Private Boat Rental Cartagena: How To Find The Best Ones?

A detailed guide to renting the best private boats in Cartagena, with advice from an expert who has been in the business for many years.

🛑 Stop paying 2-3 times more than the real local price when booking your private boat in Cartagena. Start learning the best tips for finding the perfect boat and enjoy your island hopping experience.

Do you want a simple day trip, or do you prefer staying at sea for several nights? Are you looking for luxury & comfort, or would you instead go on a party boat?

When it comes to renting a private boat in Cartagena, you want the best experience possible. And believe me, it’s not that simple.

To help you out, I spoke with Aymeric, a French entrepreneur who has lived in Cartagena since 2018.

He’s been in the boat rental business since 2019 and knows all the boat owners directly—so his rates are much more attractive.

Here’s what you’ll get if you read my guide c.a.r.e.f.u.l.l.y:

  • Learn about the 4 types of boats you can rent in Cartagena.
  • Know the real boat rental rates.
  • Create the best itinerary to enjoy this Caribbean paradise.
  • Avoid the common mistakes made by travelers.
  • Understand why I always recommend Aymeric when it comes to renting a boat.

Who are we đź‘‹

Since 2015, Adrien, Alejandra, and I (Tom) have been helping travelers explore Colombia. Here, you will find everything you need to fall in love with this beautiful country easily.


Our Favorite Local Expert

Our mission at Tomplanmytrip is to put you in touch directly with the best local agencies in Colombia (tested and approved by us). It’s a no-cost, no-hassle, no-risk service.

Book with locals
Easily Find The Best Private Boats With Aymeric
4.9

Over 100 of our readers book their boats in Cartagena with Aymeric monthly. He works only with the best local captains, knows the best spots, and will quickly answer any questions you may have.

Pros:
  • A reliable, organized local agency.
  • Pay local prices at no extra cost.
Learn about him Chat with him
Easy, quick and risk-free (Talk first. Book later)

Boat charters in Cartagena: Is it worth it?

Boat rosario island with Ameryc Cartagena 1

It’s the first question you should ask yourself.

Renting a private boat in Cartagena is an experience that I found both liberating and fun.

My day started early, around 9 AM, and the excitement was palpable. With music, dancing, and my favorite drinks, the boat trip to the Rosario Islands felt like a personal party on the sea. I had the freedom to choose where I wanted to go: white-sand beaches, lively beach clubs, tiny islands, and delightful restaurants.

Here are a few interesting points I learned from my experience:

  • It’s an excellent group activity—you can split the cost and enjoy having your own space without the crowds. However, for couples or individuals, the cost might feel significant.
  • It’s crucial to prepare for the return journey, as it can be a bit rough, especially if the sea is choppy. There won’t be much to do but reminisce about the day’s adventures.

In essence, renting a private boat in Cartagena is an indulgence in freedom and fun tailored to your preferences. It’s the perfect way to spend some quality time and create lasting memories. You won’t find a better option if you only have 1 day to enjoy the natural beauty of Rosario Islands.

Rosario-Island-Boat-with-Aymeric-Cartagena

Okay, you’ve just decided that renting a private boat is exactly what you need. Now, let’s look at your options.

Types of private boat experiences

Tom partying Isla Cholon

Depending on the islands you decide to visit and the type of boat you choose, you’ll have a different experience.

1# A party boat rental in Cartagena

Ideal for groups of friends. You can bring your own alcohol and favorite playlist, creating a lively atmosphere. The itinerary will include stops at various beach clubs and the vibrant Isla Cholon, known for its energetic party scene. It’s perfect for those who want to dance, mingle, and enjoy the festive Caribbean vibe.

2# A relaxing boat rental trip

For a more laid-back experience, you can decide to stop at beach restaurants for a leisurely meal, spending time sunbathing on the serene shores and snorkeling. It’s a great way to enjoy the beauty of Cartagena’s coastline in a relaxed setting.

3# Luxury yacht charters

If you want to enjoy all the advantages of the classic speedboat tour but without the drawbacks (the possibility of resting in the shade, a quieter boat ride), then you can book one of the many luxurious yachts available in Cartagena. It’s the fanciest way to experience the Rosario Islands, with the possibility of booking a chef and feeling like a millionaire.

