Cartagena is a wonderland for water sports enthusiasts with its coral reef-lined shores, open seas, calm bays, and an epic windy season that attracts surfers of every kind. From extreme windsurfing to sunset paddle board sessions and deep sea diving through shipwrecks and coral reefs, at least one of the following 8 water sports in Cartagena will in fact lure you to the water during your trip. I can guarantee it.
Master Cartagena’s wind and waves and you’re in for a thrilling day on your board. The best spots to go windsurfing in Cartagena are in La Boquilla, Bocagrande, and El Laguito, especially in January, February, July, August, and December when the winds are strongest. Don’t let lack of experience stop you from picking up this water sport, as Cartagena’s a great place to learn how to windsurf.
Though Cartagena isn’t necessarily a surfing destination, it is a great spot to learn if you’ve never tried the water sport before. There are schools in El Laguito who rent surfboards and offer surfing lessons. The experienced surfers should head to Palomino instead, located 7 hours west of Cartagena in La Guajira. There, you’ll find the big waves and serious surf.
Snorkeling is a must when visiting Cartagena. The crystal clear seas and coral reefs make for a spectacular experience. The best snorkeling is out by the Rosario Islands, as it’s a protected marine ecosystem with fringing and barrier reefs skirting its edges. If you find yourself on Isla Grande, the largest of the Rosario Islands, don’t miss the opportunity to snorkel Laguna Encantada after nightfall, when the lake’s bioluminescent plankton are visible.
The diving in Cartagena is top notch, thanks in large part to the Rosario Islands and their colorful coral reefs. Dive among abandoned shipwrecks and alongside tropical fish, sea horses, sea turtles, and, if you’re lucky, dolphins. In total, there are 28 dive sites near Cartagena, many of which are in the Rosario Islands National Park.
Cartagena is blessed with perfect conditions for kitesurfing. The thermal winds operate like clockwork and blow onshore, meaning beginners can rest easy knowing they won’t be blown out to sea. For the best kitesurfing in Cartagena, head to Manzanillo del Mar where there are no rocks, boats, swimmers, or coral heads to get in your way.
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6. Stand Up Paddle Boarding
As the sun sinks below the sea’s horizon, grab your paddle and board for a sunset stand up paddle boarding session in Castillo Grande, one of the best spots in Cartagena to practice this relaxing water sport. The seas are calm and there’s really no better place to get that panoramic view of the city against the spectacular light of a Cartagena sunset.
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Kayaking is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the flora and fauna of Cartagena’s Caribbean coast. Paddle through mangrove tunnels, along the aqua waters of Isla Baru or the quiet seas off of the Rosario Islands' Isla del Encanto or Bendita Beach. Warning: Dolphins may or may not join you on the journey.
As a city by the water, fishing isn’t just a water sport, but an easy way to experience the real Cartagena. Hop in the canoe for a mini fishing excursion through the swamps and mangroves of Juan Polo in La Boquilla, located just beyond the Walled City of Cartagena. Learn how to fish with nets and set traps for catching crab directly from the native fisherman who do it on the daily.
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