To get to Playa Blanca, Cartagena you have four options:
- Take the normal tour boats (2-4 hours)
- Take a direct speed boat (45 minutes)
- Go overland (3 hours)
- Direct bus (only on Sunday mornings)
The first two options leave before 10am, the third option is a bus, ferry and moto taxi – which does seem like a real hassle!!
Most people go by tour boat on which you get a fish lunch, and taken to different islands (like Rosario) to aquariums and snorkelling. You will pay between $25,000-$45,000 Colombian Pesos (COP) for this option. This is designed for people who are doing a day trip, rather than those who intend to stay on Playa Blanca.
If you want to skip the touristy stuff and just get there, take a direct speed boat from either of the two ports. You will pay between $20,000 COP ($12) and $40,000 Cop depending on how good you are at haggling!!
If you leave from the main port you will also need to pay $12,000 in tax/park fee.
From the market port you do not need to pay the $12,000 fee, but you do need to find it! It is in Mercado Bazurto which is a bustling market, a few people on our boat found their taxi and the local police were very unhelpful in helping them locate it (they did make it though!).
I have read that boats do not go from here on Sundays. I would suggest getting there between 8-9am to get a spot, you will however have to wait while every space is filled to the brim.
If you plan on staying don’t buy a return ticket as they are not set up to sell multi-days, just find someone to take you back on the day you are leaving – it should cost $15,000 and most of the boats leave at 2-3pm although I heard there is also one at 6am.
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4 thoughts on “Getting the boat to Playa Blanca, Cartagena, Colombia”
Actually, with the new bridge that has been built, there is a very short option by land. I took the Mamallena shuttle from Playa Blanca this morning (Friday) at 11 AM. The bus departs from the Parquadero, about 300 metres away and 300 metres inside from the Police Station (in the direction of the bungalows). Total time from Playa Blanca to Getsemani (under regular Colombian traffic): 1 hour. Cost: 15,000 COP. I had gone to Playa Blanca by boat, which cost me 45,000 + 13,500 tax (I could not avoid the tour touts and the hideous lunch ticket, even though I tried)
Thank you for this added insight!!
That’s great that this bridge is now available! Thanks Mihai!