4# Sunset Cruise

For those with limited time or budget, a sunset cruise in the Bay of Cartagena is a wonderful option.

It offers a unique view of the city as the sun dips below the horizon, creating a memorable and romantic atmosphere. Afterward, you can eat on board (if you order in advance at a restaurant).

Rentals are generally from 5 pm to midnight, with a minimum of 2 hours. This shorter trip is budget-friendly and fits well into a tight schedule

5# Multi-day trips among the Islands

This is an ideal choice for those who prefer leisurely travel so that you can appreciate the islands during peaceful moments, especially at sunrise and sunset.

Embark on a 3-day expedition (meals included) aboard a sailboat. Enjoy delicious barbecue prepared by the captains as you explore the Caribbean Sea’s coral reefs. If diving isn’t your thing, paddles are also available on board. During this journey, you’ll have the opportunity to observe the bioluminescent plankton in Laguna Encantada, visit various islands, and even swim to a plane wreck!

Which Islands can you visit with your private charter

Even if hiring a private boat for the entire day gives you more freedom, it’s best to know in advance the places you want to visit. You should leave Cartagena at 9am.

The Rosario islands

Sol y Papaya Beach - Isla Grande - Islas del Rosario

You’ll always start by the Rosario Islands—it’s the most paradise-like spot, with turquoise waters, palm trees, and white beach sand. It’s more or less 1h away from Cartagena.

Delight in snorkeling through crystal-clear waters, exploring vibrant coral reefs, and swimming in “La Piscina.” For the more adventurous, a sunken airplane awaits 6 meters below the surface.

Consider stopping at one of the numerous nearby beach restaurants for a snack and relish their private white-sand beach. You can also tour around to view luxurious private homes.

  • The best beaches are found at Islabela, Pau’e, and Rosario Tequendema.
  • I recommend eating at Islabela or Pa’ue Beach Lounge.
  • Go to Bora Bora if you’re looking for a party vibe—too expensive for my taste.

Isla ChĂłlon

Isla Cholon in Rosario Island (3)

This place is renowned for its lively party scene, especially on weekends. Boats anchor together, and people dance to loud reggaeton music. However, beware of assertive vendors who may attempt to sell you drinks and food at steep prices. Aymeric can introduce you to a reliable local in Cholon.

If you prefer a more tranquil lunch, consider stopping at Restaurante Aura, which offers a fixed-price menu.

Even if you don’t want to party, you can still pass by for a quick look—it’s on the way to Isla Baru.

Isla Baru

Nena Beach Club & Hotel (1) in playa blanca isla baru
Credit: Nena Beach Club

Isla Baru (Baru Island) is mostly known for Playa Blanca, a beautiful yet overcrowded beach. The large number of people and jet skis will make swimming challenging. For eating, consider Ocean Blue and Banana Beach Club, both of which offer excellent seafood and picturesque views.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of stopping off at Playa Blanca when I charter a private boat. You can ask the captains to find a more discreet spot, like the area in front of the Hotel Decameron.

Tierra Bomba Island

Amare Tierra Bomba Beach Club credit
Credit: Amare

Usually, people don’t include Tierra Bomba in their itinerary because it lacks white sand beaches and turquoise waters.

The island is located 15 minutes away from Cartagena and has popular beach clubs like Blue Apple, Amare and Marlin, known for excellent food and drinks.

San Bernardo islands

Isla tintipan (1)

While beautiful, the San Bernardo islands are two hours away, making them less feasible for a one-day trip. And there are fewer nice options to stop for a lunch break.

What’s included and not included

The boat rental package includes a full tank of fuel for the day, a captain and an assistant, a sound system for your entertainment, as well as a fridge or cooler that includes ice. Dock fees, if you’re with Aymeric, are also covered.

The boat rental does not include transportation from your hotel to the marina or dock and back, other drinks, meals, or snacks (though these can be brought along or purchased on the islands), snorkeling equipment, or extra hours outside of the standard 9 AM to 5 PM timeframe.

