[NEW TRAVEL GUIDE] Isla Fuerte Colombia, An Ex-Drug Trafficker Island

[NEW TRAVEL GUIDE] Isla Fuerte Colombia, An Ex-Drug Trafficker Island

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The only times I heard about Isla Fuerte in the region of Cordoba, it was from the mouth of Colombian travelers. Famous for its incredible dives (Bushnell, Burbujas, and Bartolo), the old drug trafficker island is also an excellent place to have a rest for a few days. Palm tree and blue water, sloths and snorkeling, hostel or eco-lodge, if you would like spend few days on an island but still doing some activities, Isla Fuerte Colombia is for you!

Isla Fuerte Colombia, things to do

Our last stop was a lot of fun and chill, but now we need to meet more people. I guess it will not be hard to do more than 2. Backpack on the shoulder, we are waiting for the boat to go back to Nicocli. The sun is intense, and no shade on the dock. 2 boats arrive, but they are going in the opposite direction. In each, there is someone we know. 1+1=2, we indeed met more than two people, only staying on the dock. Small world.


Sunset on the beach San Diego


The 10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Isla Fuerte Colombia

  1. They have unusual trees
  2. You can observe Sloths
  3. It’s out of the gringo trail
  4. Fantastic dives
  5. La Playita
  6. Donkeys will be your alarm
  7. Everyone is chill and friendly
  8. You can surf
  9. Bucket shower
  10. You can try to find the treasure of Captain Morgan


The Backpacking Guide Of Isla Fuerte Colombia: Table Of Contents

  1. How to get to Isla Fuerte Colombia
  2. Hostels and hotels in Isla Fuerte Colombia
  3. Things to do in Isla Fuerte Colombia
  4. Where to eat in Isla Fuerte Colombia
  5. Conclusion

Click Here To Get The Best Information About Colombia

How To Travel To Isla Fuerte Colombia


So, you take the boat. Of course, it’s a little late. But just behind you, there is the hostel Anayansi. Have a beer and relax, the boat will come soon.

Click HERE to read the story

Isla Fuerte Colombia is part of our Cheap Caribbean Holidays itinerary 

Once in Necocli, crazy tuk-tuk driver is waiting for you. You buy your ticket directly on the dock, and they bring you for free to the bus of your choice.

They will give you usually 2 options:

Medellin around 7-8 hours and around 70 000 COP

Cartagena around 10 hours and around 80 000 COP

BUT, as you’re reading this blog, you know there is a lot of beautiful places between! If you plan to go to Cartagena, you can decide to spend a week on beautiful islands: Isla Fuerte Colombia and San Bernardo islands.

With your excellent Spanish accent, you say to the guy selling the bus ticket at the dock:

– Quiero ir a Montería.

– Que? Montería? Porque? Hay nada que hacer en Montería

Yes, he gonna be amazed. Yes, he gonna asks you 4 times. But you will be strong and you will answer every time:

Si, Montería porfa.

2 hours later, you arrive in town. Not a lot of things to do. A walk around the canal maybe. You’re back in the civilization also, so you can decide to buy some alcohol for the islands 😉

Unfortunately, you need to sleep 1 night here because it’s too late to go to Paseo Nuevo to have a boat to Isla Fuerte Colombia. At the bus terminal, ask a taxi to bring you to a cheap hotel. 40 000 COP for a private room for 2 people should be an average.

The next day, bam bam bam you are ready for your adventure. 1 bus, 1 moto taxi and 1 boat, you finally arrive at Isla Fuerte Colombia.


From Capurgana / Necocli to Isla Fuerte

You can take a boat in the morning to go to Necocli. Find the information on our article about Capurgana

Once in Necocli, take the bus in the direction of Cartagena and ask them to drop you at Monteria. You have to spend the night there because it will be too late to catch the bus.

The next morning, take the bus to Paseo Nuevo. It’s 2 hours away. Then, the bus will stop on the side of the road and moto-taxi will be waiting for you. Don’t worry, be happy, it’s only 5 min.

Then, take the boat to Isla Fuerte Colombia!


  • Remember to the driver that you want to go to Isla Fuerte Colombia
  • The first official boat leaves around 1 pm
  • It’s better if you have some big plastic bags to protect your backpack

Prices and Time:

  • Necocli – Monteria: 20 000 COP / 2 hours
  • Night in Monteria: 40 000 / 50 000 COP for a double room in a simple hotel
  • Taxi from the center to the bus terminal: 5 – 6000  COP
  • Monteria – Paso Nuevo: 17 000 COP / 2h 30 min
  • Moto to arrive at the “dock”: 2000 COP
  • Speedboat to Isla Fuerte: 15 – 20 000 COP / 30 min. You can pay a little more expensive if you want to leave earlier 


From Medellin To Isla Fuerte

You have to take a night bus to Monteria then a bus to Lorica and stop at Paseo Nuevo

Prices and time:

  • Bus Medellin to Monteria: Around 70 000 COP / 9 hours

Then you have to go to Paso Nuevo and Isla Fuerte Colombia (See above)

From Cartagena to Isla Fuerte 

How to take the bus Cartagena – Isla Fuerte 

Take the direct bus Cartagena – Monteria. Once you arrive, you have to travel to Paseo Nuevo then book a boat to Isla Fuerte – Read the previous section for more details.

