The beaches in and around the more developed and urban environs of Cartagena, the centuries-old historic city nestled on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, may not rate too highly with uncommon travelers. Throngs of tourists and a decidedly Miami vibe, especially along Playa Bocagrande, fly in the face of the sweet seclusion and authentically local seaside escape we normally seek. A better option, Playa Blanca, sits a short 40-minute boat ride outside the city on Isla Barú. There the pace is much less hectic; the beach scene more tranquil. Crowds may still be an issue most weekends and holidays, so plan accordingly and get here early in the day to experience this special playa’s sand and seas at their uncommon best.

*Photo credit: Flickr user Ezequiel Badin.

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