You’ll have 4 options.

Speedboats: The most common and affordable option

Boat rental Cartagena Speedboat

If you are searching for an affordable option that is ideal for smaller groups, I recommend a speedboat—also known as Lancha on the Caribbean Coast. It’s the most popular option.

It’s a small, fast boat designed with a long, narrow platform and a planing hull to allow it to reach high speeds. Each speedboat has a Bluetooth sound system, a bathroom, and a cushioned area for sunbathing.

Advantage and Inconveniences

  • You’ll quickly reach the Rosario islands.
  • It’s the most economical option.
  • You won’t be able to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Depending on the number of people and the size of the speedboat, you’ll be packed tight.

Cartagena boat rental prices

  • From 1,600,000 COP (400 USD) for a classic 29ft.
  • The largest speedboats can accommodate up to 30 people.

Charter Yachts: A fancy way to enjoy the Rosario Islands

Boat rental Cartagena Yacht

Renting a yacht to explore the Rosario Islands provides luxury and space. Their expansive designs, often with two floors, offer more private bathrooms and bedrooms for relaxation, enhancing the experience with comfort and style. If you like, you can request a chef to prepare a delicious meal on board.

Advantage and Inconveniences

  • You’ll feel like a VIP.
  • You’ll have a lot more space to dance and hang out.
  • You can have a break from the party and the sun.
  • You won’t feel the bumpy ride.
  • It’s more expensive.

Cartagena boat rental prices

  • From 6,000,000 COP (1500 USD)
  • The largest Yachts can accommodate up to 25 people.

Charter a Catamaran: Ideal for celebration

Boat rental Cartagena Catamaran (1)

A catamaran, featuring two independent hulls and a deck with a roof, is popular in Cartagena due to its optimal comfort. It is especially suitable for larger groups of 25-80 people. With its slower pace, it is perfect for celebrations and offers plenty of space for dancing and socializing.

Advantage and Inconveniences

  • It’s the most spacious option.
  • Perfect for partying and socializing.
  • It’s slow, except if it’s a catamaran Powercat.

Cartagena boat rental prices

  • From 4,500,000 COP (1100 USD) if it’s a slow catamaran
  • From 10,000,000 (2500 USD) if it’s a Powercat.
  • The largest catamarans can accommodate up to 80 people.

Charter a Sailboat: For a multi-day trip experience

Boat rental Cartagena Sailboat (1)

The sailboat is usually the most chill-out option. It’s perfect for people who want to sleep on board and avoid having to go ashore every night. Depending on the weather, you can let yourself be carried by the winds to the Rosario Islands.

Advantage and inconveniences

  • Romantic and peaceful option.
  • Avoid the crowd.
  • 1 or 2 nights.
  • For small groups only.

Cartagena boat rental prices

  • From 6,000,000 COP/night (1,500 USD) full board if 2-3 pers.
  • Usually, 6-8 pers can sleep on board.

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Why Do We Recommend with Aymeric

Aymeric Tom Adrien French Touch
Aymeric and us!

I like recommending Aymeric for boat rentals in Cartagena because he’s quick to answer in English and really knows the best local boat owners and captains—he was a boat owner too. He’s super friendly and helps with everything, like picking the best spots, booking beach restaurants, and even buying drinks. It makes planning a boat trip much easier and more fun.

You can easily contact Aymeric directly by using our online form. This won’t cost you extra – we simply connect you with him, and then he’ll reach out to you through WhatsApp. We do this to help travelers get in touch with reliable local agencies and ensure you get the best prices. It’s our way of supporting our favorite local agencies and ensuring you have direct access to top-notch services.

Book with locals
Easily Find The Best Private Boats With Aymeric
4.9

Over 100 of our readers book their boats in Cartagena with Aymeric monthly. He works only with the best local captains, knows the best spots, and will quickly answer any questions you may have.

Pros:
  • A reliable, organized local agency.
  • Pay local prices at no extra cost.
Learn about him Chat with him
Easy, quick and risk-free (Talk first. Book later)

Renting your private boat in Cartagena: My best advice

In this section, you will find all the essential information you need to improve your boat charter experience in Cartagena.

