Coral Reef Carribean: Trip to National Park of Islas del Rosario

The seller insists. How about a trip to an exotic island: Relax on the beach and happy hour drinking? No, thank you. On the other hand, a bit of sailing sounds good. So, we book this day trip to Islas del Rosario.

Expectations are not that high. And typically my luck: At 8:00 in the morning, island trip day, the weather is really bad for the first time during the week. It is completely cloudy, gray, and with light rain, when we are picked up by bus at the hotel.

The weather is no better when we arrive at the quay after a half-hour bus tour to pick up other guests at other hotels. And oh?! I like to be on the water, but today I expected to be on a larger ship, where you can walk around the deck. But no. Today’s vessel is an open, small, fast-moving boat with plastic seating.

It is windy and it rains. After boarding (this costs an extra 15,000 pesos on top of agreed price of 185,000 pesos) and mounting life jacket, it is departure time. We cruise out of the harbor mouth past a fortress, then full speed ahead over the waves for an hour.

In fact, it’s a nice trip if you like speed-boats; a recommended trip. However, if you have back problems, maybe this trip is not for you, as it is a bumpy ride.

When we arrive at the destination of the trip, Isla Encanto, one of the 28 islands in the island of Islas del Rosario, it is still gray weather, but it is hot, around 28-30 degrees.

While the sky is gray, the vegetation on the island is sparkling green with yellow and red flowers and fruits. It is lush and beautiful.

As a surprise – for us – the guide now tells us, that for the next hour you can 1) relax at the beach or by the poolside or you can 2) take part in one of three activities: Diving, snorkeling or aquarium visit.

All three things sounds really interesting, but you can only choose one … Henrik, my husband, chooses the aquarium visit and I go for snorkeling. Each activity costs 25,000 pesos, a very reasonable price.

Now we sail again – in different directions. This boat sails for 15-20 minutes, then it stops close to a part of the reef. We, 11 participants wearing swim suits, goggles, snorkels and flippers, jump in the water.
It’s only the second time in my life, that I snorkel and again it’s a wonderful experience.

It is so relaxing to swim (almost) like a fish in the water and life below the sea surface is enchanting. I highly recommend, that everyone tries snorkeling, if they get the chance.

You just have to get used to breathing through the snorkel. It did not go very well for me the first times, but when you get the hang of it, it works fine and you have some amazing moments. My ‘dive’ looked like this, but it is a ‘trick photo’ (Henrik’s photo from the Aquarium).

Parque Nacional Natural Corales del Rosario and San Bernardo.

After one hour of activities, the boats return to Isla Encanto and now the weather is completely different, so we get a few hours on the island with lots of sun and bounty island atmosphere.

By 15.30 it’s time to sail back. At 17.00 we are back in Cartagena after much more than a sunbathing trip. An island tour like this is highly recommended.

Bocagrande skyline in the afternoon sun.

Carpe diem.

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