Cartagena is a city on the Caribbean coast of Colombia that offers some picturesque beach views, sparkling turquoise waters, incredible food, and a delightful taste of Colombian culture. Most of the city's highlights are within the historic “Old Town” portion with its Spanish colonial architecture, colorful walls, and tons of excellent bars and restaurants. There is plenty to do, see, eat, and discover when exploring Cartagena. You can get to Cartagena from the capital city of Bogota by flight or fly directly from many international locations, making it an easily accessible destination for a vacation or getaway.
If you find yourself venturing to Cartagena on your travels, you’ll want to make time in your itinerary to spend a day on a boat. By boat, you can access so much more beyond the busy city and get to the stunning beaches and islands that many people come to this city for. GetMyBoat has over 300 boat rentals and tours in Cartagena - so anyone who wants to enjoy a boat day can find the perfect experience.
Best Time of Year to Visit Cartagena
Since Cartagena sits right on the coast in the Caribbean, it enjoys hot and sunny weather year-round. The rainy season lasts from May through November, so if you visit during these months, you’re more likely to have a rain shower at some point during your vacation. That being said, it does not have much of an impact on the temperature - you can still expect plenty of heat and sun, so bring sunscreen, and don’t forget your favorite pair of sunglasses.
Reasons to Travel to Cartagena
Why should Cartagena be on your travel bucket list? Well, if the enticing food scene, beaches, warm weather, and tropical atmosphere isn’t enough, how about the fact that it’s an excellent destination for celebrating a life event with your friends and family?
As more affordable flights to Cartagena’s international airport have been established on various airlines, it’s becoming a popular destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties, milestone birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, honeymoons, and more. Cartagena is a beautiful city that is easily accessible for a quick vacation, and it offers incredible cultural experiences that set it apart from typical resort cities and touristy destinations. You can also make Cartagena a stop as part of a more extensive Colombia trip - in case you’re exploring the Caribbean coast and stopping in favorite beach towns like Santa Marta and Barranquilla.
Island Hopping Boat Tours in Cartagena
Photo: Island Hopping with Captain Nicolas
Most of the beaches you see pictured as “Cartagena” beaches are not actually in the city but are only accessible by boat or driving a bit outside of the city. So - if you want the perfect day on the sand, plan on getting there by boat! There are a ton of public boat tours and private boat charters available in Cartagena to help you get on the beach.
The Rosario Islands are a small archipelago of islands about 50 miles from Cartagena and are a National Park of Colombia. The Islas Rosarios are the ideal destination for an island-hopping excursion, and you can access them in a simple day trip from Cartagena by boat. A boat tour of the Rosario Islands is considered to be one of the best things to do while in Cartagena, and you can enjoy a private boat trip there by booking with a GetMyBoat captain.
Cruise to the Rosario Islands on a catamaran charter or a motor yacht to enjoy a full day of exploring different quiet beaches, anchoring to jump in for a swim, snorkel, or even go fishing. On the islands, you can find a variety of attractions, including beachfront restaurants and an aquarium. Get a drink at Playa Dulce and sip it while sitting in the sand, or enjoy dinner on the beach at Bora Bora restaurant.
A gem to explore on a boat charter or tour is Isla Barú, a part of the Rosario Islands chain that stands out as a destination on its own. It’s less than an hour from Cartagena by boat and is perfect for a relaxing beach day. You can also stay overnight on the island if you want more time outside of the busier city of Cartagena.
Isla Barú is home to the famous Playa Blanca - a stunning beach that offers golden sand and turquoise waters. It’s a top destination for anyone visiting Colombia to check out and provides the ultimate beach experience. It’s picturesque and is a must-do for any Instagrammer on vacation in Cartagena.
Another spot on Isla Barú that is a must-visit if you’re boating is Cholón, a beloved spot for boat parties, sunbathing, enjoying drinks, and meeting other travelers in the water.
Tierra Bomba Island
This island is just a short 10-minute boat ride from Cartagena city by a small lancha or passenger boat, and it’s a decent beach to visit if you don’t want to spend an entire day getting to a beach by boat. Once you arrive, you can visit a beach bar, rent a chair for a day of sunbathing, go swimming, enjoy snorkeling, and play in the water all with a view of the Cartagena skyline not far away.
Types of Boats to Rent in Cartagena
Undoubtedly, the most popular style of boat to rent or charter in Cartagena is a catamaran. Catamarans offer ample deck space for hosting a big group - you can have a dance floor on board and enjoy plenty of room to roam around. Cruise on a catamaran for a sunset dinner at sea with a professional captain and crew to bring you to the most iconic locations around Cartagena.
Another commonly booked boat style in Cartagena is a motor yacht. A motor yacht is great for a smaller group of people or if you’re looking to make a beeline to an island or beach that is off the coast of Cartagena. A motor yacht can give you the freedom to cruise farther on a day trip or you can enjoy a smaller, more intimate setting if you’re boating in Cartagena with just your partner or a few people.
Top Water Experiences in Cartagena
Cartagena is home to an incredible gastronomic scene - with amazing restaurants and cocktail bars scattered throughout the old town. Sipping on a delicious tropical drink doesn’t have to be done in a bar, however, you can opt to book a cocktail cruise and enjoy your drinks on the water. Watch the sunset over the city as you indulge in a mojito, margarita, or paloma onboard a cocktail boat cruise. It’s a popular choice of boating experience in Cartagena.
Evening Party Cruises
Photo: Evening Party Cruise with Captain Nicolas
Want to dance the night away on the water? An evening party cruise is a perfect option for you! Admire the most incredible views of the skyline as you enjoy drinks and dancing under the city lights. A catamaran cruise is a unique party venue - celebrate an upcoming birthday, anniversary, bachelor/bachelorette party, or wedding on the water with GetMyBoat! A late-night party cruise is a memorable way to explore Cartagena and will be a night your guests will never forget!
