Playa Blanca: A Day Trip to Cartagena’s Tropical Paradise

Playa Blanca, located on the island of Baru off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia, is a slice of tropical paradise that draws in travelers with its pristine white sand beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Known for its laid-back atmosphere, stunning natural beauty, and vibrant marine life, Playa Blanca offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city life of Cartagena.


Pristine Blue Water Beach At Playa Blanca

pristine blue water beach at playa blanca in cartagena colombia

Playa Blanca, situated on the island of Baru off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia, is a true embodiment of a tropical paradise. Known for its stunningly clear turquoise waters and immaculate white sandy beaches, this tranquil haven offers an idyllic escape from the bustling city life. The beach extends for approximately two kilometers, creating a vast expanse of serene landscape that invites visitors to unwind and bask in the beauty of nature.


The allure of Playa Blanca lies in its pristine condition. The beach is impeccably clean, and the sand is soft and warm, providing a luxurious natural carpet for beachgoers. The absence of rocks or sharp shells makes it perfect for barefoot strolls along the shore. The sight of the white sand against the vibrant blue of the sea creates a striking contrast that is nothing short of breathtaking.


The crystal-clear waters of Playa Blanca are a sight to behold. The transparent turquoise sea allows a clear view of the gentle waves lapping against the shore. The calmness of the water adds to the tranquility of the environment, making it a peaceful retreat for those seeking solace in nature. It’s not uncommon to spot small, colorful fish darting about in the shallow waters near the shore.


The beach is lined with lush palm trees that sway gently in the breeze, contributing to the tropical atmosphere. These trees provide spots of shade, offering respite from the sun’s warmth for those who want to relax on the beach without getting too hot. As the sun sets, the sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant colors, creating a mesmerizing view that adds to the overall charm of Playa Blanca.


Playa Blanca in Cartagena is a real gem for beach lovers. Its unspoiled beauty, serene environment, and the mesmerizing blend of white sand and turquoise waters make it a captivating destination. This beach offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature in its purest form, making every visit a memorable experience.


Despite its popularity, Playa Blanca retains a relaxed vibe, especially outside of peak hours when the day-trippers have left. Staying overnight allows you to experience the tranquility of the beach at sunrise or under the starlit sky. I need to mention that the beach does get overcrowded.


How To Get To Playa Blanca

how to get to playa blanca in cartagena by boat

Getting to Playa Blanca, located on the Isla de Baru off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia, is part of the adventure and there are several ways to reach this tropical paradise.


Getting To Playa Blanca By Boat

One of the most popular and scenic ways to reach Playa Blanca is by boat. This mode of transportation gives visitors a chance to enjoy the stunning coastal views of Cartagena before they even set foot on the beach. Boats to Playa Blanca typically depart from the Muelle de la Bodeguita pier located in the city center of Cartagena, which is conveniently accessible from many parts of the city. The Boats normally leave around 7 am so you will need to be up early enough to catch a taxi to the pier. Depending on whom you book the trip with they may stop by your Hotel and pick you up.


The boat ride to Playa Blanca takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the speed of the boat and the weather conditions. Along the way, passengers can soak in the breathtaking views of the turquoise Caribbean Sea and the lush, tropical landscape of the Isla de Baru. Some boat tours also include stops at other nearby islands or snorkeling spots, offering additional opportunities for sightseeing and adventure.


Upon arrival at Playa Blanca, boats usually dock at the quieter end of the beach, away from the main crowds. From there, visitors can easily explore the beach, find a spot to relax, or start sampling the local food and drinks. The return boats usually leave in the afternoon around 3 pm, giving visitors plenty of time to enjoy their day at the beach. However, it’s always a good idea to confirm the departure times with the boat operators to avoid any confusion. I normally book a day trip to the beach club and it includes lunch transportation and a day bed. You also get access to the restroom and showers.


