We chose in early, clear Sunday morning as the day to take our trip over to Isla del Rosario and Playa Blanca. We met our small tour bus in front of our apartment at 6 AM, and in true Caribbean fashion, every single one of the other 12 people that were to accompany us on this trip were late. Gotta love island time! At about 7:15 AM, finally all loaded onto the bus, we headed to the peer to take the small boat over to Rosario Island. After paying a small entry fee to the pier (approximately 5 US dollars), we all headed to the speedboat to be on our way.
This was no ordinary boat. It really was a speedboat! We were told that we would get to Rosario Island in just under an hour. Zooming past the other slow boats, feeling small splashes of the cool water on our faces, and taking in all the beautiful sites, was so exciting. We didn’t even have enough time to get seasick. The farther we traveled away from the shores of Cartagena, the more blue and beautiful the water became. We did not think this was possible. At one point our captain brought the boat to a stop to allow us to peer into the crystal blue water to look at the many beautiful schools of fish. This pause also allowed us to come up close and personal with a group of young boys out enjoying the day, doing some boating of their own. We were also greeted by moving boat marketers peddling their goods.
Once we arrived to Rosario Island we had the choice of going ashore and relaxing for an hour and a half or going snorkeling. We chose to go ashore and relax on the beach. The water was filled with coral. Hard, sharp coral. This was definitely a time for those sea shoes we see so many people wearing. We didn’t have any. I actually attempted to walk into the water wearing my expensive Fit Flops, but the currents were too strong, and the coral and rocks too slippery. One of my flops broke, and of course I did not have a backup. One of our guides/boat hands, called Chocolate (he says it with a thick Latin accent!), took my shoe, disappeared for about 15 minutes, and returned with the shoe repaired as good as new. When we asked him how he did it, he motioned with his hands as if he were sewing with a needle and thread. Unbelievable! Please note: he did ask, repeatedly, to have one of our dive watches in return. Instead we gave him a hefty tip.
While on the island we enjoyed fresh lobster and ceviche, along with crackers and the local beer, Aguila light, for 5 US dollars. We resisted the urge to go back for seconds and thirds and fourths. When our stay, as brief as it was, on Rosario Island was complete, we headed, via boat, to Playa Blanca. The boat ride took maybe 10-15 minutes. Offloading at Playa Blanca was a bit adventurous. With the help of the boat crew we were lifted from the boat to water, and we walked through the shallow water to shore. We took the armbands we were given at the beginning of the trip to the beach side restaurant, and traded it in for a huge plate of fried fish, coconut rice, plantains, salad and a cup of lemonade. Absolutely delicious!
We spent the rest of the afternoon lounging in a beach chair (chair rental was approximately 7 US dollars), drinking local beer (at about $1.50 US Dollars per can), talking to the many, many, many beach vendors, and loving life! All too soon it was time to head back to Cartagena. Our captain informed us that the ride back would be a little faster and a lot choppier. He was spot on! We sat back and enjoyed the roller coaster ride on the water.
We are researching options for staying a couple of days on Isla del Rosario and Playa Blanca on our next visit. We may also consider paying a boat captain to take us over without all of the group travel hassle.
Day trips from Cartagena to Isla Del Rosario and Playa Blanca can be arranged at one of the many tour guide offices throughout Cartagena for approximately $36 US dollars. While our transportation to the dock/pier was included, we had to make our own way back to our apartment at the end of the trip. We weren’t informed of this beforehand. A taxi ride from the dock to Boca Grande is about $7 US Dollars.