Cartagena offers a real paradisiac environment! It is nearly surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, and small, coral stone protected beaches can be found only a few meters outside of the ancient Walled City.
The National Park Rosario Island is a natural reserve with 43 tropical islands located in the colombian Caribbean, it is also the most popular place to dive in Cartagena. It is located 46 kms/29 miles southwest from Cartagena on the north coast of Colombia. This wonderful island group is formed of coral reefs, crystal clear water and fine sand beaches, and its colorful coral reefs invite to enjoy diving. For protection and research purposes 1977 the island group Rosario was declared national park. The coral reefs, white sandy beaches, clear waters and thousands of colorful fish will make your dive experience unforgettable.
Facing the Bay of Cartagena, across the Canal Dock, is the island of Baru, famous for its marine garden, and for it's White Beach (Playa Blanca). There are fewer visitors and therefore no peddlers will disturb your day at the beach
The island of Tierra Bomba consists of Punta Arena, Caño del Oro, and Tierra Bomba Bocachica (giving the name of the island), which has the best beaches in the area and a panoramic view of city of Cartagena. It is just 10 minutes away from Cartagena, and it makes an interesting destination for diving on reefs and wrecks in the middle of multicolored fish and crystal clear warm waters.
Salmedina Banks and Bajo Burbujas are a marine reef which lies on the coast west of the bay of Cartagena. It's a bass that has depths from 3m (10ft) feet to 58m (190ft). It is a reef formation with varied amount of marine life, visited frequently as a dive site as it is located 5 miles from the city of Cartagena. Additionally, in its shallow waters there are two sunken ships that formed the basis for a beacon indicating the presence of this.
There is a large variety of tropical marine life in the Marine Park of Islas del Rosario, where you'll find from delicate shrimps to striking fish such as groupers. You will see seahorses and sea turtles, and probably dolphins.
There are more than 28 dive sites. They stand out for their huge diversity of hard and soft corals, sponges and reef inhabitants. You can also get in touch with other regional ecosystems such as internal lagoons, mangroves and marine grasses.
The weather is Typical Caribbean with an average temperature 28ºC (82°F), warm and sunny. You can dive year around. Though the best time is from July to November. The water temperature goes from 26ºC (78ºF) to 28ºC (82ºF). The diving spots have a depth from 5 to 40m.
For any inconvenience there is a decompression chamber at the Hospital Naval in Cartagena. Plus if you want to go to the Nationa Park a vaccination certificate may be required to enter. So at least 10 days before departure, you should take the yellow fever vaccine. Another important fact is that it is not authorized to collect plants, animals and their remains (for example to collect shells). The local communities are educated to conserve their natural environment.
Cartagena is one of the most spectacular places in Colombia, for its colonial architectural content, cobbled streets, balconies, walls and castles. In 1984 it was declared UNESCO world cultural heritage, but today Cartagena is a city full of life, music, sounds and colors.Here you can enjoy one of the most unforgettable diving experience in one of the most outstanding coral reef, the National Parks of Islas del Rosario, placed only 45 minutes from the city.
The most popular places to dive in Cartagena are the National Park of Islas del Rosario, Baru, and Tierra Bomba island. You can also visit the island of San Bernardo located very near of Islas del Rosario. Also interesting to check is the Salmedina Banks and its two sunken ship wrecks.
You can get to Cartagena via a direct international flight from your country. There is an International Airport set on the borderline with Cartagena. Besides flights depart from Medellin or Bogota to Cartagena around every hour and a half.
Cartagena offers a variety of accommodations to suit all tastes and budgets, from 5 star luxury hotels until Bed and Breakfast lodging.
In addition to a fascinating diving trip there is much more to do there. You can visit the Marquis Valdehoyos House is the ideal place to start exploring the old city. Another interesting place to go is the Gold Museum and Archaeology. Also the Palace of Inquisition is another good point to go. A must go place is the system of tunnels of the Castle of San Felipe de Barajas. The castle is one of the largest buildings in a series of fortresses that what they did was try to protect the city from pirates and conquerors invasions. In the Convent of the Pope you can have a great view of the city. In the peninsula facing the Caribbean Sea are Bocagrande and Laguito, places where you can go to shop and enjoy an excellent gastronomy.