This Post was made to talk about the Rosario Islands with private beaches, if you are looking for information related to public beaches such as Playa Blanca, Agua Azul and Cholón; We already talked about them in another post..
Most of the tourists who visit us get confused when they want to go to the Rosario Islands, and it is normal, since it is an archipelago of 28 islands, all different from one another. Even more so when you find many options on the street with different prices and names.
Which one to choose, then? What do I know will be the best option for me? If I just want to go enjoy a relaxing day at the beach, what will be my best option? If, on the other hand, I want to party, then what will be the best? And if I come with my family and children, what would be a good option for me?
As an operating agency, we are always asked: which is the best Island tour? And the answer is it depends. It depends on your expectations, your budget and what you want to do.
For many years we have seen many people complain or not be very satisfied with what they were sold vs the experience they had, either because they expected a bigger beach, or were looking for more music or party, or because they are simply used to better facilities.
Therefore, in this post we will tell you about the different islands (with private beaches) that we recommend and offer on our website, and we will also provide you with photos, videos and a description as detailed as possible of each one of them. Since we have visited all of them, and we know what their pros and cons are, so that you know them and have more information to make a decision based on your budget and expectations.
To make this reading easier for you, we classify them into 4 groups: The party islands, the family islands, the islands with great beaches, and the islands with a little bit of everything (the others).
Table of Contents
We will start with the group of islands or tours that interest those who are looking for a party, in this group we have 3 recommended islands or tours: Bora Bora, Pao Pao, and the VIP 5 Islands Tour (The 5 islands tour visit only public beaches, but it was included in this guide, because it visits one of the most popular party islands, which is Cholón).
If partying is not your goal to go to the islands then we recommend that you skip the list of this guide to island number 4, where we will start talking about facilities, beaches, activities and family.
Bora Bora Beach Club
Let’s start by saying that Bora Bora is not an island in the first place, it is an extension of beach located on an island called Isla Grande. Where its owners offer this Rosario islands day tour service and have added a party touch with DJs and a beach club that has made this place so popular and visited by movie stars such as Luke George Evans.
If it’s so popular, then what are the cons of this place? Well, one of the problems of Bora Bora is its short beach space for its visitors, especially for the high tide season in December to February, it practically runs out of beach. So if you are just looking to spend a relaxing day at the beach, this place is not for you, or if you are looking for a place for your family (husband, wife, children), since the atmosphere is partying, and sometimes it gets a bit heavy.
But if, on the other hand, your intention is to have an unforgettable party day on an island, with an excellent view and a spectacular atmosphere, good music, and DJs, then this should be your choice. Now we are going to be more detailed with the facilities that you will find and with the tour options that they offer:
Bora Bora Island has two main areas: The Beach Club and the House Club. And depending on the area you choose, it will be the experience you will have and the money you must pay. In the first two areas, the value of the tour includes transportation from the pier to the island round trip by speedboat, a welcome drink, access to the facilities and a place (bed) on the island to spend the day. No tour includes the departure tax from the dock, which is $20,000 COP or $5 USD.
The Bora Bora beach club area is the cheapest, it has a price of $250,000 COP or $59 USD per person.
This beach club is on the sand of the beach and has some beds with a roof, where you will be located to spend the whole day in them, if you want one of the beds that are facing the sea, then you must pay an extra $80,000 COP or $19 USD to get one of them. This area is where you will find the beach space (white sand), which is approximately 66 feet long by 16 feet wide (not much space).
This area of the beach club is the one that has access allowed for children, but it is also noisy (music), and with a party atmosphere. In the following photos you will see the first one with the complete panorama of the island, where you will be able to identify the 3 areas: Beach club area on the left, beach house area on the right and in the middle is the exclusive area for who arrive in private boats or yachts (we will talk about this area at the end
The beach house area is the most private area and is not allowed for children. The floor has a green carpet (it looks like artificial grass) and it also has beds where you will spend your day in Bora Bora, this area has a value of $350,000 COP or $82 USD (here you can book with us), just like the beach club, if you want a bed facing the sea, you must pay an extra $80,000 COP or $19 USD. In the house club area is where the DJs are located, and they have a great atmosphere for those looking to party on the islands.