Sunset Sail in Cartagena
Photo: Sunset Sail with Captain Nicolas
Looking for an unforgettable experience in the romantic city of Cartagena? Sail into the sunset with your significant other and admire the sparkling water and fiery colors in the sky. A sunset sail is the epitome of relaxation - enjoy the breeze on your face and soak up the scenic views of the coastline with a glass of champagne in your hand. Marvel at the breathtaking sunset over the Caribbean water with your partner for a memorable date night at sea.
Snorkel & Dive Adventures
Photo: Snorkel Tour with Captain Nicolas
Do you love seeing fish and marine animals swimming around you? Book a boat trip that includes snorkeling gear for you to use while onboard. The great thing about snorkeling is that it allows you to explore the open waters without needing special training. The Rosario Islands offer some incredible snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities - don't miss out on your chance to discover a wide variety of marine life and admire the natural beauty of coral reefs around Cartagena.
For those looking to immerse themselves in the magical world beneath the water - a scuba diving trip is calling your name. Cartagena has some bucket-list-worthy diving sites in the area. Due to the tropical climate, diving conditions are ideal all year round. We recommend diving at Varadero Reef, Baru Islands, Salemdina Shipwreck, and Rosario Islands.
Varadero Reef: A fascinating marine ecosystem off the coast of Cartagena. The reef is home to over 30 scleractinian coral species and attracts local marine life.
Baru Island: Home to an underwater art museum with fascinating sculptures. Diving here allows you to see vibrant coral, marine life, and shipwrecks.
Salmedina Shipwrecks: An oceanic reef formation home to diverse marine life and two sunken wrecks at the lighthouse base.
Rosario Islands: An island off the coast of Cartagena that is a Coral National Park. Book a diving tour to Rosario Islands and explore the reef canyons while on the lookout for sea life around you.
Fishing Charters in Cartagena
Hop aboard a fishing charter that is fully equipped with everything you need for a successful fishing trip. Expert captains and crew members will take you to the best spots around Cartagena, and share local knowledge to help you reel in a big catch. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a beginner, a fishing charter will be one of the highlights of your time in Cartagena.
Are you a professional angler looking for a challenge? Book a deep-sea fishing trip for an action-packed off-shore adventure in Cartagena. With the help of an experienced captain and high-grade equipment, you will have the chance to catch huge Snapper, Grouper, and other predators lurking deep below the water.
Top GetMyBoat Captains/Owners in Cartagena
Nicolas’ Catamaran Charters in Cartagena
Nicolas and his crew offer a variety of options for anyone in Cartagena looking for a catamaran cruising experience. Enjoy a day of sailing on the Caribbean waters aboard one of his catamarans that can accommodate anywhere from 10 to over 40 people. Captain Nicolas is a Best of GetMyBoat 2021 Winner, and for a good reason! He provides fantastic water experiences in Cartagena, from sunset cruises to fishing, snorkeling, and more! This catamaran is fully equipped with two double cabins, a restroom, a large kitchen, dance hall, tables, bar, and sound system, making this the perfect party venue.
“This catamaran was the best part of our trip to Cartagena. Exactly what they advertised. Amazing crew. Extremely professional and fun. They have a good sound system. The first stop was great. Amazing location. The last part at dusk getting into the city harbor was magical. We had the best time, and hopefully, we'll do it again.” - Gabriel
Cruising Catamaran Charters with Jose
Enjoy the crystal-clear waters of Cartagena in style aboard a luxurious 44-foot cruising catamaran with Jose. This sailing charter can hold up to 12 guests with rates starting as low as $1,550/day, including sea toys, kayaks, wakeboards, paddleboards, snorkel equipment, spear-fishing equipment, and more. The boating possibilities with Jose are endless - book a sunset cruise, take a boat tour of the bay of Cartagena, go island-hopping or snorkel above the coral reefs. This charter is perfect for friends, families, and couples visiting Cartagena and longing to get out on the water.
“We rented José’s boat for my bachelors party and had an amazing experience! From the host Alain to the captain Marcus and his crew. All was as agreed to - only the boat was better than expected!! The supermarket was half a block away and it was easy to stock up on snacks and drinks. An epic day that will be remember for a very long time!! Thank you guys for everything!!” - Patrick
Cost to Rent a Boat in Cartagena
Cartagena Boating Tips & FAQs
- Plan your itinerary. There is so much to see by boat around Cartagena it can be challenging to see it all in one day. Figure out which highlights you want to see the most or which experiences you want to have so you can make a realistic plan for your day.
- Bring a lot of sunscreen, sunglasses, and protective clothing. Even if you are visiting Cartagena in the middle of winter, it is sunny and tropical year-round. You don’t want a bad sunburn from your boat day to ruin the rest of your vacation.
- Ask about the meeting point for your boat’s departure. There are several marinas and docks for boat tours and charters to leave from throughout Cartagena, so you’ll want the specific address, so you don’t end up running late for your boat day.
- If you have dietary restrictions, make sure to communicate with your boat captain or tour operator. Seafood is a huge part of the culinary scene in Cartagena, so if you have a shellfish allergy or seafood allergy, it’s a good idea to make sure your menu for your boat day will include food that you can safely enjoy.
What to Bring when Boating in Cartagena
- Bathing Suit
- Sunscreen & Lip Balm with SPF
- Beach Towels
- Sunglasses & Sun Hat
- Dry Bag
- Food & Drinks ( with Captains permission)
- Light Jacket - for cooler weather
- Favorite Boat Day Playlist
Download our boat day packing list for more ideas.