The idyllic Rosario Islands (or Islas del
Rosario as they are known in Spanish), are a group of some 30 very
small islands protected by a National Park. Boats depart every morning
(none in the afternoon) from Cartegena,
and the scenic trip takes 90 minutes. The Rosario Islands are very
unspoilt and relaxing, and the locals are very welcoming to visitors.
Activites include a bike tour of the main island, birdwatching,
kayaking, a visit to the Aquarium for a look at some large fish, but
above the main activity is chilling out on the lovely beaches. These
coral islands don't have many beaches, but the few that are present are
clean and generally relaxing.
Many tourists who visit the Rosario Islands
are rather disappointed - normally because the destination has been
over-hyped or mis-sold to them. Take note that there is next to nothing
to do on these islands other than sunbathe or swim in the sea. If you
are happy doing absolutely nothing after a busy few days in nearby
Cartagena, the Rosario Islands are a good place to relax (although the
beach hawkers are unfortunately increasingly persistent). It's also
worth noting that the few beaches that are present are all very small,
and can get crowded, especially during the high season when they fill
up with day trippers from Cartagena (a day trip from cartagena costs
about US $50). Those travellers seeking a more extended visit to a
beach orientated island will find that the idyllic Providencia Island is far
more relaxing, authentic, peaceful place, and one that has a far wider
variety of activities to offer. Having said this, the Rosario Islands
are worth a visit - but for one or two nights only!
Rosario Islands Hotels
There are only a handful of hotels in the
Rosario Islands - all are very small, and some have better beach access
than others. Unfortunately, all of them get extremely
mixed reviews so check Tripadvisor.com before you visit!
Pick of the bunch is probably San Pedro de Majagua,
a lovely hotel with 3 beaches nearby. San Pedro's de Majagua's main
flaw is it's poor service (or at least it was when we visited in July
2007 - and subsequent reviews suggest it continues to be problem).
Other hotels in the Rosario islands include Hotel
Isla del Encanto, Isla del Pirata hotel,
Isla Tijereta hotel and Hotel Kokomo.
Hotel da Pietro
also has a hotel on the Rosario Islands.
Check out this video of the Rosario Islands.