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- 22 Jan 2020, 3 nights
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Rosario Island, also known as Corales Islas del Rosario, is a huge eco-tourism destination and the perfect place to escape from modern life. Nestled on Colombia's Caribbean coast, it's an archipelago made up of 27 islands that have been declared a national park. You can explore the coral reefs and coves across the expanse of tiny islets or try your hand at water sports on one of the larger islands. It's a quieter alternative to the bustle of Cartagena, which is within easy reach.
If you want to immerse yourself in Rosario Island's nature, you can stay in an eco-lodge hostel that's only 5 minutes' walk from the nearest beach. For those who can't wait to get out onto the water, there's a seafront Rosario Island's hostel where you can rent kayaks and snorkelling equipment. There are places that offer free breakfast, and some Rosario Island hostels have on-site restaurants and bars where you can hang out with your fellow guests.
Isla Grande is among the largest islands in the archipelago and one of the few that is inhabited by local people. Here, you can slip into the groove of the Colombian culture, and it's an ideal base from which to explore the smaller islands. Isla Fuerte is a great spot for hiking and surfing thanks to its mangrove swamps and tame shores. If you just want to get away from it all, head to Bendita Beach, which is peaceful and strewn with hammocks.
Thanks to the friendly ethos of the locals, Rosario Island's beaches are well preserved and relatively undisturbed. Try freshly caught seafood along the shores or scuba dive in the coral reefs – you might be lucky enough to spot a shipwreck down there. At night, you can swim in the lake on Isla Grande and admire the phosphorescent plankton as they light up around you. For a truly unforgettable experience, you could take a trip in a kayak through Isla Grande's awe-inspiring mangrove tunnels.
The nearest international airport to Rosario Islands is Aeropuerto Internacional Rafael Núñez. From there, you can take a 20-minute taxi ride to Cartagena and then get on a shuttle boat to Isla Grande. The journey across the water takes about 45 minutes. To get from island to island, you can book a boat tour or use the local shuttle boats.