Cartagena weather for Boat renting

In Cartagena, known for its near year-round sun, boat trips are seldom disrupted by the weather.

The dry season, from December to April, offers sunny weather with temperatures ranging from 70’s°F to 90’s°F (22 – 32 deg. C°). However, during this period, the return journey from the islands can experience big waves.

The rainiest months are September and October, yet, even in these months, the weather generally features brief, heavy showers. Rain rarely spoils the spirit of a boat trip, as it is usually short-lived and part of the adventure.

It’s important to note that boat trips are sometimes canceled due to bad weather conditions—2-4 cancellations per year. It’s a decision made by the port authority.

Cartagena’s high season

Cartagena’s high season includes the Miss Colombia pageant in November, the holidays from December 15th to January 15th, and Easter.

During these times, it’s crucial to book your boat, beach clubs, and beach restaurants well in advance due to increased demand. You’ll find more people around the islands, and prices for rentals and services can double.

Boat rental prices in Cartagena

There are no fixed prices between boat owners. It will vary according to season, availability, group size, and number of intermediaries.

Cartagena is a tourist city visited by many Americans. Some unscrupulous agencies do not hesitate to increase their prices if they meet a foreigner.

If possible, try to go through an agency that is in direct contact with the boat owners. You will pay less for your boat rental in Cartagena.

Also, you want to double-check if the renting includes the dock fee—about 5 USD per person to enter the Rosario Island National Park.

While budget is a key consideration for most of us when planning a trip, opting for the cheapest agency and boat rental in Cartagena may not be the best choice.

The sea can be rough at certain times of the year, and an inexperienced or unlicensed captain, often provided by cheaper agencies, may pose safety issues. Additionally, these agencies might offer boats in poor condition to cut costs.

Therefore, it’s crucial to prioritize quality over cost when choosing a boat rental agency. Look for an agency that can communicate in English and is committed to providing a good customer experience. This way, you can avoid potential problems and ensure a smooth and enjoyable boat rental experience in Cartagena.

Boat schedule and itineraries

Boat rentals in Cartagena run from 9 AM to 5 PM, so it’s important to arrive on time in the morning to maximize your day at sea. For safety, boats generally head back to Cartagena between 3-4 PM, as tides get stronger in the afternoon.

While renting a private boat offers flexibility in your itinerary, keep in mind that once you move from one location to another, like from the Rosario Islands to BarĂş for lunch, you can’t go back to a previous spot. It’s best to plan a straightforward itinerary to ensure a smooth and enjoyable day.

This does not apply if you book a multi-day sailing trip or the sunset experience (5pm to midnight max.). For the latter, you’ll need to stay in Cartagena Bay.

Cartagena’s docks

In Cartagena, the main docks for boat departures are Pegasus Dock, Todomar Marina, and Cartagena Nautical Club. All are near or a short taxi ride from the walled city. It’s important to double-check with the boat charter company so that you don’t show up at the wrong place.

  • Pegasus Dock is just 100 meters from the walled city, making it easily accessible for those staying in Centro. You’ll probably leave from there.
  • Todomar Marina is at the Bocagrande entrance, a 5-10 minute taxi ride from Centro.
  • Cartagena Nautical Club, in the Manga neighborhood, is about 10 minutes by taxi from the walled city and mainly serves larger boats like yachts and catamarans.

Drinks

On board, you’ll be provided with a cooler and ice. I recommend bringing your own water and asking the boat charter company to purchase any other drinks you want, whether it’s alcohol or non-alcoholic beverages. This way, you’re well-prepared for your trip.

Additionally, you’ll have the option to buy drinks at beach clubs and restaurants during your stops, offering more variety, like fancy cocktails.

Lunch

During your boat trip, you have a wide range of lunch options to choose from.

For a local cuisine, consider trying the rustic and tasty dishes available on most islands, such as fried fish with coconut rice and patacón. IslaBela and Pa’ue are great places to eat these specialties right on the beach.

If you’re looking for a wider variety of food, Mediterranean cuisine is served at restaurants like Fenix, Amare, or Blue Apple on Tierra Bomba, or Aura near Cholon.