Getting To Playa Blanca By Bus

Traveling to Playa Blanca by bus is an affordable and relatively straightforward way to reach the beach from Cartagena. The most economical route involves catching a bus from the intersection of Calle 30 and Carrera 17, which takes you to Pasacaballos. The journey is not only cost-effective but also offers a glimpse into the local life that you might miss if you take a more direct, tourist-oriented mode of transportation. The Bus Ride should be less than 5000 pesos per ticket. That is only a one-way price fare estimate.


From Pasacaballos, you can then take a mototaxi to Playa Blanca. This part of the journey gives you the opportunity to experience a common form of local transportation while enjoying the scenic ride through the coastal landscape. Keep in mind, though, that mototaxis are open vehicles, so it’s a good idea to hold on tightly to your belongings during the ride.


Alternatively, there is a shuttle bus service that provides direct transfers between Cartagena and Playa Blanca. The shuttle buses are comfortable, equipped with air conditioning, and depart at convenient times, making them an excellent option for those who prefer a more straightforward journey. Prices for the shuttle bus are a bit higher than the local bus and mototaxi combo, but many travelers find the ease and comfort to be worth the extra cost.


Regardless of the method you choose, the total travel time from Cartagena to Playa Blanca by bus is usually around 45 to 60 minutes. This makes it possible to visit Playa Blanca as a day trip from Cartagena, although many visitors choose to stay overnight to fully enjoy the beach and its surroundings.


Getting to Playa Blanca by bus is a practical and budget-friendly option that adds a touch of adventure to your beach outing. Whether you choose the local bus and mototaxi combination or the direct shuttle bus service, you’re sure to enjoy the journey almost as much as the destination itself.


Getting To Playa Blanca By Taxi

For those seeking comfort and convenience, getting to Playa Blanca by taxi or private driver is an excellent option. This mode of transport allows you to set your own schedule and avoid the potential crowds of public transportation. Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or with a group, a taxi or private driver can provide a stress-free journey to this beautiful beach.


Hiring a taxi from Cartagena to Playa Blanca is fairly straightforward. Taxis are readily available throughout the city, and many drivers are familiar with the route to Playa Blanca. Be sure to negotiate the fare before you set off, as taxis in Colombia typically do not run on meters. A round-trip fare can be arranged, or you can pay for a one-way trip and find a return taxi at the beach.


If you prefer a more personalized service, hiring a private driver might be the way to go. Many hotels and travel agencies in Cartagena offer private car services to Playa Blanca. While this option may be more expensive than a taxi, it often includes additional services like a guided tour, flexibility with departure and return times, and the convenience of being picked up and dropped off at your accommodation. Uber works well in Cartagena but sometimes the drivers cancel on you. I recommend having Indrive on your phone also.


The journey from Cartagena to Playa Blanca by taxi or private driver usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic conditions. The drive offers scenic views of the Colombian countryside and a glimpse of local life outside the bustling city of Cartagena.


Getting to Playa Blanca by taxi or private driver combines comfort, convenience, and flexibility, making it an excellent choice for those willing to spend a little more on transportation. Whether you choose a taxi or a private driver, you’re sure to enjoy the ease and convenience of this travel option.


Getting To Playa Blanca By Motorbike

Lastly, for the adventurous traveler, renting a motorbike can be an exciting and liberating way to get to Playa Blanca. This mode of transportation allows you to set your own pace, make spontaneous stops along the way, and experience the thrill of navigating through the scenic roads of Cartagena.


Renting a motorbike in Cartagena is quite straightforward. Several rental shops are available throughout the city, offering a range of motorbikes that suit different skill levels and budgets. Before setting off, it’s important to check the condition of the bike, understand the terms of the rental agreement, and ensure you have the necessary safety gear, such as a helmet.


The journey to Playa Blanca by motorbike takes approximately an hour, depending on your speed and the traffic conditions. The route is fairly straightforward, following the main highway out of Cartagena and then branching off onto smaller roads as you approach Playa Blanca. Along the way, you’ll be treated to views of lush landscapes and local life that you might miss on more direct modes of transport.


