Early October saw the reopening of a number of Cartagena’s beaches. These include some beaches in the city and as well as the surrounding vicinity. Read on to learn about how to go to Cartagena’s reopened beaches, including how to make a reservation for the beach in Cartagena, the safety protocols for visiting the beaches in Cartagena, and the restrictions and rules for Cartagena’s beaches.
*Note: As I think we all have learned in 2020, situations are fluid and subject to change. I will do the best I can to keep this up to date as things reopen and regulations change or are adjusted. Any inaccurate information, or if you know if other places reopen, I’d much appreciate you dropping me a line in the comments below and letting me know!
Most recent update: January 5, 2021 (added 2 more open sections of beach in Bocagrande as well as info on the opening of Playa Blanca)
As things inch closer to normal, you may also want to check out our Complete Guide to the Best Beaches in Cartagena.
*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I am a participant in the Amazon Associates Program as well as other affiliate programs and may earn a commission on qualifying purchases made after clicking links from this site. There is never any additional cost to you. For more information, please consult my Disclosure Policy.
What Beaches in Cartagena are Open?
As of early October, Cartagena has been reopening beaches in phases. There are a number of restrictions which I will discuss below. As far as which beaches are open in Cartagena, so far there are several beaches reopen in the city, as well as a number of beach clubs and hotels in the surrounding islands.
Here I will run through the beaches open in Cartagena. Find out more information on the beach clubs open in the islands farther down.
*Planning a trip to Cartagena? Having travel health insurance is more important than ever. Learn about the travel insurance options offered by our partners expatgroup.co here.
And if you haven’t booked you place to stay yet, be sure to check out our Guide to the Best Areas to Stay in Cartagena.
Beaches that have Reopened in Cartagena
Playa Azul located in the area just past the airport near the Hotel Las Americas and La Boquilla, is the first of the Cartagena beaches that have reopened.
This reopened Cartagena beach has 94 modules, or demarcated and designated areas for each group (a module can have up to 6 people).
Beaches of Bocagrande
Kiosco Bonny/Hotel Caribe
The beaches of Bocagrande around the area of the Kiosco Bonny and the Hotel Caribe were the second beach areas that reopened in Cartagena and the first of the beaches in Bocagrande to reopen.
This reopened Cartagena beach has a capacity of 120 modules.
Beach in Front of Nao Mall
The stretch of beach just before Kiosco Bonny in front of the shopping mall Nao, became the second of the reopened beaches in Bocagrande on October 24.
This reopened Bocagrande beach has a capacity of 120 modules.
This stretch of the beaches in Bocagrande reopened on Saturday October 31. It is the area past the Hotel Caribe towards the end of the peninsula.
This Bocagrande beach that has reopened also has a capacity of 120 modules.
Playa Hotel Cartagena Plaza
This stretch of open Cartagena beach is located in front of Hotel Cartagena Plaza and is another of the open beaches in Cartagena.
It has a capacity of 80 modules.
Playa Torre Caribe 1
This is another stretch of beach in Bocagrande and has a capacity of 80 modules.
The famous Playa Blanca in Barú was finally reopened just before Christmas. There are also biosecurity measures in place there.
The beach is limited to 1,000 people and 400 vendors. Apparently, many more people had been coming to the beach during some of the days around the holidays, and there was talk the protocols would be more strictly enforced or the beach could be closed again.
But for the time being Playa Blanca remains open. You need to make a reservation at the same site linked below for the other beaches, the only difference being the reservation is for the whole day, not just half, and you will need to indicate if you will arrive via land or boat.
Also, be sure to check out my complete guide to Playa Blanca to have an idea of what to expect once there.
*Want to make sure you look stylish after months in lockdown? Be sure to check out our recommendations for what to wear in our Cartagena Packing List, which includes some great beach wear!
How to Reserving Your Space at the Reopened Cartagena Beaches:
When can I reserve a space at the beaches of Cartagena that have opened?
To go to the beaches of Cartagena that have reopened, you’ll need to make a reservation first. There are two reservation windows.
Beach Reservation Windows:
- Morning Window: 8 am to 12 pm
- Afternoon Window: 1 pm to 5 pm
- *For Playa Blanca, the reservation is from 8 am to 4 pm.
Do I have to be at the beach for the whole window?