Do keep in mind that meal preparation might take about an hour. I recommend you reserve your restaurant in advance with Aymeric.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to save some money, consider packing your own lunch. Aymeric can also arrange a catered picnic if needed.

You’ll rent your private boat with a skipper

When renting a boat in Cartagena, a local captain and his assistant will be provided to handle navigation since you won’t be allowed to drive, even if you hold a foreign boat license.

Local captains know a lot about the nearby islands, but I still recommend you create your own itinerary with Aymeric ahead of time. Keep in mind that 99% of the captains don’t speak English.

Lastly, it’s customary to cover the captains’ meals, which typically cost around 10-15 USD per meal.

Price scams

Beware of locals who may be targeting tourists to extract as much money as possible.

To avoid being scammed or overcharged, always clarify prices before purchasing and confirm that they are quoted in Colombian Pesos (COP), not dollars. Be particularly vigilant in places like Playa Azul, Isla Cholon, and Playa Blanca, which are known for price gouging.

And don’t listen to anyone offering ‘free’ samples, as these are often not free at all.

The key to avoiding unexpected costs is awareness and asking the right questions upfront.

What to bring

When packing for a boat trip in Cartagena, there are several essentials to consider:

  • Sun protection is paramount due to the intense sun and its reflection off the water, so don’t forget to pack a strong SPF 50 sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
  • Your hydration is key, so be sure to include plenty of water in your packing list.
  • Bring a towel and beach-appropriate clothing.
  • Your favorite music playlist for the boat’s Bluetooth speakers to enhance your experience on the water.
  • It’s also advisable to carry cash for island purchases such as fresh oysters and for tipping your crew.

A cheaper alternative: Get on a shared boat

If you’re on a tight budget or traveling alone, a shared boat tour is a cost-effective alternative. This option also provides an opportunity to meet new people. However, for groups of four or more, I suggest considering a private boat if it aligns with your budget.

A private boat offers a fully customizable experience. You have the freedom to select your own destinations, bring your own food and drinks, and even choose your own music playlist. Good shared tours usually cost around 80-100 USD per person, you can rent a private boat for under 400 USD

Q&A: cartagena boat rental

Boat rosario island with Ameryc Cartagena 3

Here are the most frequently asked questions about boat rental in Cartagena.

  1. How much does it cost to rent a yacht in Colombia?

    Day yacht charter in Colombia costs at least 1500 USD.

  2. What is the cost of renting a boat in the high season and the low season in Cartagena?

    In low season, you can expect to rent a small speed boat for 400 USD in Cartagena. In high season, prices are usually increased by 25%.

  3. When is the best time of year to rent a boat in Cartegena?

    I like to rent a boat in June, July, August or November because the prices are more attractive, the weather is often sunny and the sea is calm.

best cartagena boat rental: The bottom line

There are a variety of boats to rent in Cartagena de IndĂ­as. Depending on your budget and plans, you can book a speedboat, a yacht, a sailboat, or a catamaran.

This is why it’s important to book through a reliable local agency that can advise you without ripping you off on prices.

👉 For all these reasons, I’m glad to recommend our local partner Aymeric. Don’t hesitate to visit his page and contact him to plan your boat trip from Cartagena.

Book with locals
Easily Find The Best Private Boats With Aymeric
4.9

Over 100 of our readers book their boats in Cartagena with Aymeric monthly. He works only with the best local captains, knows the best spots, and will quickly answer any questions you may have.

Pros:
  • A reliable, organized local agency.
  • Pay local prices at no extra cost.
Learn about him Chat with him
Easy, quick and risk-free (Talk first. Book later)

What to read next?

Cartagena’s historic city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Check out our article on the best things to do in Cartagena.

INFORMATION: PLEASE NOTE THAT SOME LINKS ARE AFFILIATE S AND AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU, I EARN A SMALL COMMISSION IF YOU MAKE A BOOKING. IT’S A NICE GESTURE TO THANK US FOR THE MANY HOURS WE DEDICATE TO TOMPLANMYTRIP 🙂

I have been traveling around Colombia and Mexico since 2015 to discover new experiences and help travelers make the right choices.

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