Islas del Rosario
Some backtracking to do… let’s go back to Colombia, where away from the mainland and its quaint colonial center, some 25 miles or so off the shore, lie the frequently visited Islas de Rosario. It’s the day trip to take when you’re in Cartagena if you want to see the stereotypically-clear-aquamarine-Caribbean water.
Various agencies offer day tours running between $30-50, cruising out of Cartgena in speedboats to bring everyone to the same area to see the dolphin show. The islands themselves aren’t particularly special and you won’t find the deserted white sand beaches. If you’re going to make the trip out there, I’d recommend doing it more for the experience of being on a boat and sailing than the actual islands themselves; the private charter is the way to go.
I experienced the charter from the side of the person working, rather than enjoying, but the couple certainly seemed to enjoy themselves — who wouldn’t want to hang out on a boat all day, drinking, sailing in clear waters, and taking in the sun. A romantic experience if there ever was one and a good time for me to play spy with my camera;)
Overall I’d say the islands look nice, but there don’t seem to be very many fish around (or at least I didn’t see any) and much of the coral is dead. That’s what happens when tourism doesn’t focus on the conservational aspects — something that’s important to look out for when traveling, especially in developing countries like Colombia.
Most tourists end up in Rosario for a couple hours, but some of the islands are sparsely populated by housing options that blast music during the evening hours. There’s also an island that seems entirely populated by this bar — though it didn’t seem very busy while we were filming. The Islas Rosario are a bit scattered and, though it was the second visit out there, we didn’t get off on any of the islands to explore.
I guess in the end if you really get tired of Cartagena and need to get on the ocean while you’re in Colombia this is one of the places you can go. But it’s not the most amazing, must-see-islands in the Caribbean… I’d say it’s a hit-or-miss type of a trip and it really depends on what you want to get out of it. Yes you can take some pretty photos, hang out on the water, or you can come in a tour, get drenched on the speedboats, and be upset when you only see destroyed coral and no fish.