In this article:
- If you’re traveling around Colombia and want the mellow Caribbean experience you’ve always dreamed of, visit Rincon del Mar, Sucre.
- The easiest way to get there is to take the bus from Cartagena to San Onofre and then get a taxi to Rincon del Mar.
- When you visit Rincon del Mar, you’ll find plenty of amazing activities to offer including a bioluminescent plankton tour, day trips to the San Bernardo Islands, scuba diving, snorkeling, and lounging on the beautiful beaches.
We all dream of finding ourselves in some Caribbean paradise, sitting on the beach with a cocktail, and watching the sunset.
But all too often, when you arrive at that destination that was supposed to fulfill that vision, your experience is spoiled by hordes of people taking selfies, countless vendors trying to peddle everything imaginable, and mountains of trash that make you realize just how poorly that Caribbean paradise is being treated.
I’ve been to quite a few beach towns just like that. So after my recent visit to Rincon del Mar, Colombia, I can say that the quaint village comes pretty close to the ideal beach town. It’s authentic, safe, inexpensive, and has a character all its own.
In the week before we got to Rincon del Mar, my girlfriend and I were in Cartagena and Barranquilla, big cities flocked with tourists and merchants constantly hawking their wares. It got overwhelming.
We were looking for somewhere to decompress after the madness that was Carnaval de Barranquilla 2022 and our friends recommended that we visit Rincon del Mar.
With our extremely limited knowledge of the area or even how to get there, we embarked on a six-hour bus ride from Barranquilla and made our way to the idyllic beach town. We were immediately impressed with what we found.
Everyone in the town was kind and friendly. No one really bothered us to buy anything but, if we wanted to purchase some produce or a beer, we were greeted with smiles and words of welcome.
The streets were filled with children playing. The stray dogs all seemed unaggressive and sweet.
And, the beach? The beach was gorgeous: calm, clear, and warm water with beautiful birds circling overhead. It felt like a dream. If you’re traveling around the Caribbean coast of Colombia, you have to visit Rincon del Mar.
Things to Do in Rincon del Mar
No matter where you’re staying when you visit Rincon del Mar, the best thing to do is, quite simply, find a nice spot on the beach and lounge. I’d recommend that you spend at least one full day doing this.
Take a dip in the warm water. Find a spot under a tree, and sit in the soft sand. There are plenty of little shops around, so you can grab cold water, soda, or beer as needed.
I could have stayed on those beaches indefinitely and watched the birds swirl around in the sky. But if you’re a bit more activity-oriented, there are still plenty of things to do when you visit Rincon del Mar.
Plankton Tour and Bird Island
My favorite activity that we did in Rincon del Mar was the Plankton Tour. We hopped on a boat and took a short ride over to Bird Island just in time for sunset. As the sun goes down, many types of birds flock to this island to find a place to sleep for the night.
You’ll see hundreds of birds jostling for position, trying to find the best place to sleep. You can also look off into the distance and see birds coming from far away against the dramatic backdrop of the Caribbean sunset.
By nightfall, your guide will take you through a labyrinth of mangroves to what seems to be a hidden cove.
Once he drops the anchor, you can run your hand through the water and watch it sparkle with bioluminescent plankton. Then, jump in and watch your body glow as you move through the iridescent water. If you’ve never seen bioluminescent plankton before, it really looks magical.
San Bernardo Islands
Although, there’s really no reason to leave the beautiful beaches of Rincon del Mar, if you want to get even more remote, take a trip over to the San Bernardo Islands.
This little archipelago of ten islands is only about a 30-minute boat ride from Rincon del Mar and is full of incredible beaches and small communities to explore.
If you want to see one of the more unique places in Colombia, you can visit Santa Cruz del Islote, the most densely populated island on Earth.
The island is full of life with children running through the streets, adults sitting around and chatting, and teenagers blasting music and drinking Aguila beer.
Other islands you should visit while you’re there include Palma, Mucura, and Tintipan.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
There are plenty of amazing reefs filled with ample ocean life around Rincon del Mar. And, even though the town is small and off the beaten path for travelers in Colombia, there are actually several PADI-certified diving schools in the town.
You can find one of the dive shops near Chill Octopus Hostel right on the main strip of the town. They’ll take you out and teach you how to dive for a very affordable price.
If you don’t like the idea of diving, you can always experience the reefs along the coast when you visit Rincon del Mar with a snorkeling mask. Just talk to a local who owns a boat and they’ll take you out to one of the reefs for a few hours of snorkeling.
How to Visit Rincon del Mar, Colombia
If you want to visit Rincon del Mar, the most common way to get there is to travel to Cartagena first. There’s a solid chance that you’ll be flying into Rafael Nuñez International Airport in Cartagena. From there, the journey to Rincon del Mar is fairly easy.
To get from the center of Cartagena to the bus terminal, you’ll need to hop in a taxi. The ride will take about an hour. I don’t know why they placed the bus terminal so far from the center of the city. But once you’re there, catch a bus to the city of San Onofre. This leg of the trip takes about two hours.
Once you’re in San Onofre, there will most likely be a bunch of people ushering you onto their motorbikes or into their taxis.
The motorbikes are slightly cheaper, but many people don’t feel comfortable riding on them. Even if you opt for another taxi, though, you’re not going to spend your life’s savings on transportation to visit Rincon del Mar.
All of the drivers know where the hotels and hostels in Rincon del Mar are located, so just tell them which one you’re going to and they’ll drop you right at the doorstep. Easy.
Where to Stay in Rincon del Mar
Since tourism has begun to pick up in Rincon del Mar, a whole bunch of hotels and hostels are popping up to fill the demand. Some are nicer than others, but most are extremely affordable.
My girlfriend and I stayed at Folatun Hostel Boutique, which we thought was absolutely fantastic.
For around $23 per night, we got a beautiful private room with a double bed, private bathroom, air conditioning, and towels. It even included breakfast and coffee. The staff was extremely friendly and accommodating. And the hostel also offered a few different tours that were all mind-blowing.
Wherever you choose to stay when you visit Rincon del Mar, make sure you’re right next to the beach. Rincon del Mar is filled with extremely affordable places that are either right on the water or just a stone’s throw away.