Cartagena’s most popular beaches, Bocagrande, Castillogrande and La Boquilla might not match up to the powdery white sands and aquamarine waters of the Rosario Islands, but the trio are certainly crowd pleasers.

  • This Is What We Love

    • La Boquilla offers a more authentic Cartagenero experience, where beach action can be broken up with some baseball in the barrio or a scenic voyage through the mangroves
    • Watersports is also popular in La Boquilla. Waterskiing, kitesurfing and Colombia Flyboard can be found here
    • Packing a picnic and grab a few cold Aguilas to toast the sunset in Bocagrande or Castillogrande
    • The chance to enjoy a day by the water without having to board a boat. Get up when you like and leave when you like. It’s as simple as that!
    • Bocagrande has a number of luxury beach front hotels well worth the glance. Check out our Best Beach Stays Guide for inspiration
  • What You Need To Know

    • Don’t expect bleached white sands and clear waters in any of Cartagena’s city beaches. The activities on the port and surrounding city traffic means the sea isn’t as clean and calm as you might like
    • You can incorporate some of the local beaches into some of our city tours, including Private City Tour, Historic City Bike Tour and The Real Cartagena Tour
    • If you head to Bocagrande, a top tip is to rent a chair and sit under the trees behind the rows of tents set up for tourists. There’s shade, you’re closer to the beach bar and you avoid a hole load of hawkers
  • THE LOWDOWN

    Our Full Review

    Bocagrande

    If we’re honest, Bocagrande beach is far from the Caribbean picture postcard beaches you might imagine when arriving in Cartagena, but that doesn't stop it from being the busiest during high season and at weekends.

    Facing outwards from the bay of Cartagena towards the Caribbean, Bocagrande is a convenient spot to grab some rays if you don't feel like venturing beyond the touristic heartland or you missed the boat to the islands.

    The promenade is easy to reach, and if you don’t mind the rough-and-ready looking sands, it makes for a cheap and cheerful day out.

    Fighting off the hawkers selling everything under the sun is a common complaint but if you sit off the beaten track in the shade of the trees a little further from the sea you can avoid much of the hassle.

     

    Castillogrande

    Cartagena's elite have made this their exclusive Caribbean cul-de-sac. The beach is more laid-back than its unruly neighbour Bocagrande and private members' clubs cater to the segregated needs of the city's high-rolling beach bums.

    Due to protection from the currents of the Caribbean in the form of an underwater wall, built to keep English pirates out, the waters are a little calmer than those in Bocagrande but the sea isn't as clean as you might like thanks to the activities of the port.

    Castillogrande's high-end apartments have less gringo turnover, and therefore less tourist tat to muck through. It can be harder to find restaurants on this end of town, so we suggest packing a lunch like the locals do.

     

    La Boquilla

    If you prefer to keep off the tourist tracks and immerse yourself in the local vibe, then the boisterous locals, bottles of aguardiente and makeshift picnic tables dotted the shoreline in La Boquilla will most definitely tickle your fancy.

    In terms of activities, you’ve got more than enough to keep yourself distracted from the clean, but slightly muddy looking waters. There are plenty of kitesurfing shacks knocking about the beach and you can fuel up on the freshest fish you’ll ever taste in one of the beach hut restaurants afterwards.

    If you’re more flash packer than backpacker, stick to the Los Morros wedge of the strip. There you’ll find Miami-style condominiums with exclusive beach and space club options that boast five-star facilities and great restaurants.

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