Something you should know about this area is that like the beach club, the beach area is short and limited, that means that the beds are on a wall, and you have to go down to where the beach is and get to the sea, if you look at the photos and some videos you will have a better perspective of what I tell you.
This area of the beach house has within it an even more exclusive area, which is only for those who arrive at the island in their own boat or rented yacht (here you can rent a boat or yacht with us). This area has 6 more places to reserve, which are:
Room BH 1, Room BH 2, Room BH 4: That have capacity for up to 6 people and a price of $1,000,000 COP or $237 USD (does not include transportation, drinks, or food) and the value of the additional person is $150,000 COP or $36 USD with a maximum limit of 10 people (that is, 4 more people).
Room BH 3, Room BH 5, Room BH 6: That have capacity for up to 10 people and a price of $1,500,000 COP or $355 USD (does not include transportation, drinks, or food) and the value of the additional person is $150,000 COP or $36 USD with a maximum limit of 15 people (that is, 5 more people).
The attractiveness of these areas is that it is exclusive for those who rent them, and they are located in front of the dj and the bar, and they also have exclusive access to the sea. This should be your place if you are looking for privacy, exclusivity, and a party at the same time.
Pao Pao Beach Club
This island is part of the same business group as the owners of Bora Bora Island, for which this island tour was conceived with the same purpose, the party. So much so, that this island does not allow children access in any of its areas, and, therefore, you can already imagine the party atmosphere in this place. So we will describe what you are going to find and what is included on the Pao Pao Island tour, and we’ll also include some pictures and video to give you a better perspective before you make your choice.
We will start by saying that this is a complete (small) island, which has two beach areas that are a little more beautiful but just as small, so Pao Pao is not an island to spend a day at the beach either. As we said before, it is a party island all day, so if you do not like loud music all day, this is not your place.
Unlike Bora Bora beach club that has 3 areas, Pao Pao Beach club only has 2 areas, an area for people who buy the group tour of the day, and an area for people who arrive on their own boats or yachts:
Regular sun chairs area on the beach: It is the area reserved for people who take the Rosario Islands day trip from Cartagena, which leaves from the Bodeguita pier and has a price of $250,000 COP or $59 USD on Mondays to Friday (Does not include holidays), and a price of $300,000 COP or $71 USD on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. As in Bora Bora beach club, if you want a bed facing the sea, you must pay $80,000 COP or $19 USD extra.
This day tour to Pao Pao beach club includes: Speedboat transportation to and from Pao Pao island, a welcome drink, lunch (drink not included), and sun chair on the beach, so you can spend your day at Pao Pao beach club, it also includes access to a swimming pool that is located in front of the dj and that you will be able to see better in the photos and the video later. Like the other tours to the Islands, it does not include the departure tax from the pier of $20,000 or $5 USD.
The exclusive area for yachts and sports boats: This area (there are several places) is reserved for those who arrive in their sports boats or yachts (here you can choose yours with us), and as you can see in the photos, like at Bora Bora Beach club, this area has a green carpet that looks like artificial grass. The prices of these places vary depending on their location and the capacity of people they have; And it goes without saying that these places, like in Bora Bora, do not include drinks or food. These are the places:
Bed facing the sea: It is located in front of the sea, has capacity for 3 people, and a price of $250,000 COP or $59 USD.
Pool room: Located in front of the pool, it has capacity for 6 people, includes a complete room set (sofa, two chairs, two umbrellas, and a table), and a price of $500,000 COP or $118 USD.
Pergola room: Located on the sides of the beach, it has capacity for 8 people, includes a complete room set (sofa, 4 chairs, roof, and a table), and a price of $1,000,000 COP or $237 USD.
Frigate room: It is located on the sides of the beach, it has capacity for 15 people, it includes a complete room set (sofa, 2 chairs, two umbrellas, and a table), 2 beds and 2 sun chairs, and a price of $2,000,000 COP or $473 USD.