While riding a motorbike gives you a sense of freedom, it’s crucial to remember the importance of safe driving. Follow local traffic rules, keep an eye out for other road users, and avoid speeding. It’s also a good idea to plan your route and familiarize yourself with the local road conditions before you set off.


Reaching Playa Blanca is fairly straightforward, with a range of options to suit different preferences and budgets. Whether you choose to travel by boat, bus, taxi, or bike, the journey to this beautiful beach is sure to be a memorable part of your Cartagena experience.


15 Tips For Visiting Playa Blanca

  1. Plan Your Visit: Playa Blanca can get quite crowded, especially during the high season. Try to arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.
  2. Sun Protection is a Must: The sun can be very strong in Playa Blanca. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.
  3. Stay Hydrated: It’s easy to get dehydrated while spending a day at the beach. Bring plenty of water with you to stay hydrated throughout the day.
  4. Respect the Environment: Playa Blanca is a beautiful natural area. Help preserve its beauty by not leaving any trash behind and avoiding disturbing the wildlife.
  5. Negotiate Prices Upfront: Whether you’re purchasing souvenirs, services, or food, always ask for the price upfront to avoid any surprises later on.
  6. Ask for Menus with Prices: When dining at beachside restaurants, always ask to see a menu with prices before ordering. This will help you avoid any misunderstandings when the bill comes.
  7. Take a Picture of the Menu and Prices: To ensure there are no pricing disputes later on, consider taking a picture of the menu and prices before you order.
  8. Consider an Overnight Stay: To fully enjoy the tranquility of Playa Blanca, consider staying overnight. The beach is much quieter in the late afternoon and evening, and you might have the chance to witness a stunning sunset.
  9. Secure Your Belongings: As with any tourist hotspot, it’s important to keep an eye on your belongings at all times to prevent any potential theft.
  10. Enjoy Local Cuisine: Don’t miss the chance to try fresh seafood from one of the beachside restaurants. Just make sure to ask for prices and take a picture of the menu before ordering.
  11. Check the Weather: The weather can change quickly in Playa Blanca, so it’s a good idea to check the forecast before you go.
  12. Pack a Beach Bag: Don’t forget essentials like towels, swimsuits, and a change of clothes. A waterproof bag can be useful for protecting your belongings from sand and water.
  13. Explore Responsibly: Respect the local community and environment by staying on marked paths, not touching or disturbing wildlife, and disposing of trash properly.
  14. Try Water Activities: Playa Blanca offers various water activities like snorkeling and paddleboarding. Remember to negotiate prices upfront for these services too.
  15. Be Mindful of Currents: While the water at Playa Blanca is generally calm and great for swimming, currents can occasionally be strong. Always take care when swimming and heed any warnings about water conditions.


Things To Do At Playa Blanca

things to do at playa blanca

Playa Blanca in Cartagena offers a plethora of water activities that cater to all types of adventure enthusiasts. One of the most popular activities is snorkeling. Given the crystal-clear turquoise waters, it’s an ideal spot for snorkelers to explore the vibrant underwater world. The warm Caribbean Sea is home to a variety of colorful fish and coral reefs, making for a breathtaking underwater spectacle.


For those who prefer a more adrenaline-fueled activity, jet skiing is available. Riding a jet ski across the gentle waves, with the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin, is an exhilarating experience. It offers a unique perspective of the beach and is a great way to explore the coastline. Safety equipment and brief instructions are usually provided to ensure everyone has a safe and fun time.


Kayaking and paddleboarding are other popular activities at Playa Blanca. Both these activities offer a slower pace, perfect for those who want to enjoy the beauty of the surroundings while getting a bit of exercise. Paddleboarding, in particular, can be a tranquil and meditative experience as you stand or kneel on the board, paddling gently through the calm waters.


