On the third day of a short trip to Cartagena, Colombia, my girlfriend Janis and I were sunburnt and anxious to head out of the old colonial city. We were visiting family and looking most forward to a Caribbean beach escapade off the mainland. For anyone who has not visited, the beaches just off the highway are as unglamorous as one might expect, so you need to take a boat out in order to really get this sort of experience. Our destination: Isla Barú.

A little background from Wikipedia:

The Isla Barú or Isla de Barú is a former peninsula south of Cartagena, Colombia. It was cut off from the mainland by the Canal del Dique. It projects out southwest from the southern end of Cartagena towards the Islas del Rosario.

We rode out on a small boat in early afternoon for about 45 minutes until we pulled up to a small beach hangout of about 10 locals and 5 tourists. The scene was made up of tables and chairs, half sunken in the shallow water near the shore and covered by tree palms. We were graciously welcomed and immediately offered fresh seafood, fruit, and a wide assortment of handmade jewelry. We indulged in everything from crawfish to octopus and did not hold back on the delicious mojitos poured into hollowed-out coconuts.

Our stay was absolute bliss. We ate with Caribbean water up to our waists and tiny fish swimming about our ankles. The food was some of the freshest we had the entire week. Afterwards we ventured about the beach and water, discovering starfish and other beautiful surprises. This day trip will stick in our minds forever and can’t recommend it enough.

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