Rincón del Mar, Colombia, is definitely one of our favorite travel destinations in South America. The small coastal town on Colombia’s Caribbean coast is like a trip back to the old, authentic Colombia.
The best things to do in Rincón del Mar take you to an old fishing village where mass tourism has not yet arrived. Here, you can still discover unspoiled beaches and enjoy them almost all to yourself.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know for a trip to Rincón del Mar – with lots of practical information, travel tips, and our personal experience in this Colombian gem.
What to find out in this post
- 1 Rincón del Mar, Colombia, Facts
- 2 How to get to Rincón del Mar
- 3 Rincón del Mar Transport
- 4 The best things to do in Rincón del Mar
- 5 Where to stay in Rincón del Mar
- 6 Rincón del Mar Travel Tips
- 7 Best Travel Time for Rincón del Mar
- 8 Where is Rincón del Mar
- 9 FAQs for traveling to Rincón del Mar
Rincón del Mar, Colombia, Facts
- It has only about 4,000 inhabitants.
- The closest town to the San Bernardo archipelago on the mainland
- Its name can be translated as “corner of the sea.
- Former fishing village
RINCÓN DEL MAR INFO BOX
The most popular activities & tours in Rincón del Mar
Day Trip to San Bernardo Islands
Transport On-Site: On foot, cab, boat, tuk-tuk, or taxi
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Rincón del Mar Must-Have: Colombia Travel Guide
How to get to Rincón del Mar
Travel time from Cartagena: ca. 2½ hours
Price: ca. 75.000 COP (ca. € 16/$ 18) one-way
Getting there: By public van/bus to San Onofre and from there by moto taxi, cab, or tuk-tuk
From Cartagena de Indias, public vans and buses leave almost every hour toward San Onofre. The trip takes about 1½ -2 hours.
In San Onofre, the drop-off happens at the gas station. Here, you have the option: you can continue by tuk-tuk cab, by regular taxi (most expensive option), or by moto-taxi (cheapest option).
Rincón del Mar Transport
Rincón del Mar is such a small place that you don’t need any transportation. You can quickly get everywhere on foot.
If it is too much of a distance, you also have the option of taking a moto-taxi.
Many of the tours that are offered here take place on the water. In this case, of course, the means of transport is a boat.
The best things to do in Rincón del Mar
Now that you know the most essential information for your trip, we can finally get to the most important part: What to see in Rincón del Mar.
Playa Rincón del Mar
The main attraction of Rincón del Mar is its main beach. Spend a few relaxing hours here, and even the whole day if you like.
Refresh yourself in the crystal clear Caribbean water, lay down in the sun, or visit one of the many local bars and restaurants along the coast of the small village.
The atmosphere along the main beach of Rincón is totally laid back. Loud music and dozens of drunken tourists, as is unfortunately the case on some other beaches in the area (I’m looking at you, Santa Marta!), haven’t found their way here yet.
If you are looking for an even more secluded beach without bars and restaurants – an unspoiled Caribbean coast, you should turn left when you arrive at the beach. After a few steps, you will reach Playa Balsillas.
And here you will find: Nothing. No bars, no restaurants, no music, and no stalls. Just a beautiful sandy beach.
The further you walk, the fewer visitors you will meet. We usually got there in the morning, right after breakfast, and often had a whole section of beach to ourselves.
Enjoy a cool drink at the beach
A cool drink overlooking the sea – it’s a great way to spend your nights on a Colombia trip. Whether you enjoy a glass of wine like us, prefer a bottle of beer enjoyed from the fine sand, or sip a fruity milkshake is entirely up to you.
The choice is vast. What counts is that fantastic view of the sea – watch the last boats of the day return to shore and relax with a dreamy view of the surf.
Sunset at the Beach
One of the most beautiful moments in Rincón del Mar is the view when the sun disappears on the horizon, and the sky shines in the most beautiful colors.
Sunsets in Rincón del Mar are really something special. No wonder you will find several people on the beach at this time of day who come to watch this beautiful natural spectacle.
Observe the color change from one of the bars with a cold drink in your hand or sit down on the soft sand.
Rincón del Mar Mangroves Tour
Tour duration: ca. 2 hours
Tour Price: 30.000 COP (ca. € 7/ $ 7.5)
The mangrove tour is a must-do if you’re in Rincón del Mar and looking for an unforgettable experience. Dive deep into the heart of the region’s beautiful mangrove forests and get up close with the adorable sloths that call it home. And guess what? You’re also making a positive impact on the environment.