Boat tours are another fantastic way to enjoy the water at Playa Blanca. These tours often take visitors around the nearby Rosario Islands, a national park known for its diverse marine ecosystems. It’s a relaxing activity that allows visitors to soak in the stunning views of the surrounding area, and often includes stops for swimming and snorkeling.


Lastly, for those seeking a bird’s-eye view of the beautiful beach and crystal-clear waters, parasailing is an excellent option. This thrilling activity involves being towed behind a boat while attached to a specially designed parachute. As the boat speeds up, you’re lifted into the air, offering an unparalleled panoramic view of Playa Blanca and beyond. In conclusion, Playa Blanca in Cartagena offers a diverse range of water activities, ensuring every visitor can find something that suits their taste for adventure.


Food Options At Playa Blanca

Fried fish meal with coconut rice at playa blanca in cartagena

Playa Blanca in Cartagena is not only renowned for its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters but also for its delightful culinary offerings. The beachfront is dotted with a variety of restaurants and food stalls, each offering an array of mouth-watering dishes that add to the overall beach experience. A highlight of the dining scene here is the abundance of fresh seafood, caught locally and prepared in traditional Colombian style.


Seafood lovers will find themselves in paradise at Playa Blanca. From lobsters to fresh oysters, crab claws, fried fish, and shrimps, the variety is astounding. These are often served over a humble and simple table that stands in the water, adding to the unique dining experience. The seafood is typically cooked in straightforward yet delicious ways, letting the freshness and quality of the ingredients shine through.


The local cuisine at Playa Blanca reflects the coastal culture of Colombia. A popular dish among locals and tourists alike is the fried red snapper, often served with coconut rice, plantains, and a small salad. This meal combines the flavors of the ocean with the tropical tastes of the region, resulting in a dish that is both satisfying and full of flavor.


Visitors booking day trips to Playa Blanca can look forward to included meals that offer a taste of the local cuisine. These meals often feature the catch of the day, cooked to perfection and accompanied by a selection of side dishes. It’s a great way to sample the local food in a relaxed, beachside setting.


The food at Playa Blanca is as much a part of the experience as the stunning beach itself. With its focus on fresh seafood and local ingredients, the culinary offerings here are sure to satisfy your palate while providing an authentic taste of Cartagena’s coastal cuisine. Whether you’re tucking into a seafood feast at a beachside stall or enjoying a meal at one of the local restaurants, dining at Playa Blanca is sure to be a memorable part of your visit.


Estimates Of Food Prices

At Playa Blanca in Cartagena, Colombia, the price of food can vary depending on what and where you choose to eat. The beach is lined with a variety of food stalls and restaurants offering a wide range of dishes, primarily focusing on seafood, which is caught fresh daily.


For those looking to try the local specialties, a typical meal like fried fish served with coconut rice and plantains, would usually cost around 20,000 to 60,000 Colombian Pesos, which is approximately 5 to 15 US dollars. This is a popular option among both locals and tourists due to its affordability and the generous portion size.


Seafood is a major draw at Playa Blanca, and the prices reflect this. A plate of mixed seafood, including items like lobster, crab, shrimp, and various types of fish, can range from 50,000 to 100,000 Colombian Pesos, or about 12 to 27 US dollars. While this is more expensive compared to other dishes, the freshness and quality of the seafood make it worth the price.


For lighter fare, snacks like arepas (cornmeal patties) and empanadas are widely available and typically cost just a few thousand pesos, roughly under a dollar. Fresh tropical fruits and coconuts, another common sight at the beach, are also quite affordable, usually costing around 2,000 to 7,000 Pesos, or less than 2 dollars.


The prices of food at Playa Blanca cater to a wide range of budgets, from affordable local dishes to more expensive seafood platters. Regardless of the price, the food at Playa Blanca offers excellent value for money, given the quality, portion sizes, and the unique beachside dining experience.