Jacuzzi room: It is located next to the pool (much more privacy), has capacity for 10 people, includes a complete living room set (2 sofas), a television, and a jacuzzi. It is priced at $3,000,000 COP or $710 USD.
4 Islands VIP tour + Cholon
Next, we will talk about a tour, which is the only tour in which you will not visit a private island or beach, but we include it because it is very popular since it visits the party island, Cholón.
The 5 VIP islands tour is a tour that has become popular for being the only group tour that takes tourists to the Cholón party island, which is an island that we already explained in another post that can only be reached by private boat or on this VIP 5 island tour.
This tour is for those adventurers who, in addition to wanting to get to know Cholón, want to get to know as much as possible of the Islands in a single day, since it is a tour that doesn’t stop. Taking this tour has a value per person of $250,000 or $59 USD.
Below is the description of the tour:
First they pick you up at your hotel or Airbnb (if it is located within the designated pick-up areas), they take you to the pier where you must pay the departure tax of $20,000 COP or $5 USD, then you board a sports boat (like the ones they usually rent to go on a private tour), 36ft or 41ft depending on the number of people on the group tour.
After 45 minutes you’ll arrive at the Islands to a place known as the little pool since it doesn’t have many waves and the sea is very still, or they go to Pablo Escobar’s sunken plane to snorkel, those who do not know how to swim we’ll give them a life-saving vest, so they can swim with it, or if they prefer they can stay on the boat or on a nearby island, while the others do the snorkeling activity to see the corals, fish or Pablo Escobar’s plane (This activity is 1 hour).
Then you’ll visit the party island, Cholon, where the yachts, catamarans and sports boats come to the party, with their stereos playing loud music. In Cholón, the little beach space that there is, is occupied by the boats that arrive and there is practically no space for people, which is why some cabins have been built in the water, where some tables are placed and people can eat lunch there and protect yourself from the sun. In cholón, since you are going on a group tour, you only have 1 hour to have lunch, take a walk, take some pictures, or videos and then return to the tour boat to go to another public beach.
After cholón you’ll go to the Agua Azul public beach, where you’ll also be for an hour, and you’ll be given a taste of tropical fruits, and here if there is space on the beach, so you can enjoy the sea and a tan. We already talked about Agua Azul island in this other post.
The last visit is to the island of Baru, to the popular public beach Playa Blanca. Where you’ll spend the rest of the day in a chair facing the sea, enjoying the Caribbean Sea. On this beach you can buy drinks, or food, and enjoy the landscape, until the time of return at 3pm to Cartagena. Those who wish to stay until the end can then enjoy the ultimate bioluminescent plankton experience.
If you decide to stay for this experience, you should know that you’ll return by bus to Cartagena around 9pm, since in order to do this activity you have to wait until dark, and that happens around 7pm, for which a snack will be given to you if you stay. Then you will take a boat that will take you to a lagoon where you can experience the bioluminescence of the plankton that is in the water, which is activated by movement. That means that you need to enter the water and move it so that the plankton turns blue. If you don’t know how to swim, you’ll be given a life jacket to go into the water with.
It is difficult to take photos or videos of this experience, since it is done in complete darkness and a special lens and camera are needed to be able to capture that light, but our eyes can see it. You will suddenly see some photos of the experience that are photoshopped, but the experience is real and 100% recommended, but only for those who have enough energy to get there until 9pm.
To finish and as we said at the beginning, this is an experience for adventurers who don’t mind being all day from one place to the other, and visiting only public beaches with vendors, and they may also be a bit crowded.
Islands with nice beaches
Now we’ll talk about the Rosario Islands that have a beach area large enough to enjoy a day at the beach in the Colombian Caribbean Sea.
Gente de Mar Island
The Gente de Mar island is one of the islands that has the largest stretch of beach in the Rosario Islands, with 2 beaches where people who visit this island can enjoy their day at the beach. Like the other islands of the archipelago, it is located about 45 minutes from Cartagena, and this group tour departs from the Bodeguita dock.
