Playa blanca, why we are disappointed with this beach!

Playa blanca, why we are disappointed with this beach!


Playa Blanca beach was unfortunately a disappointment, and we’ll explain why. Discover the story of a trying day!


We were looking forward to resting on the Caribbean coast. That’s why Playa blanca, off the coast of Cartagena, this pretty colonial town, was for us a stopover that rhymes with sun, white sand beaches and turquoise waters.

I invite you to read all our other articles on Colombia to help you prepare for your trip:


We hesitated for a long time over which tour or island to choose, and our choice simply fell on a return boat trip to Playa blanca on Baru Island. Exit Isla Rosario and its dolphin show, Exit snorkeling. We just wanted to relax on the beach! The tours on offer generally combine Playa blanca and Isla Rosario in the same day so we negotiated a stop on the way to Playa blanca and then a stop on the way back to pick us up while the other travellers discovered Rosario and its dolphin show! Simple no? (if you could avoid doing so, because it’s not ethical to see dolphins in a park). All we had to pay for was transport and the meal included for 45000 pesos/p.

So far so good! But the first problems began in the morning. Do I look happy in this photo? Yet I was only able to take full advantage of the water for an hour!



The appointment was at 8.30 am on the platform for a 9 am departure, but we left at 9.40 am, i.e. a 1 hour 10 minute wait in stifling heat! It would have felt like Africa, on a port where merchants shout what they have to sell, all in an innumerable crowd! See the image?

Hundreds of passengers, seated or standing, waited to board in their lanchas, while the people in charge shouted first names, read indecipherable sheets of paper and shouted at each other! Disorganization like you wouldn’t believe! There weren’t enough boats for everyone, so we had to wait and wait. Unfortunately I lost patience and went straight to the captain of the lancha who replied: “tranquila, tranquila, vamos vamos”.

But of course, we never left right away!

Anyway, let me cut to the chase. We obviously left late and learned that the winds were going to pick up in the middle of the day so instead of leaving Playa Blanca at 3pm, we had to leave at 2pm for our safety! Second good news of the day: time on site is getting shorter.

Arriving at Playa blanca at 10.20am, we thought we’d finally get to enjoy it! Well, not yet, our captain has changed his plans and decided to pick us up at 12:30 instead of the advertised 14:00! He decided to change his plans without warning us and insisted that we take the tour including Isla Rosario. Imagine our faces! We were disappointed to have to wait for everyone to get off the boat so that we could make our way together to lunch, a landmark on an extremely crowded beach! (I can’t even imagine the weekend!)

Discussions ensue, as do misunderstandings about appointment times. Everyone is lost and just wants to make the most of the little time left!

Disorganization like you can’t even imagine! All because we left last and late! The other boats kept to their itineraries and the customers found good captains!

10 years ago, Playa blanca was a hidden and unspoilt place, no hotels, no restaurants, a coral reef present! Today this beach is invaded but I mean invaded by local and foreign tourists! It’s almost impossible to put your towel down on a piece of sand, as all the restaurants and deckchair rental companies are right next to each other! A little further on, we managed to find a piece of sand that must have been 10 m2 in size, which we shared with a dozen other travellers! Below are a few photos of the beach during the week, so imagine the weekend!



The water is beautiful and indeed turquoise, but it’s impossible to really relax in this environment: every 5 minutes a drinks vendor, masseuse or pareo saleswoman approaches you. It really is THE FAIR! When you don’t see tourists in the water, it’s because I rushed out at lunchtime to capture a few shots! At lunchtime and at the end of the day, the restaurants are full to bursting, garbage is piling up, the locals are throwing their garbage on the sand just behind in short big big disappointment for Playa blanca!

So do you still want to go? Colombia is full of pretty little islands that deserve more attention than Playa Blanca. I don’t want to put you off this place, but look out for the less touristy beaches.




  • Isla del pirata or Isla del encanto are islands where you can stay at a resort all day.


  • Avoid company Ocean and Land, taquilla 4 (counter 4) even if prices are better. They understand nothing! In fact, I don’t think all these companies know how to organize themselves. Cost of lancha 45,000 pesos/p


  • Avoid taking a fishing boat to Playa Blanca because the locals do it somewhat clandestinely, without the port’s approval!


  • You can get to Playa Blanca by bus (about 1h30 with traffic jams on the way back) but the shipping companies will forget to tell you of course! For 45000 pesos round trip, a bus takes you to this beach which has been accessible for 3 years by a bridge because Playa blanca is a peninsula! Take the bus to the centenario park or ask an agency to organize it for you. Cab ride 80000 pesos and you can leave whenever you like.


  • Sleeping at Isla grande or Rosario? This is what we wanted to do to avoid the crowds and enjoy a few hours on the beach without tourists. Only, the hotels never replied by email or phone, so it was impossible to know if they had a room available for one night! Cost of Lancha 60 000 pesos/p.


  • Santa Marta bus -> Tayrona Park, 1 hour drive, cost 7000/p


  • Don’t go to Playa Blanca during the Colombian holiday season, such was our mistake. Find out about their vacations (January) before you go. We have friends who went there in August and they didn’t see the mass tourism!

Before you leave, don’t forget to read all our other articles on Colombia to help you prepare for your trip:




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