The water was clear, turquoise, and perfectly warm. Never have I had a better landscape with which to experience Snorkeling Around the Coral Islands Rosario, in Colombia.

Photo Credit: Ashley Peak

Popular travel blogs often preach about the benefits and advantages of solo travel. And for good reason! Traveling alone can be an enriching and eye-opening experience. However, the solo traveler hype can often overshadow the joy of traveling with family.

Exploring with family gives travelers the chance to make and share precious memories together. Even Christopher McCandless, one of American history’s most beloved solo travelers, wrote in his journal towards the end of his life that “happiness is only real when shared.”

I had spent a year living and traveling in Colombia before my boyfriend’s mom, Charlene, came to visit. There were many joys in sharing what I learned about Colombia with her. Charlene teaches the 3rd grade in the United States. When we were planning her trip I knew that she deserved a fun, relaxing, and stress-free two weeks. We embarked on what was to be one of my most magical experiences in Colombia.

Snorkeling the Islands Rosario

The Coral Islands Rosario and San Bernardo, or the Parque Nacional Natural Islas Corales del Rosario y San Bernardo, in Spanish, is one of 46 National Parks in Colombia. They are located just off the coast of Cartagena, in the Caribbean sea.

Our first experience on the list, was snorkeling near the Coral Islands of Rosario.

The park features one of the most diverse ecosystems in the country, with many small islands, peaceful lagoons, fragile reefs, and mangrove swamps. Visitors can feast their eyes on spotted dolphins, West Indian manatees, hawksbill sea turtles, green sea turtles, cat sharks, and more than 150 species of fish, along with over 50 endemic species of birds.

Rosario Islands, is one of the best places in Colombia to immerse yourself in the rich, biodiversity the country is known for. I knew Charlene would enjoy seeing the Park by boat, but I also knew it would be really fun to organize an activity she had never done before: snorkeling.

What was so special about the experience was that she had never been snorkeling or explored coral reefs before. Sharing this unique travel experience in Colombia multiplied the joy because I was able to see it for the first time through someone else’s eyes.

Photo Credit: Ashley Peak

We arranged a snorkeling tour of some of the best reefs with a local guide. He provided us with snorkels, goggles, fins, and even swim noodles for when we grew tired. This is a great activity for the whole family because you don’t have to be an advanced swimmer or diver to enjoy it.

Our guide drove us on his boat to some of the best and most accessible snorkeling spots and gave us as a quick tutorial on snorkeling safety and tips. He gave us as much time as we wanted to explore the beauty of the reefs and their fine finned friends.

Photo Credit: Ashley Peak

The water was clear, turquoise, and perfectly warm. Charlene beams as she tells us that the day’s highlight, was the schools of lustrous blue fish we were able to follow around.

After we tired of swimming, our guide arranged for a local fisherman to bring us a fresh, hot, but reasonably-priced lobster lunch. A local entrepreneur came by our boat to display some locally made jewelry, which Charlene absolutely adored. After the memorable snorkeling, a delicious lunch, and some souvenirs to remember the trip, our guide brought us to one last snorkeling spot to explore a sunken pontoon plane. That night we had dinner at one of the many hotels in the area and toasted with our Limonada de Cocos as the sun set over the softly breaking waves of the Caribbean sea.

Photo Credit: Ashley Peak


Overall, it was a privilege to go on an underwater, National-Geographic-worthy adventure together, without the hassle or stress of diving. Our snorkeling experience in the Coral Islands of Rosario was without a doubt…better when shared.

Your own personalized Snorkeling tours of the Coral Islands Rosario, and San Bernardo, can be arranged through Colombia Eco Travel. Contact us today to make your reservation!