Rosario islands guide how to get and where to go

Rosario islands guide on how and where to go

Ruben Sanchez

We are sure you already have in mind all the things you’re gonna do during your vacation in Cartagena, you most likely have searched google images of the spectacular rosario islands -with not doubt one of the most beautiful places that you can’t miss while visiting the city.

The Rosario Islands are integrated by 28 islands, all of them form a national park created to protect one of the most important coral reefs in the Colombian Caribbean Coast. Only three of these islands are property of the Colombian state. Before establishing the national park in 1977, wealthy families used this natural paradise to build their summer houses, but then government allowed them to keep their properties, only if they paid annual rent and taxes to be there, and complied with certain rules to preserve the ecosystem of the islands.


How to get to the Rosario Islands:

It will take you about 45 minutes to get to the Rosario Islands. There are diverse resorts and hotels that offer you the option of spending the day and take advantage of their premises. The prices vary according to which you choose. Most of them are located at Isla Grande, the bigger island of the park and the only one -between the 27, with native population. Once you are there, it is worth doing at least an hour of snorkeling by the near islands to appreciate the incredible coral formations and the shoals common of the area.

If you travel with kids to Cartagena, you can opt for the Oceanarium at the San Martin de Pajares Island. Both activities are easy to set once you are there and talk to islanders, or ask at the resort or the hotel. If you decide to skip any or both of these, you can surely spend your day enjoying the natural landscaping, beaches, and swimming in the clear waters where you can still see the coral formation that made of this an ecosystem unique in the world.

Where to go in Rosario Islands

Lizamar, Cocoliso, Isla del pirata, Isla del Encanto and Isla del Sol, are the most popular resorts for day excursions from Cartagena to the Rosario Islands; mainly visited by Colombian tourists. Additionally, you can find more exclusive places like Isla Coralina, Hotel Pedro Majagua, and Gente de Mar; the last one, has the bigger beach space, and it is the insider’s pick of the list! Click here to book your spot

Other ways to get around the Rosario Islands

You can get to Rosario Islands if you take a scuba diving mini course or a certificated from Cartagena.
The Playa Blanca tour by boat offers you a brief panoramic tour around the Rosario Islands before getting to the Oceanarium where you can make one hour stop.
If you plan to spend a few days inside the Rosario Islands, in Islan Grande, which is where most of the accommodations are located, you can book your one way trip here.
You can also rent a private boat or yacht, to go island hopping with your travel buddies on your own time!

The plus side of this option, besides being able to choose from different boats and prices, is that you will have the opportunity to visit beautiful hidden islands.


- Do not forget your sunscreen protector, and if you decide to explore the Isla Grande surrounding, bring also the mosquitos repellent with you.
- Do not throw any garbage in the Island, and please bring any leftovers or residues back to city.
- In general, the boat trip from the port takes around 45 minutes. We recommend you to schedule prior reservations with registered agencies; many times, tourists book their tickets with street vendors just to save few bucks, and they get a totally different thing of what they were offered; the worst, is that you cannot not really ensure a place where to even make a complaint about this, and you go back home with an unpleasant experience that will spot your vacations

NOTE: Not all street vendors perform with a bad heart, it is only a few that damage the image, and create a fear among visitors - If you decide to book in one of resorts at Isla Grande, or stay overnight, take a time to walk to the town of Orica located at the middle of the island, to see by first hand the kindness of the native population

- Take some time to do ecotourism, and get a canoe ride to see the beautiful mangroves tunnels, or go to the enchanted lagoon, a vert quiet and tranquil place.
- If you spend the night, and have the budget, then you should really consider going to the enchanted lagoon at night to see the stunning plankton (only visible if there is not full moon)

You can contact us at to know more about prices and accommodations in Rosario Island.

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