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Just an hour’s boat ride from Cartagena, Colombia, is a 27-island archipelago known as the Rosario Islands. The entire area is situated atop the Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Natural Park, the country’s only underwater nature reserve.
Many of the world’s corals are endangered, so clients should take advantage of the incredible diving opportunities in the Rosario Islands to see these thriving marine ecosystems for themselves. They’ll also find that the islands provide as many opportunities for beachside relaxation as any Caribbean island destination, in addition to some other unique activities.
Here are four ways to discover this tropical paradise.
Scuba Dive and Snorkel Given the immense area — 463 square miles — covered by the Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Natural Park, visitors can expect an incredibly rewarding diving experience in the Rosario Islands. The archipelago is home to almost 200 species of marine animals and hundreds of more plant, coral and crustacean species.
Divers can swim with lobsters, starfish and more in their own habitat of very well-preserved reefs. Whether clients are beginner snorkelers or experienced scuba divers, there are ample opportunities to explore the corals, namely from Isla San Martin de Pajarales, Isla Grande and Isla Fuerte.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Michele (@michele__u) on Jul 17, 2019 at 4:30pm PDT
A post shared by Michele (@michele__u) on Jul 17, 2019 at 4:30pm PDT
KayakThe largest of the Rosario islands is the aforementioned Isla Grande, a haven for pristine turquoise waters, secluded white-sand beaches and mangrove forests. Isla Grande’s mangrove tunnels are a consistent draw for visitors looking for a unique water experience in the Rosario Islands. Though mangroves form much of the islands’ waterside ecosystem, they are especially prominent here, where the mangroves provide natural shade over the calm waters.
Tour by Boat or CatamaranFor tourists to Cartagena looking for a day trip well-spent, hiring a private boat or catamaran tour may be the best route to do so. A variety of tours are bookable through local companies, such as This Is Cartagena, that highlight the best of the Rosario Islands: marine biodiversity, unspoiled beaches and unique island cuisine.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by AQUA (@aquaexperiences) on Jun 11, 2019 at 4:51pm PDT
A post shared by AQUA (@aquaexperiences) on Jun 11, 2019 at 4:51pm PDT
Visit the OceanariumAlso on Isla San Martin de Pajarales is the interactive Oceanarium, an aquarium by the sea. The dolphin show is a highlight, while its marine animals — including nurse sharks and sea turtles — are housed in natural saltwater pools.
If not everyone in the family is suited to diving the coral reefs, the Oceanarium allows even little ones the opportunity to learn about Colombia’s biodiversity.