Isla Grande is the biggest island of the Rosario archipelago, located about 45 km south-west of Cartagena de Indias, off the coast of the Baru’s peninsula. The archipelago belongs to the Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Natural Park. The Rosario archipelago counts 27 islands, most of them are very small and only 3 of them are public: Isla San Martin de Pajarales, Isla Grande and Isla del Pirata. The others are private islands owned by rich families, politicians and local celebrities. Shark and I had the opportunity to spend 4 days on Isla Grande during Easter holidays (Semana Santa). We share our experience with you!
To reach Isla Grande, you need to take a boat from Cartagena. The trip lasts about 45-60min with a speed boat (lancha rapida) or 1h30 with the slow boat. You can also get to Isla Grande from Playa Blanca in the peninsula of Baru (around 20-30min).
A lot of agencies offer trips to Isla Grande but it was tricky to find an agency which accepts to take a large dog on board for free. The majority refused, a couple of them wanted me to pay a full price ticket for Shark. Well, I finally found THE dog-friendly agency! It’s called Ocean & Land Tours, located in the Muelle Turistico de la Bodeguita, cabin 4, owned by Mrs. Deniris. The boats leave at 8.00am.
Ocean & Land Tours: Phone (+575) 6437979 – Mobile (+57) 310 6481757 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Price : one-way ticket Cartagena->Isla Grande: 40.000 COP + 14.500 COP for port fees = 54.500 COP (around $17). Free for dogs.
Good to know: specify to the agency that you want a one-way ticket to Isla Grande without the tour and the lunch. Otherwise it coasts between 60.000 and 80.000 COP (low-high season).
- Keep your dog on leash during the trip as the speed boat moves a lot, especially if you seat in the front like we did!
- Boats leave also from Bazurto district. It’s more for local people than tourists, cheaper (30.000 COP, no taxes) but you will need to pay a taxi to get there and the neighborhood is not very safe.
- Never pay in advance your return ticket from Isla Grande to Cartagena. Most of the boats won’t come back to take you. Pay only the one-way ticket and arrange your return with your hotel.
- Buy your ticket directly from the agency on the port, not from the people who sell tickets in front of the agencies, even though they tell you that they work for an agency.
- I strongly advise you not to buy your tickets from Liza Tours (cabin 3). I personally had a bad experience with them. They sold me a ticket the day before my trip and refused to board me on D-day, saying it was not their ticket. Another couple bought a round trip ticket and the boat never came to take them back.
There is a video of Shark and me on our way back to Cartagena! 🙂
Ready for a vacation on Isla Grande with your dog?
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