Getting to Playa Blanca is easy, and all trips can be organized by your hotel, one of the vulture tour sellers on the streets outside the gates of the old town of Cartagena, or directly from the boat companies outside the docks. The best and easiest way to get there is by boat – all of which leave around 9am from the docks near the old town (you won’t find another departure for the rest of the day).
Trip Options by Boat
There are a few options to choose from. The first is a direct trip to the beach, about an hour and a half on a large slow boat or 45 minutes on a speedboat. The second is a trip with a short stop at Islas del Rosario, also available on a large boat or a speedboat. For safety purposes, we were told the large slow boats were better.
For direct trips, we were quoted COP$35,000 (as of December 2014). Furthermore, all of the trips presented to me offered the possibility of an overnight stay at Playa Blanca with a return ticket valid for the next day or two. For the tour including Islas del Rosario, we were quoted COP$58,000 per person (as of October 2014), including the boat trip, lunch at Playa Blanca, dock fees, and admission to the national park that encompasses Islas del Rosario.
By Public Transportation
The more adventurous way to get to Playa Blanca is by bus and motorcycle taxi. When I went with my girlfriend Marisol, we used this option – only because we got up too late and missed the boat!
We arrived at the docks in Cartagena around noon expecting to find someone to take us to Playa Blanca but everyone said we couldn’t leave until the next morning. A man in a green shirt who works at the docks told us it’s possible to go by bus and motorcycle in about an hour and a half. He jumped in a taxi with us and took us to the bus that would go closest to Playa Blanca. We boarded the bus and paid the COP$1,500 fare per person.
The bus was jam packed with people, packages, food, bikes, construction equipment and more. It left at 1pm and the attendant notified us to get off when we reached the point on the route closest to Playa Blanca. Once off the bus, we hopped onto motorcycle taxis that took us to the beach in about 15 minutes. It cost COP$15,000 per person (as of December 2015).
A more expensive option but faster option is to go by taxi, but it’s not so bad if you have a small group of three or four. When my father visited, we hired a taxi driver to take us to Playa Blanca and wait for us the entire day. It cost us a total of COP$250,000 (as of January 2015). We offered the driver lunch and drinks but he thanked us and did his own thing until we were ready to head back to Cartagena.