The extension of the beach is so large that they have a volleyball court on the beach, a spa, a bar, and they have sun beds and chairs, so you can enjoy your day on this island with all the comfort possible, with your friends and even with your family. You can bring your children to this place, but they don’t have many other activities apart from the beach and the court so that they can enjoy their day at the beach.
The Gente de Mar Island tour includes: Roundtrip transportation in a sports boat, Location in the beach area equipped with sun loungers and towel service, welcome drink, 3-course menu (starter, main course and dessert) and drink for person, Use of facilities: hammock area, volleyball court, ping-pong table and billiards.
This island tour has a price of $270.000 COP or $64 USD.
Baru Playa Island
This is another one of our recommendations since it has a 656 ft long stretch of beach that will allow you to enjoy a relaxed day at the beach, enjoying the palm trees, the beautiful view of the turquoise water and the white sand.
This island, in addition to having a full day tour on this beach, is also one of the best Rosario Islands hotels, in which you may be tempted to stay one night, in one of its beautiful rooms with ocean views.
Baru Playa Island also has beds on the beach, sun loungers, hammocks, free kayak, free WiFi, and is also the only tour that includes pick-up and drop-off at your hotel included in the tour price.
The Baru Playa Island tour includes: Transportation hotel-Island-hotel (land and sea), Panoramic tour, Ciénega Cholón and tunnel del Manglar, welcome drink and beach furniture, haute cuisine restaurant, lunch with à la carte option and drink (some exceptions), includes a variety of ceviches, typical dishes, meats, chicken, pasta and much more, Exclusivity and comfort (Maximum 30 people per day), Free activities at the hotel (Kayaks and Beach Volleyball). Subject to availability.
This island tour has a price of $240.000 COP or $57 USD.
Islands for family and children’s
The following 2 islands are friendly to families and therefore children, especially since these 2 tours to the islands include transportation to the oceanarium for free, so that the children can enjoy a dolphin show.
Isla del Encanto
The Island of Encanto has excellent facilities, which have a swimming pool for adults and children and also have games for children that will make your day at the beach unforgettable. If you also add that they have transportation to the oceanarium included (you must pay the entrance tickets), it is even better for them, since they will be able to visit a place that, in addition to helping to repopulate the corals in the sea, also investigates and helps the repopulation of other fish, and they help each other with the payment of entrance fees.
This tour also includes only pick-up from your hotel or Airbnb (within the tourist area), and it is also one of the best hotels in the Rosario islands in Colombia, with excellent facilities. The beach is big and nice (But not as big as the 2 islands before this), are beaches without much space, but enough to rest and relax.
The tour to the Island of Encanto includes: Hotel-pier transportation, speedboat transportation to and from the island, buffet style lunch (3 options), swimming pool for adults and children, and transportation to the oceanarium.
The tour to this island has a value of $250,000 or $59 USD.
Islabela is by definition an ecological and self-sustaining island, I dare to say that it is the only one with these characteristics and with this quality in the Rosario archipelago.
You can get to this beautiful place for the day tour to the islands or if you want to stay in it, since it is also an eco-friendly hotel, since the electricity of the place, including its rooms, is supplied through solar panels, so they do not have air conditioners, but fans to cool and awnings to help with mosquitoes. They have some beautiful cabins with private beaches facing the sea. Ask us about these accommodations.
The day tour to this beautiful island takes place on the main beach, where the beds, sun loungers, and restaurant are located. But you can still walk around the place and take a look at its facilities. This tour also includes transportation to the oceanarium, to see the fish and the dolphin show and for the children to appreciate and learn something about marine biology.
This tour also includes free yoga classes on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, which makes it much more attractive, for those people who like to connect with nature, it is a unique tour. And it is also one of the cheapest, it has a price of $230,000 or $55 USD.
The tour to Islabela Island includes: Round trip speedboat transportation (45 min – 1 hour), Hotel insurance, Welcome cocktail, Typical lunch with panela water (choice between fried fish, grilled chicken and vegetarian option), Use of facilities (beds, sundecks, tables, bathrooms), Kayak use, Yoga classes (Saturdays, Sundays and holidays).