Mundo Verde Rincón del Mar has been offering these tours for years, and trust me, it’s a journey worth taking. Picture this: gliding by boat through the serene waterways, surrounded by the lush greenery of the mangroves. Then, set foot on an island, wandering through its forests and spotting free-roaming sloths and birds. For us, seeing those sloths in the wild was a heartwarming first.
The guides a treasure trove of knowledge, sharing insights about the diverse flora and fauna.
But here’s the cherry on top: a portion of the tour’s proceeds goes towards cleaning up the mangroves. Mundo Verde Rincón del Mar takes the initiative to remove the trash from these vital ecosystems, ensuring they remain pristine.
So, for the love of nature, adventure, and making a difference, this tour gets a big thumbs up from me.
Bioluminescence Tour – Swim in the glowing plankton
Tour duration: ca. 3 hours
Tour Price: 50.000 COP (ca. € 11/ $ 12)
The coast of Rincón del Mar offers not only fantastic beaches but also fascinating natural phenomena. One of them is the luminous plankton that makes the sea sparkle in certain places. As soon as the water is moved, it starts to glow – a simply breathtaking natural event.
The tour starts with a visit to Bird Island. As the name suggests, this island is populated by numerous birds. Here, you can watch from the boat how the sinking sun transforms the sea into a beautiful blaze of color.
After the sunset, you will continue to the place where the sea water starts to glow due to the plankton. It is an impressive spectacle when the dark water lights up in a fascinating light with every movement. It feels like swimming in an ocean of tiny stars.
Jump into the surprisingly warm water and let the plankton glow affect you. It was the third time I got to admire this natural phenomenon, and I must say it was definitely the most impressive of them all.
Extra tip: If you are prone to seasickness, I recommend taking a pill before the tour, as it can get a little rocky on the boat during sunset.
Extra tip: The darker it is, the better the glowing plankton will show. So try to avoid full moon nights if possible.
Day Trip to San Bernardo Islands
Travel Time: ca. 1 hour by boat
Tour Price: 70.000 COP (ca. € 15/$ 17)
Getting there: With a guided tour (e.g., best to book on-site) or a private boat
While many of Colombia’s beaches are not as paradisiacal as one might expect Caribbean beaches to be, the San Bernardo Islands offer a welcome paradisiacal change. This tour will take you to some of Colombia’s most picturesque beaches, where you can experience the true beauty of the Colombian Caribbean.
From Rincón del Mar, you will have the advantage of a shorter boat ride compared to the departure from Cartagena. The tour takes you to three fantastic islands, and sometimes, there’s even an extra stop for snorkeling along the way. There is an additional cost if you want to rent snorkeling equipment, though.
Santa Cruz de Islote
The first stop of the tour is the most densely populated island in the world, Santa Cruz de Islote. More than 1,200 people live on this small island. However, the overcrowding has drawbacks – the island is quite dirty (be sure to have some shoes/flip-flops with you if you want to visit).
A tip (or rather a request): Don’t take the guided tour! The tour costs an additional 10,000 COP (about 2 €), is extremely short (less than five minutes!), and the guide is barely understandable (even the Colombians couldn’t understand him). In addition, you are taken to an aquarium where a shark is kept in an utterly overcrowded tank where it is constantly touched and tugged back and forth by tourists – a clear case of animal cruelty.
Sadly, we didn’t like the island at all – it’s just that it’s part of the tour. But trust me, you won’t miss anything staying on the boat or wandering around by yourself.
This small but picturesque island offers clear waters where you can swim or just relax on the beach and enjoy a drink.
Snorkeling is also possible if you rent snorkeling equipment or bring your own. But to be honest, there is hardly anything to see here besides a couple of little fishes.
So refresh yourself a little bit in the water or walk along the small trail on the island’s coast.
The largest of the three islands offers more room and amenities. The beach is stunning and can easily compete with Caribbean beaches from travel magazines, such as the ones you might find traveling in Cancún, Mexico.
There are restaurants (bring cash) and small stands for snacks and drinks.
Small tip: Unfortunately, there are no vegetarian options. And if you order something, be sure to double-check the price. When we paid, we were charged more than the locals because we were served a “slightly larger portion” without even requesting it.
The natural beauty of the island and the relaxed atmosphere make it a highlight of the tour. If you want to stay overnight, there are some great hotel options on the island. Be sure to let your guide know ahead of time so he can drop you off at the correct location.