No. You do not lose your reservation if you are not there at the start time, and you are allowed to leave and return during your window.
However, if you plan to cancel entirely ahead of time, you should do so, and that way someone else can have your space. Do note that if you cancel twice in a 30 day period or fail to show up for your reservation at all, you will be banned from making another reservation for 30 days.
How many people can I include in my group?
You can have a maximum of up to 6 people in your group that can sit together in the designated area or module.
What information do I have to give to make my reservation?
To make your reservation at the Cartagena beaches that are open, you’ll need to enter the following information for each member of your group:
- First and last name
- Type and Number of ID (cedula or passport)
- Telephone Number
- Email address
Note that you will have to complete the full form for each person that is part of your group, so be sure you have all the info handy before you make the reservation.
Where do I make the reservation for the open Cartagena beaches?
You can make your reservation for the beaches of Cartagena that are open at the following link: https://reservadeplayas.cartagena.gov.co/.
You can also make your reservation at Cartagena’s opened beaches by calling 641-1370 and marking option 3.
Either way, you’ll be able to choose which of the Cartagena beaches that have opened you want to reserve for, then you’ll be able to choose your date and reservation window before entering the information for each member of your group.
Note, that the reservation has no cost.
After making your reservation, you will receive an email with a link to confirm your reservation (don’t forget to confirm it!) as well as a reservation code and QR code that they scan when you arrive, so be sure to bring it with you.
What are the Biosecurity Protocols for the Beaches of Cartagena that Have Opened?
When you enter the reopened beaches, you’ll need to enter at the designated entry spot. There you’ll need to:
- Show your reservation information information and ID (for everyone in your group).
- Your temperature will be taken.
- You’ll wash your hands at a disinfection station.
- You’ll go to your group’s designated area or module.
Do I have to use the umbrellas and chairs?
No, you do not. Technically beaches in Colombia are public property. The reservation for the space on the beaches of Cartagena that are open is completely free as is using the space itself.
However, the modules come with a recommended rental of an umbrella and chairs, which you can rent them for an additional fee. The prices are meant to be standard. However, if you do not want to pay for them, you can ask for them to be removed.
Although I cannot find this posted anywhere online, these are the prices my wife Susana and some friends paid at Playa Azul (I’d much appreciate anyone confirming if they are the same in Bocagrande in the comments if you have been there!).
- Umbrella (includes 2 chairs): $20,000 pesos
- Chairs: $5,000 pesos
Susana and her friends just got 3 chairs for 15,000 pesos as it was a cloudy day and they didn’t care about having the umbrella.
It is worth noting that the umbrellas and chairs are rented by vendors who have traditionally worked the beaches, and all the proceeds go to them.
What are the rules at the Cartagena beaches that are open?
Do I need to wear a mask to the open Cartagena beaches?
You should be sure to wear a mask when arriving and interacting with vendors and the like. Once in your group’s designated area, you can remove your mask.
Can I swim at the beaches in Cartagena that have reopened?
Yes. You can also get in the water and swim without a mask.
When going to get in the water, you should adhere to the demarcated, cordoned off areas. You should maintain your distance from other groups.
Can I bring food and drinks to the reopened Cartagena beaches?
No. You are not allowed to bring any food or drinks (including alcohol or nonalcoholic drinks) to the beaches that are open in Cartagena.
Can I buy food and drinks at the open Cartagena beaches?
Yes, but of a very limited selection.
There are some snacks sold as well as water, soda, and juices. These can be bought from the designated vendors.
At least for the time being, there are no alcohol sales. You also cannot order a proper lunch. As noted above, you are allowed to leave and come back if you want to go eat during your window.
I, for one, will certainly be missing an ice cold Aguila and fried fish plate at the beach. It does seem like it isn’t any more unsafe to bring along your own food and drinks, but after 8 months of no open beaches in Cartagena at all, I guess beggars can’t be choosers.
What Beaches in the Islands Near Cartagena Are Open?
In addition to the two above reopened beaches in Cartagena proper, a handful of beach clubs and hotels have also reopened in the Cartagena islands.
Generally speaking, you’ll need to make a reservation with them and be sure to use their provided transportation and adhere to their biosecurity rules. Those that have the proper authorization from the mayor’s office should be allowed to serve food and alcohol.
