With the Cartagena travel agency , you can find this small Caribbean island of white sand and without cars or motorcycles.
You will find it difficult to rent a bicycle and transportation is by foot, boat or canoe. No doubt, this will not be a big problem for you, because once you are on the beach, you will just want to get up and swim in the crystal clear waters of this tropical paradise. If you want to find inner peace and escape from civilization, this is the place to be!
I was lucky enough to stay there for two days, sleeping in a hammock facing the Caribbean Sea and it will be one of the best experiences of your life.
How to get to Isla Grande
There are two ways to get to Isla Grande : the first is to join an organized tour. This includes transportation, lunch, dinner and breakfast and an afternoon on Isla Rosario.
The price of the ticket is around 200,000 pesos and to reserve or obtain more information you can go to the tourism agency .
The other way is to go to Muelle de la Bodeguita in Cartagena at 8 in the morning and ask one of the many companies that organize trips to the 5 Rosario Islands to take you to Isla Grande.
The cost is about 50,000 pesos per trip, but bargaining can get you up to 40,000 pesos. Ask for information and only give money to people inside the ticket office to avoid scams.
Where to stay in Isla Grande
On the Colombian island there are hotels and hostels for all budgets, all of them are very nice and have ocean views. Discover the top 4 hotels in the Rosario Islands .
One of the most luxurious hotels is the one in San Pedro de Majagua, which also has a diving center and spacious and luxurious rooms. A less luxurious alternative is the Hotel Islabela, which offers accommodation in hammocks or beach huts, as well as beds in shared dormitories and single rooms with private bathrooms and ocean views.
It also offers very fresh fish dishes that are really good.
Activities in Isla Grande
First of all, relax! Enjoying the beaches, diving in its paradisiacal waters is an incomparable experience, the sun, the clear water of the turquoise sea, the fine sand , the peace, the tranquility and the gastronomy will surround you. You can also practice snorkeling , rent canoes and go around the island or dive with all the colorful fish.
You can take a canoe trip through the mangroves to the lagoon, ideally at sunset so that you can be on the shore of the lagoon after dark. In fact, at night, this natural lagoon is illuminated by the action of plankton. However, if it is a full moon night, you will not find it well lit. However, it is worth a stroll in the evening.
The excursion costs 30,000 pesos and lasts about 2 hours. If you just want to see the enchanted lagoon, you can walk from any hotel. Finally, you can spend your time eating as much fish as possible! It is always fresh and delicious. Colombians serve it with coconut rice and patacones.
Explore Isla Grande
Don’t be afraid to leave your resort and visit the Big Island. As there are no signs, I recommend downloading Maps.me and the island map first. In the application you will find all the roads that cross the island. First, you can go to Orika, the only town on the Big Island.
Nothing spectacular, but a good atmosphere. There is a large square with a small cafe (store) to drink beer under the trees. Some locals walk around with machetes (Swiss, Colombian knives) others sit 2 meters from the speakers to feel the rhythm of the music . From Orika you can take different routes to the beaches and hotels. The roads are mostly shaded by dense green vegetation.
If you do not like walking, you can ask the hotel to lend you a bicycle.
Another island that you may like is undoubtedly Isla Rosario, more information on the history of the Rosario Islands.
Diving and snorkeling at the Big Island
Around this island paradise, there are numerous coral reefs and coves protected by the colorful World Heritage and marine life. Before diving into the waters of the Pacific, there is one important thing to know. It is quite dangerous to get away from the shore, especially from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. , since the boats move quickly in the area.
Take a walk or use buoys to mark your position in the water. The hotel you are staying at will put you in touch with a local who owns a boat. He will show you his favorite places, including the remains of Pablo Escobar’s underwater plane .
For diving, the easiest way is to contact one of the two centers that organize excursions around the Big Island.
What is the best time to visit Isla Grande?
Any month is a good time to visit Isla Grande and its sandy beaches. Underwater visibility will always be excellent and rainy days are rarely continuous. The rainiest months are from October to November. Avoid going during high season (vacations and weekends).
How to leave Isla Grande?
Public boats depart around 14:00-3:00 hours. You can also leave around 6:30 in the morning. Another option is to take a boat to Baru Island (30 minutes) and then take a cab to Cartagena (1 hour) – ask at your hotel.
In the Caribbean, the sun and mosquitoes can bite if you are not prepared. Therefore, I recommend that you bring the following items:
- Mosquito repellent
- Water shoes (for walks on the beach and diving)
- Groceries, food, water (everything on the island is a bit more expensive)
- Cash (there are no ATMs on site)
The island has a community of about 1,000 inhabitants . Don’t expect streets, stores or luxury. Everything is so basic and primitive, that’s exactly the beauty of the island!
There are no banks or ATMs, so be sure to carry cash. Hotels and hostels usually accept ATMs and credit cards, but be aware that sometimes there is no electricity (the island is powered only by solar energy), the same goes for wifi.
Use plenty of sunscreen, as the sun shines even on cloudy days, and bring plenty of mosquito repellent. Finally, do not miss one of the most beautiful views of the island : the sunset and the sunrise!