Playa Blanca is the closest beach on which to spend some days far from the noise of the normal life. It is on in Baru, closed to Cartagena. It was originally a peninsula, but it was separated from the city during the construction of the Canal del Dique, and is now an island.
The life in Baru is easy, about 20,000 native people live there who make their living from fishing, tourism, and the sale of handicrafts on the beach. In recent years, the growth of hotels, eco hotels, and hostels has continued to increase, as has the demand from visitors in search of one of the best beaches near Cartagena.
Baru has many beautiful beaches, but only a few of them are open to the public, including Playa Blanca (the most popular. Other playas are Playa Bobo, Punta Iguana, Puerto Naito). The others, sadly, are either private beaches, or they belong to hotel complexes. Playa Blanca is perfect if you want a simple experience. For what I saw, no big hotel buildings till now, just small huts and a lot of hammocks … For me a paradise!
HOW TO GET TO PLAYA BLANCA BY LAND
You can arrive to playa Blanca easily, There are many ways to reach this land. You can go on your own by taking a bus that leaves from the statue of the India Catalina in the centre of Cartagena and goes to the town of Pasacaballos. From here, you can take a motorcycle taxi that will take you directly to Playa Blanca for about COP$10.000 (3 Euros). If you are only planning to stay at Playa Blanca for the day, you can coordinate your return trip back to Cartagena with the drivers that brought you in.
Another option can be to go by a shuttle bus. You can book it and it will picks you up in your accommodation in Cartagena and takes you to Playa Blanca.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT PLAYA BLANCA
Before Playa Blanca was connected by a bridge to the Pasacaballos small town it was an undiscovered place of pristine, untouched beaches (5 years ago). Now, the area has turned into a very popular destination in Cartagena with a wide variety of accommodation with prices that start at just 4 Euros a night. The place is still really nice and not full of huge hotel buildings.
One of the negative aspects of Playa Blanca are the beach vendors. They will continue to address tourists trying to sell stuff. But it depends on how much effort you will put in find the right place for you. I walked over all the beach to find a good hut without a lot of people, at a good price and with free beach in front of it, so no lots of people that wanted to sell things!
The truth is that those people are only looking to make money for their families and they see visitors as an opportunity to bring food into their homes by doing honest work. I’m not justifying their behaviour, as in some cases they really are annoying, but I believe that saying a simple and convincing “No Thank-you” is enough to keep them away. Or sometimes you can just speak bit with them and they will appreciate it even if you will not buy anything.
A very practical advice is to ignore the oyster vendors. The vendors will come over to you saying that the first one is free, however, this is a lie. Nothing is free, and if you actually want to eat them, you should establish a price for how many you want to eat first. If not, you’re likely to return to Cartagena with empty pockets.
The local women are usually responsible for giving massages on the beach, and they will also try to persuade you and charge you excessive prices. Some treatment as for the oysters. They tell you that they will give you a “free trial” of their work. Again, this is a way to trick you.
In Playa Blanca you could buy lots of Tours, to reach the others iland, to go snorkeling or other activities you preferred. The prices are not high and you can also bargain, so all on you!!
Playa Blanca was perfect for me. The white sand and warm, sky blue sea provide the perfect Caribbean image that that I had the previous year in Cuba.