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Must see Colombia | Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Park

The Rosario Islands are an archipelago located in the Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Park on the Colombian Caribbean coast. It is only an hour from the popular tourist city of Cartagena. They are beautiful, diverse and well worth a visit, for a day or even longer. The Rosario Islands are a real must see in Colombia.

Also read: Round trip through colorful Colombia | So much more than Pablo Escobar

Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Park

Rosario National Park | Colombia
Rosario National Park | Colombia

As part of the Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Park the Rosario Islands are an integral part of one of the most important national parks of Colombia, and the only park in the country that is mostly underwater. As such, the islands and surrounding waters are remarkably well preserved, meaning you can enjoy their wonders as nature intended.

Beautiful Caribbean beaches

While some of the islands are rocky or surrounded by mangroves, many of them are home to beautiful, picturesque Caribbean beaches: the kind of beaches you really want to experience in the Caribbean – white sand, sparkling blue water, a few palm trees, and not much else!

White sand, palm trees and sun | Rosario
White sand, palm trees and sun | Rosario

The great thing about visiting the Rosario Islands is that it really has something to suit all tastes – more adventurous travelers can go sea kayaking, scuba diving, or sport fishing, while the more relaxed can easily spend a day lazing on the beach , chilling in a hammock, or sipping a cocktail while watching the sunset.

Easily accessible from Cartagena

Located about 100 kilometers from Cartagena, it is also very easy to visit the islands, if only for a day. Most islands can be reached in an hour or less from the port of Cartagena, so even if your trip to Colombia is short, you don't have to worry about missing the Rosario Islands.

Besides the fact that the Rosario Islands are close to Cartagena, they also form a nice contrast to the city. While Cartagena is undoubtedly beautiful, it is very touristy and after a few days many people are looking for a break. 

Also read: Must-sees in Medellin | Traditional Colombian Culture

Things to Do in Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Park

Kayaking in Mangroves

One of the coolest activities to do while visiting the Rosario Islands is a kayak tour among the majestic mangrove tunnels of Isla Grande† This unique ecosystem is common on the islands and there aren't many more fun things to do than jump in a kayak and explore the surreal tunnels formed by the mangroves.

The Oceanarium

The nature aquarium on Isla de Pajarales is known as a great place to visit if you are interested in learning more about the underwater world of this region. 

Beautiful sunsets

As you would expect from an archipelago of Caribbean islands, the sunsets on the Rosario Islands are some of the most spectacular in the Caribbean. Any hotel or beach facing west offers 'front row seats' for these beautiful spectacles, and every night is different, so expect to see some truly memorable sunsets during your visit.

Sunset, Rosario Islands | Colombia
Sunset, Rosario Islands | Colombia

To dive

Whether you feel like learning to dive or are already an expert, you are sure to enjoy diving in the protected waters around the Rosario Islands. With plenty of well-preserved coral reefs and even a few wreck dives to enjoy, you can easily sign up for a day of diving or a course in Cartagena.

Coral Reef Rosario National Park, Colombia
Coral Reef Rosario National Park, Colombia

Phosphorescent plankton at the 'Enchanted Lagoon'.

This brackish water lake in the heart of Isla Grande is known for the beautiful and surreal spectacle of phosphorescent plankton that, on a dark, star-free night, seems to glow and sway with light with every touch of the water. Swimming in the lake at night, watching little green lights dance around your body is one of the most unique and memorable reasons to visit the Rosario Islands. Rosario National Park and San Bernardo Corals will certainly not disappoint. Visit the park and be surprised!

Also read: 20 Must Sees in South America | Food for your Bucket List

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