Posted March 16th, 2014, 06:52 PM
I spent a week in Cartagena just a few weeks ago. Playa Blanca is a beautiful beach! You can get there by speed boat, which is about 45 minutes-1 hour, or you can take the bigger double decker boat that's more like a ferry. That ride is twice as long as the speed boat. I think it cost around 50,000 pesos, or about $25. Once at Playa Blanca, there are no real beach chairs for laying out. Your "area" is a tarp with sitting chairs. Prices are negotiable. He wanted 40,000 pesos, and when I said no he went down to 20,000 pesos, or $10. Beware of the peddlers. They are among the WORST I have seen anywhere. Massages, jewelry, drinks, you name it. There's a police station at the entrance of the beach where you'll be dropped off, so it's a pretty safe place.
The other resort I visited was Cocoliso on Rosario Island, again about a 45 minute ride on a speed boat. This one was more expensive- 90,000 pesos, or $45. The beach was almost nonexistent, literally just a little strip of a beach with some chairs. However the resort and grounds were beautiful, snorkeling was good, there's a pool with a slide, and it was not nearly as crowded as Playa Blanca.
The local beach in Cartagena where you can just take a taxi is Bocagrande. The beach there reminds me more of a beach you'll find in California, not Florida. The water was dark, not crystal blue. However there are plenty of people out in the water, enjoying drinks and having a fun day.
Lunch was included at both Playa Blanca and Cocoliso. I'm not sure what time your ship is in port, but the boats all leave around 9-9:30 am and return around 4ish. I hope this helps! I absolutely fell in love with Cartagena and wish more ships would port there. I'm going to try to upload a few pictures from my phone. My email is in my signature if you want to ask me any questions directly.