Yes, the watermelon man's shorts are spectacular, I know!
Rincon del Mar (vellous) sits on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, two and a half hours south of Cartagena. It is a small fishing village that is (relatively) off the beaten track and still retains all of it’s fisher village charm. Being here makes you question why more people don’t visit considering its proximity to tourist hotspot Cartagena. But you won’t be complaining about the lack of tourists when you’re spending the day on your own “private” beach.
Rincon del Mar might seem a tad out of the way; 2 hours from Cartagena + 35minutes on a mototaxi along dirt roads. But it’s worth the trip. It’s away from the tourist rush and feels genuinely untouched with great Caribbean-meets-Colombian vibes.
Things are simple here. And cheap. Even the local Tienda is well stocked and not overpriced for it’s remote location.
You can walk up the beach for 30minutes and find your own Caribe paradise. Take a boat trip to the nearby San Bernardo Islands to snorkel, swim or dive in the beautiful blue seas.
(beautiful, untouched beaches are screaming out to be walked on)
How To Get There?
From Cartagena head to the main terminal (which is rather inconveniently situated well out of town (1hour by bus/30-45mins in a taxi). But be warned a taxi won’t be cheap (20,000pesos). From the terminal ask for a bus to San Onofre (25,000/30,000pesos).
After 2 hours you’ll arrive in San Onofre. From here you can take a motorbike taxi for 10,000 per person. (15,000 if you’re heavy like me haha). If you’re in a group, try to hunt down a car for 30,000 pesos.
When you’re leaving Rincon del Mar, colectivos/buses pass through San Onofre in each direction regularly (every 30minute).
(“upgrade” your mototaxi ride to a 1980’s Renault for just 30,000pesos)
Where To Stay?
On Hostelworld/Booking.com you’ll only find Mamallena as an option in advance. But if I’m totally honest, it’s a bit basic and needs a good clean. Once you’re in Rincon del Mar there are plenty of others options you can go and see and decide which has the best beach vibe for you.
For those who like more certainty than showing up and hoping for the best, look for “Rincon del Frances” on facebook and book in advance through there. It’s run by a friendly frenchman and is popular, clean, quirky and has been built to make the most of the sea views.
FYI: Most of the Hostels in Rincon do NOT sell food, and instead offer a kitchen for use and there is a well stocked “supermarket” where you can buy groceries – fresh fish from the fisherman than . There are plenty of small family run restaurants in town, but the prices are quite steep.
(LEFT: Details for Rincon del Frances hostel. RIGHT: even the “hectic”, built-up part of town with the hostels is fairly tranquil)
What To Do?
1) Find your own paradise.
Step 1: Buy a bottle of rum and some snacks (and water)
Step 2: Start walking up the beach, it’s about 1hour walking to the very tip.
Step 3: Once you reach the small green house, apply shit loads of Mosquito Repellent and continue through the mangroves for 15 minutes and you’ll arrive on this beautiful beach with some luxury holiday homes.
Step 4: Pick your bamboo hut.
Step 5: Drink rum & Swim.
(this was our version of paradise that we stumbled upon)
2) Boat your way around the San Bernardo islands.
It’s easy to find a boat tour for 50,000 per person to the islands. One of which is the most populated island on earth – whilst it’s not the Caribe paradise you might be hoping for, this island is certainly interesting to visit – it’s hectic!
Ask the boat guide to take your past Casa del Agua – a hostel in the sea (literally).
(Casa en la Agua)
My favourite island was Tintipan. It has a fun Caribbean vibe and plenty of white sand.
TIP: if you’re in a group, go speak to some locals and get a “private” boat trip so you’re on your own time. With a private trip of 4 people or more, you might get them down to 45,000 per person, but not much less.
3) Cook some Lobster
Just ask anybody in Rincon and they’ll point you to a fisherman. The going price through hostels is 35,000pesos per 500g, but we got 1kg for 35,000pesos.
(yes, I’m quite the chef!)
4) Chill the fuck out
And I mean this aggresively! Yes, the wifi might not be working, you might not be able to buy your favourite treat from the tienda. But just take a chill pill, get on that beach and do nothing all day!
(Go and lock yourself on this pier and read a book)
I’ve got this massive control-freak issue going on, and so as much as I’d love to explore our undersea world, I haven’t donned the wetsuit and gone under yet. I honestly can’t imagine being underwater and not being able to just take a big deep breath.
Anyway…I diverse. But yes, Scuba Diving is a thing here, there were a few folk each day heading out and seemed to be returning with big beaming smiles.
So that’s Rincon del Mar and I hope you’ll think it’s Marvellous too! Let me know if you go in the comments below!