Where to eat in Rincón del Mar
Our week in Rincón del Mar was made even better with some good food. Our hostess, Zaira, served us a hearty breakfast every morning that set the tone for the day. And while that was delightful, two restaurants in particular stood out for me.
Kapito Harri has become our favorite restaurant in Rincón del Mar. And I’m not just saying that because a Spaniard runs it!
There is a wide selection of different dishes, but the pizza and pasta are especially good. The prices are also totally reasonable.
If you prefer something more elegant, you should not miss Che. It serves upscale cuisine, focusing on fresh fish and seafood. But there are also vegetarian options.
Where to stay in Rincón del Mar
Los Versos de Zaira
We felt very comfortable at Zaira’s. Already, her large garden invites you to unwind. Although the accommodation is a short walk from the beach, her house with the super creatively furnished rooms offers a great place to rest.
The highlight, however, is the generous breakfast Zaira serves every morning – with more fruit than you can eat.
If you decide to stay at Los Versos de Zaira, please send our warmest regards.
Dos Aguas Lodge
Dos Aguas is by far the most popular accommodation in Rincón del Mar and a sight in itself. Relax in a somewhat secluded part of the coast right on the beach and soak up the upscale maritime atmosphere.
Extra tip: Dos Aguas is often fully booked. So be sure to book at least a few days in advance, ideally a few weeks.
Rincón del Mar Travel Tips
Now, before you head out to experience these fantastic Rincón del Mars sights with your own eyes, I’d like to share a few quick travel tips with you.
There are no ATMs in Rincón del Mar
There are no ATMs in Rincón del Mar. Yes, you read that right. So, before you head out, make sure you have enough cash on you.
The easiest way to stock up on pesos is in Cartagena de Indias. There, you have a choice of different banks.
There is an ATM in San Onofre, but our host, Zaira, told us it can run out of cash. So, if you want to be on the safe side, Cartagena is your best bet.
And one more little hint: Only a few restaurants and accommodations accept card payments. So, you should definitely stock up on enough cash before you arrive.
Bring mosquito spray
Since Rincón del Mar is a natural beach destination, one thing you should always expect is mosquitoes.
So be sure to bring a mosquito spray of your choice to spend your beach visit without the pesky beasts.
Buy water in San Onofre
In Rincón del Mar, the tap water is unsafe for drinking, as it is in many parts of the country. If you pass by San Onofre on the way to Rincón del Mar, it is a convenient place to buy water for your stay in the supermarket there.
It is usually cheaper there than buying it directly in Rincón del Mar. Of course, you can also purchase water locally, but San Onofre is an excellent option if you want to save a little.
First things first: you will definitely not go hungry in Rincón del Mar. There are restaurants, small grocery stores, and mini-supermarkets where you can buy the most basic necessities.
Due to the somewhat tricky transport here, some things are a bit more expensive than in the supermarket in Cartagena de Indias. And needless to say, the selection here is smaller.
So, if you like, you can take precautions and stock up on snacks for your beach trip already in Cartagena.
With its proximity to the equator, the sun in Rincón del Mar is not to be messed with. For us, as a couple of white breads, there can never be enough sun protection. But even if you have a darker skin tone or are already pre-tanned, sunscreen is an absolute must.
Sunscreen in Colombia is generally quite expensive compared to Europe – but in Rincón del Mar, you can add a few pesos on top of that.
Be sure to stock up on sunscreen before you arrive. Ideally, you have a few bottles with you from home. Otherwise, stopping at the supermarket or pharmacy in Cartagena de Indias is worth it before heading to Rincón del Mar.
Best Travel Time for Rincón del Mar
Rincón del Mar can be visited all year round. The primary tourist season is between December and April. That’s when there is the best weather and the most sunny days.
The rainy season in Rincón del Mar lasts from September to November. However, this does not necessarily mean it rains daily during this time.
Where is Rincón del Mar
Rincón del Mar is located on the Colombian Caribbean coast, about 110 km west of Cartagena de Indias. The small town belongs to the municipality of the next largest city, San Onofre, in the department of Sucre.
FAQs for traveling to Rincón del Mar
I recommend you spend at least three days in Rincón del Mar to really relax and take at least one of the tours.
Rincón del Mar in Colombia is considered a fairly safe destination. Since there is still relatively little tourism here, everybody knows each other. Even pickpocketing is still very rare here.
There is no ATM in Rincón del Mar, and only a few options to pay by card. Therefore, be sure to bring enough cash with you (Colombian pesos).
The tap water in Rincón del Mar is not drinkable. Therefore, you should only drink filtered or bottled water.