Islas del Rosario is an archipelago located in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Colombia. Since 1988 the archipelago has been protected as a national park, encompassing a total area of 120,000 km2.
In Cartagena several agents arrange boat tours to Islas del Rosario. A set of small islands out of the coast. Usually the tour include lunch, a visit to an aquarium and a few hours at Playa Blanca. Not included in the price is harbor tax and park entrance (C$10.000 total) and the entrance fee to the aquarium (C$15.000). If you buy your tour at one of the street vendors, don't pay in advance, preferably pay part or all at return in Cartagena. At least one of these tours is to a resort "Coco Liso" which is something like a Colombian butlins. You will be promised a beach, pay a high fee, then disembark a boat after an hour and a half to be greeted with a fairly basic hotel, gimicky pool, and about 6 square feet of beach. Buying a piece of "coral" jewellery from one of the many hawkers, engage them in conversation, and they might lead you to their private beach - quite beautiful, and all the more interesting for having its existence totally denied by the tour operators. The tourist offices in the centre of the old town and a good place to compare the many possible trips to the islands.
There are several island groups within the archipelago:
- Islas de San Bernardo - The Archipelago of San Bernardo is a set of 10 coastal islands, located in the Gulf of Morrosquillo in the Caribbean Sea. Most trips to the islands are organized from the city of Tolú. Since 1996, part of the archipelago belongs to the National Natural Park Corales del Rosario and San Bernardo. It consists of the islands Boqueron, Palma, Panda, Mangle, Ceycén, Cabruna, Tintipán, Wonder and Múcura and an artificial island, Santa Cruz Islet.
- Snorkelling. At Isla Múcura or Isla Palma 5,000COP.
- Eco Hotel Las Palmeras. A family run eco hotel on the Isla Grande.
- Hotel Cocoliso Island Resort, Islas del Rosario (Rosario Islands), ☎ . Cute suites right next to the Sea on the Rosario Islands, perfect for relax.