Cartagena Island Resorts that Have Reopened
This list is primarily based on a list released by local newspaper El Universal in late September (source here). I know of at least one more that has since reopened because we went there (Palmarito, more on our experience below).
If anyone knows of others that are open, please let me know in the comments below!
Some of these offer accommodations, some strictly day trips, and many both. Where I can find them available on Booking.com, I have included links where you can make reservations. The rest I’d suggest trying to book or contact directly through their websites or Facebook/Instagram pages.
- Hotel Decamerón in Barú (near Playa Blanca) – Reserve at Booking.com
- Isla del Encanto in Barú – Reserve at Booking.com
- Aura Hotel Barú (Sport Barú), near Cholón – Reserve at Booking.com
- Barú Playa Eco-Beach Resort, near Cholón – Reserve at Booking.com
- Lizamar, in Isla Grande
- Hotel San Pedro Majagua o Laguna Encantada, in Isla Grande – Reserve at Booking.com
- Gente de Mar, in Isla Grande – Reserve at Booking.com
- Rosario Beach Club (Bora-Bora), in Isla Grande – Book a day pass online at Viator
- Bendita Beach
- Carolina Islands, in Isla Grande
- Luxury Trip, in Isla Grande
- Sol y Playa, in Isla Grande
- Casa Lola Eco House, in Isla Grande – Reserve at Booking.com
- El Hamaquero Eco Hotel, in Isla Grande – Reserve at Booking.com
- Caliente Tours (Isla del Sol), in Isla Grande
- Blue Apple, in Tierrabomba – Book a day pass online at Viator
- Fenix Beach, in Isla Arena in Tierrabomba – Reserve at Booking.com or Book a day pass online at Viator
- Bomba Beach Namasté, in Isla Arena in Tierrabomba – Book a day pass online at Viator
- Isla Arena Hotel El Dorado, in Isla Arena, in Tierrabomba – Reserve at Booking.com
- Hotel Tropical Inn, in Isla Arena, in Tierrabomba – Reserve at Booking.com
- Costa Azul, in Isla Arena in Tierrabomba
- Palmarito Beach, in Tierrabomba
Is Playa Blanca open?
No, Playa Blanca is still closed and it is unclear the plans to reopen.
What about boat tours to the islands?
Boat rentals are allowed. However, passengers are not allowed to swim in the ocean or disembark at any beaches, regardless of if they are away from other groups or not.
You can book different sized boats for tours via GetYourGuide here.
Our Experiences at the Reopened Beaches of Cartagena
Susana and Friends at Playa Azul
Susana and two friends went to Playa Azul on October 7. Despite it being a cloudy day, they had a nice time and said everything was well organized. People attending the areas all had masks and no one was pushy selling things.
Susana and I at Palmarito Beach
We had bought a couple nights at discount at Palmarito Beach (just across the bay on Tierrabomba) back in August that are redeemable until next year. With it back open, we used one of our nights October 8.
It was great. They have a great, private beach area. All the workers wore masks and guests were expected to when around others, but you could take them off in your beach space or when eating.
They are allowed to serve alcoholic drinks and food, and they offer both day passes that include a lunch buffet or overnight options that include 3 meals.
We had a great time, and after 8 months of no beach or travel, even though it is just across the bay, it felt like a mini-vacation. I definitely recommend checking them or the other lodges on Tierrabomba out!
At Namaste and Bomba Beach
For one of Susana’s friends birthdays, we spent a day out at Namaste Beach Club, also on the island of Tierrabomba. There’s not much beach there beyond where their chairs and shade spots are, but they have a nice space and a neat vibe.
Their next door sister property is Bomba Beach Club, although it felt to me like they have more or less merged. We had gone out there a while back and enjoyed it. They’ve done a good bit of work since, and the area is even nicer now, and very large with 3 sections with beach beds and/or chairs.
It is a tad pricier than Palmarito and you have to get the boat from the tourist docks by Centro, where there is a 9,000 peso tax you have to pay per person. Still it’s a good spot and while a tad pricer, you do get a voucher to use for food and drinks in addition to a welcome drink (Palmarito’s day pass includes lunch and a welcome drink only).
Have you been to the reopened beaches in Cartagena?
I’d love for you to hear about our experience in the comments below.
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Practical Guide to Cartagena’s Rosario Islands
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