere: This beach area has evolved into a lively and noisy destination, marked by an influx of tourists and water sports activities.
- Vendor Presence: The increased number of vendors, offering goods and services, can impact the relaxing beach experience, with constant solicitation being a common occurrence.
- Boats and Jet Skis: When swimming you sometimes have to be careful not to get run over.
Accommodations in the Rosario Islands
A Variety of Staying Options
- Diverse Choices: The Rosario Islands offer a wide range of accommodation options, catering to different preferences and budgets.
- Unique Experiences: From staying on boats to exploring villas on private islands, the choices are diverse and unique.
Considerations for Island Stays
- Mixed Experiences: Traveler reviews indicate varied experiences, suggesting the need for thorough research before booking.
- Remote Location Challenges: Due to the islands’ remote nature, occasional service disruptions like power outages and limited staff availability are possible.
- Being Prepared: When opting to stay on the islands, it’s advisable to be ready for these potential inconveniences to ensure a more comfortable and enjoyable visit.
Tips for Visiting the Rosario Islands
Essential Travel Tips
- Advance Planning: Research thoroughly in accordance with your personal preferences and budget constraints.
- Service Documentation: Ensure to document all advertised services and double-check for any hidden or additional costs.
- Dining Expenses: Exercise caution regarding meal prices. Always inquire about the cost before ordering to avoid surprises.
- Price Negotiations: Be particularly vigilant about inflated prices, especially as a foreign traveler, and don’t hesitate to negotiate.
- Avoid Fights: If you have screwed over, you should refrain from physical confrontation. The local vendors stand together and there are many of them.
Making the Most of Your Visit
By adhering to these tips, you can enhance your experience in the Rosario Islands, ensuring it is both enjoyable and aligned with your expectations.
The Best Time to Visit the Rosario Islands
- Dry Season (December to April): Ideal for sunny weather and outdoor activities. Note that this period is the peak tourist season, leading to higher prices and larger crowds. Early booking of accommodations and tours is recommended.
- Wet Season (May to November): Characterized by lower prices and fewer tourists, offering more tranquility. However, prepare for rainier conditions, which might impact water activities like diving and snorkeling.
Colombia Travel Guides
Here you will find travel guides for the most popular regions in Colombia, which we have put together during our extensive travels around the country.
- Colombia Travel Guide
- Bogota Travel Guide
- Medellin Travel Guide
- Santa Marta Travel Guide
- Cartagena Travel Guide
- La Guajira Travel Guide
- Llanos Travel Guide
- Providencia Travel Guide
- Coffee Triangle Travel Guide
- Amazonas Travel Guide
- Choco Travel Guide
- Santander Travel Guide
- Boyaca Travel Guide
- Villa de Leyva Travel Guide
- San Andres Island Travel Guide
- Tayrona Park Travel Guide
- Palomino Travel Guide
- Cali Travel Guide
- Heritage Towns Colombia Travel Guide
- 7 Wonders of Colombia
- Chicamocha Canyon Travel Guide
- Colombia Golf Travel Guide
- Colombia Museums Guide
Travel Guides to Colombia’s Small Towns
Here you will find travel guides for less popular destinations in Colombia. Some of these destinations are even real insider tips and not even known to the Colombians as travel destinations.
- Monteria Colombia Travel Guide
- Magangue Colombia Travel Guide
- Turbo Colombia Travel Guide
- Arauca Colombia Travel Guide
- San José del Guaviare Colombia Travel Guide
- Pasto Colombia Travel Guide
- Tunja Colombia Travel Guide
- Armenia Colombia Travel Guide
- Villavicencio Colombia Travel Guide
- Ibague Colombia Travel Guide
- Quibdo Colombia Travel Guide
- Manizales Colombia Travel Guide
- Yopal Colombia Travel Guide
- Popayan Colombia Travel Guide
- Barranquilla Colombia Travel Guide
- Barrancabermeja Colombia Travel Guide
- Valledupar Colombia Travel Guide
- Sincelejo Colombia Travel Guide
- Tulua Colombia Travel Guide
- Tumaco Colombia Travel Guide
- Palmira Colombia Travel Guide
- Neiva Colombia Travel Guide
- Buenaventura Colombia Travel Guide
- Ipiales Colombia Travel Guide
- Mitu Colombia Travel Guide
- Mocoa Colombia Travel Guide
- Puerto Carreno Colombia Travel Guide
- Puerto Asis Colombia Travel Guide
- Cucuta Colombia Travel Guide
- Pereira Colombia Travel Guide
- Bucaramanga Colombia Travel Guide
- Riohacha Colombia Travel Guide
- Florencia Colombia Travel Guide
- El Carmen de Bolivar Colombia Travel Guide
- Aguachica Colombia Travel Guide
- Sogamoso Colombia Travel Guide
- Inirida Colombia Travel Guide