Estimates Of Drink Prices

At Playa Blanca, the price of drinks mirrors the diversity found in its food offerings. From refreshing natural coconut water to locally brewed beers and tropical cocktails, there’s a beverage to quench every thirst.


Non-alcoholic beverages like coconut water, fruit juices, or soft drinks are usually quite affordable. You can expect to pay around 3,000 to 7,000 Colombian Pesos, which is approximately 1-2 dollars in US currency. These prices make it easy for visitors to stay hydrated under the tropical sun without breaking the bank.


Alcoholic beverages are also readily available at Playa Blanca and are a popular choice for those looking to enjoy a relaxing day at the beach. Local beers typically cost around 5,000 to 13,000 Pesos, or roughly a dollar to three dollars. For something a bit more exotic, tropical cocktails like Pina Coladas or Mojitos are served at most beach bars and restaurants, with prices ranging from 15,000 to 35,000 Pesos, or about 3 to 9 dollars. Despite being slightly more expensive than non-alcoholic options, these prices are still quite reasonable, allowing visitors to enjoy a drink or two while taking in the beautiful beach scenery.


How To Deal With Vendors

how to deal with the vendors in playa blanca cartagena

The beach is lined with numerous vendors selling a variety of goods and services, from food and drinks to souvenirs and massages, adding a lively atmosphere to this tropical paradise. You need to be prepared to negotiate and agree on prices before accepting services or items from them.


Food vendors are particularly abundant at Playa Blanca. Offering a range of local delicacies, these vendors provide a convenient option for visitors to grab a quick bite without having to leave the beach. Seafood is a specialty, with fresh shrimp being a popular choice among both locals and tourists. Other offerings include tropical fruit, coconut water, and traditional Colombian snacks.


In addition to food, many vendors sell a variety of handmade crafts and souvenirs. These range from colorful woven bracelets and necklaces to pottery, paintings, and other handicrafts representative of the local culture. Shopping from these vendors not only provides a unique memento of your visit to Playa Blanca but also supports the local economy.


Another common sight on Playa Blanca is massage vendors. These individuals offer beachside massages, providing a relaxing experience amidst the natural beauty of the beach. It’s a wonderful way to unwind after a day of swimming and sunbathing or to simply enhance your beach experience.


However, while the vendors at Playa Blanca contribute to the beach’s lively atmosphere, they can sometimes be persistent, which some visitors might find overwhelming. It’s important to remember that a polite but firm “no, thank you” is usually enough to deter any unwanted attention. In conclusion, the vendor scene at Playa Blanca is a significant part of the beach experience, offering convenience, variety, and a taste of local culture.


Scams at Playa Blanca

scams at playa blanca in cartagena. Charged $1000+ Dollars for 4 chicken plates and beers

Charged over $1000 USD for chicken plates and beers


If you don’t take my advice anywhere else this is one of the times you need to pay close attention. There is nothing free at Playa Blanca. No free samples etc. Local vendors will insist that you try some of the foods they are offering such as clams, Shrimp, or oysters. If you are not prepared to pay to don’t accept anything from anyone. There is no such thing as a free sample massage. If you do not want a massage you need to tell them no. They will insist and even keep on trying to rub you or put lotion on you. It is important that you stop them and let them know you don’t want it. You may end up overpaying for the sample you received because first off they didn’t tell you a price.


Now to the Big scam at Playa Blanca. It usually involves meals and drinks outside of the beach clubs. You will have people walk up to you and try to sell you lunch etc. Before you accept food or drinks from anyone make sure that you not only look at the prices on the menu but you take a picture of the menu with the prices just in case a problem occurs when it is time to pay.


There have been many stories about Tourists ending up in fights with the locals because of them trying to overcharge you on things. There was something I read that a couple ordered 2 fish plates and had 4 beers and the local vendors demanded close to $500 USD. Food in Colombia is normally inexpensive for tourists, especially those fish plates, they normally cost less than $10 dollars. Learn more about Travel Scams.


