Playa Blanca is perhaps the best beach with great water for swimming in Cartagena. In this area the beaches are far cleaner than those in and around the city. In Playa Blanca you will find many vendors trying hassle you on the beach, they will offer you massages, seafood, fruit platters and jewelry among other things.
Be aware of vendors selling oysters: they will give you an oyster as a present (regalo) to taste. They will quickly crack the shells and serve you a number of oysters, after which you will be told that they each cost 2,000 pesos.
You can also rent a hammock or cabin and stay overnight, which is a very budget-conscious and rustic way to spend a few days.
How to get to Playa Blanca
Bus to Pasacabellos and then ferry + mototaxi/taxi
The cheapest way to get to Playa Blanca is to take the bus to “Pasacaballos” (COP $ 1,700), the bus has several pick-up spots including the Central Park. It leaves across from Monumento India Catalina (Avenida Venezuela y Playa Pedregosa #34). In Pasacabellos you get off close to where the Ferry leaves (ask ticket vendor on bus). The “ferry” that will take you across a small river is actually a small wooden boat and it costs COP $1,000. On the other side you take a Mototaxi directly to Playa Blanca for between COP $ 8,000 – 16,000, the price depends on how well you can bargain. A private car is safer and more comfrotable than the mototaxi (motorcycle) and costs about COP 27,000 each way. The whole trip takes about 60 -75 minutes and is really easy, even though you have to switch transportation.
Although we think that it is definetely not worth it to take a overpriced boattrip, we will give you some information anyways.
You can purchase a ticket for an organized tourist day trip or an overnight trip from hotels and hostels. Several motor boats leave from the port every morning and cost around COP $25,000-50,000 for a roundtrip day trip including lunch, but not including the COP $12,000 park entrance fee. You can also get there and back on your own by cargo boats avoiding the park entrance fee.
Be advised that if you plan on spending the night, vendors at the port will sell you a one-way ticket for COP $30,000 and “assure” you that you pay the captain COP $10,000 when you choose to return. However since most people taking boats to Playa Blanca go for the day, your captain may tell you the boat is “full” and ask for C$15,000 or more. If this is the case, you can always take a nice walk down the beach to where the Alcatraz Ferry departs and pay between C$10-15,000 for your return trip. To get the best rate, try to pay one of the captains and not a middle man.
Direct Bus (Sunday Morning) to Playa Blanca
There is also a direct bus on Sunday morning.