Rosario Islands: A breathtaking national parkT he Rosario Islands (Islas del Rosario) are one of the most breathtaking Natural Parks of Colombia, composed of a series of 28 islands and an extensive shelf of coral reefs; this combination of different ecosystems creates an incredible paradise of color and natural beauty.
This park was created to protect the coral reef, which is the biggest reef on all of Colombia, and to protect the ecological balance of the region. This park extends 420 kilometers, and boasts scenary that is full or animal and plant life, crystal-clear waters, corals of different colors, mangroves, forests,wetlands, beaches and fields of sea-grass, among others. For all these reasons, this is a place that you can’t miss.
What other places can I visit at Rosario Islands and what is there to do?
There are lots of places to visit at Rosario Islands (Islas del Rosario); the majority of these islands are private, and there are only three public islands. For this reason there are different options and tourism plans that you can find in the city of Cartagena or even in the hotel you stay in.
There are exclusive resorts, depending on the season and how you would like to do things. For example, in Isla Grande (Big Island), you can find various plans of things to see or do which, among other things, offer recreational and certification classes for diving for one or more nights, or just one day of relaxation. Beyond this, you can find other islands to visit for adventures, like Cocoliso, the Isla del Pirata, Lizamar, Isla del Encanto, and the Isla del Sol; all of these islands are included in the different tourism packages of Cartagena, Isla del Rosario y Playa Blanca.
The “Open-air Aquarium” can be found on the docks of the island San Martín de Pajares, and is considered one of the best aquariums in all of the Caribbean. This is an ideal plan for both the kids and the rest of the family! The main attractions of the aquarium are the trained sharks, the dolphins that jump, play and applaud, and behind the thick glass you can see starfish, manta rays and an immense variety of colourful fish.
Other islands of interest are the Majayura and Pavitos Islands. These are small islands that are protected by the state. Thanks to their unique ecosystems of colourful reefs, these islands are perfect for exploration, contemplation and ecological tourism.
How to get to the Rosario Islands?
To go from Cartagena to the Rosario Islands (Islas de Rosario), the trip takes about 45 minutes by boat. It is very simple! Once you are in the city of Cartagena, the hotels offer various deals at Resorts and day-passes to these destinations; also, you can find tour packages, but you have to verify that the company you’re dealing with is certified!
Another option is to go directly to the Muelle de Cartagena (Cartagena docks) where you will be offered many possibilities for travel: prices range widely, and you choose the most preferable option. One of the alternatives is a day-pass that includes a visit to the Aquarium and to Playa Blanca with transport included from your hotel to the Muelle de Cartagena. The return trip is generally at 3 P.M. because of high tide. It is also possible to get a day-pass for just Playa Blanca, where you can go to have a delicious fish lunch in the shade of a typical restaurant. Here you read more about Playa Blanca.
Last, you have the other possibility of renting a private motorboat for a group of friends or a family so that you can go at your own pace.