Where To Stay In Playa Blanca


where to stay at playa blanca cartagena

Playa Blanca, located on Baru Island near Cartagena, offers a range of accommodations to suit all tastes and budgets. The island is known for its stunning white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.


Luxury seekers will find a selection of high-end resorts offering a variety of amenities. These include private beach access, swimming pools, spa services, and fine dining options. Rooms are typically spacious and well-appointed, providing stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. Staying in these resorts allows guests to enjoy a relaxing, hassle-free vacation with everything they need at their fingertips. I will recommend Sofitel Baru Casablanca Beach Resort, which is only about 8 Miles away from Playa Blanca Beach. The Resort has its own quiet Beach if you want to just have a getaway from Cartagena.


For those traveling on a budget, there are also numerous affordable accommodations available. These include guesthouses and hostels that offer basic but comfortable rooms. Some even provide communal kitchens, allowing guests to prepare their own meals, which can be a great way to save money. Despite being budget-friendly, these accommodations often come with friendly service and a warm, inviting atmosphere.


Eco-lodges and glamping sites are other unique accommodation options on Playa Blanca. Offering a closer connection to nature, these places provide an experience that is both comfortable and environmentally friendly. Imagine falling asleep to the sound of the waves and waking up to the song of tropical birds. These accommodations often have a smaller environmental footprint, appealing to the increasingly eco-conscious traveler.


No matter where you decide to stay on Playa Blanca, you are guaranteed to be just a stone’s throw away from its breathtaking beach. Whether you’re lounging on the sand, snorkeling in the clear waters, or enjoying local cuisine, your stay in Playa Blanca, Baru Island is sure to be an unforgettable one.


Nena Beach Club & Hotel

Nena Beach Club In Playa Blanca Cartagena

Nena Beach Club & Hotel is an oasis of exclusivity and comfort located on the white sands of Playa Blanca, in Cartagena. This beach club is a haven for those seeking a unique blend of relaxation and luxury amidst stunning natural beauty. The club’s prime location on Isla Baru offers guests an unrivaled view of the turquoise waters and white sands that make this area so popular.


The club is more than just a beachfront paradise; it’s also known for its comfortable accommodations. While the rooms are simple, they provide an authentic beach-side experience, offering a stark contrast to the usual hotel accommodations. These rooms are perfect for those who want to stay close to nature without sacrificing comfort.


Nena Beach Club & Hotel’s services extend beyond its accommodations. The club features an outdoor swimming pool, a shared lounge, a terrace, and a restaurant, providing various options for guests to relax and enjoy their stay. Guests are treated to a welcome cocktail upon arrival, adding a touch of luxury to their beach getaway.


The dining experience at Nena Beach Club & Hotel is another highlight. The club’s restaurant serves a variety of dishes, allowing guests to enjoy a delicious meal while overlooking the breathtaking beach view. Whether you’re craving local dishes or international cuisine, the restaurant has something to satisfy your palate.


Nena Beach Club & Hotel offers a complete beachside experience. From its prime location on Playa Blanca to its array of amenities and services, it provides a luxurious retreat for those looking to enjoy the best of Cartagena’s beaches. It’s not just a place to stay; it’s a place to truly experience the magic of Playa Blanca.


Videos of Playa Blanca Cartagena




Playa Blanca, with its stunning beach, warm waters, and local culinary delights, offers a quintessential tropical beach experience. Whether you’re seeking relaxation on the beach, adventure in the water, or just a break from the city’s hustle and bustle, Playa Blanca promises a delightful and memorable escape. Always make sure you look at the menu before you order food and drinks and take a picture of it. It’s common that scammers will often have 2 of the same menus both with different prices. Don’t leave your stuff lying around because it will end up missing. Make sure to have a great time, you’re on vacation, enjoy.