If you leave from Cartagena early in the morning (around 7h00 am), you will be able to catch the boat to Isla Fuerte within the same day 😉



Price:  Cartagena – Monteria: 40 000 COP

Time: 6 hours


How To book the boat Cartagena – Isla Fuerte

Recently, the famous hostel Casa el Agua set up a boat service from Cartagena. Has it not official for now, you need to contact them on their website to know about the boat. They usually leave at 3H00 PM from Cartagena.

Once arrive in Casa en el Agua, you can decide to sleep there or going to Mucura island. Casa en el Agua and Mucura are parts of the Archipelago. The islands there are beautiful (especially Isla Titipan and Mucura).

Do you want to know more about Isla Mucura and San Bernardo Archipelago

Then, from Casa en el Agua, you can take a boat to go directly to the hostel La Playita

Prices and Times:

  • Cartagena – Casa en el Agua: 100 000 COP / 2h30
  • Casa en el Agua – Mucura island: 15 000 COP / 10 min
  • Casa en el Agua – Isla Fuerte Colombia: 70 000 COP / 2 hours


  • Choose this option only if you wish to visit the San Bernardo Archipelago.
  • From November to April, the boat ride can be really bumpy and wet 😉


Can we fly to Isla Fuerte

Don’t you like the long bus drive?

Unfortunately, there is no airport in Isla Fuerte. However, you can reduce your transportation time by flying to Monteria from Bogota or Medellin

Prices and time:

  • Flight Medellin to Monteria: Around 90 000 COP (Without option) / 1 hour
  • Flight Bogota to Monteria: Around 170 000 COP(Without option) / 1h30

Once in Monteria, follow the instructions written in the section “From Capurgana and Necocli”


The boat drive could be wet or not. It depends on your Karma. You sit in the speedboat surrounded by toilette papers and small bags of water. Yep, it’s an island, so they need to send everything by boat. The stories said that Isla Fuerte Colombia had been inhabited by pirates, contrabandists and for a time drug-traffickers. Hence the name “Isla Fuerte” (Fort in English).

San Diego

On the beach, you have two options.

Depends on what you want to do on Isla Fuerte Colombia.

Click HERE to expand the text

You plan to chill because after all, you are on an island? Go to La Playita on the right. Hostel with its small beach. The area is perfect to relax and do nothing. Play volleyball and go in their party boat to watch the sunset. During the night, it’s your best chance to do a party on the island. However, there is enough space if you decide to hide from all the alcoholic people.

Do you want to spend your days looking for the treasures of Isla Fuerte in Colombia? Go on the left to the Cabana de lily. A quiet hostel is probably better for you. If you are two people, you have your room for the same price than a dorm in a party hostel. And if you want to have fun during the night, go to La Playita.

It’s your last days, and you want to spend your remaining cash in a beautiful spot. Why should you not try the Ecolodge there? With its big rooms, good food and a chill outdoor, it will be perfect for the end of your holidays.

Do you have more information about the Ecolodge? Video, Photo? Let me know in a comment!

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Hostels and Hotels In Isla Fuerte Colombia


Hostel La Playita in Isla Fuerte 

La Playita is a hostel with a private beach. The location is perfect and the staff very chill. It opened a few years ago, thus they are still making some improvements. You can hang around in the different hammocks or long chairs. Grab a cocktail, relax and enjoy the view. Free breakfast and wifi. There is no kitchen.

Read our article about the hostel La Playita in Isla Fuerte


  • Hammocks: 30 000 COP
  • Dorm: 45 000 COP
  • Private: From 100 000 COP


Find Out The Best Prices


Cabanas de Lili

Rapha is a cool dude who owns la Cabana de Lili in the center. The hostel is basic but clean. You can take the “pension” option. He holds a restaurant too, and he serves delicious meals. It will be a cheaper option than La Playita. No wifi and No Kitchen.


  • Private room: 85 000 COP with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Hammock: 10 000 COP



Isla Fuerte Ecolodge & diving center

If you want to spend your stay in a fancy place, you should think about the Isla Fuerte Ecolodge. I’ve never visited the place, but it seems paradisiacal! Plus, they offer diving services! 

Be careful; it’s another budget!

You will find all the information you need on their website


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Things to do In Isla Fuerte Colombia


You go out of your hostel, and you decide you’re ready for a small adventure. As every island on the Caribbean Coast, the time is slower, the people too.

Locals are sitting around a speaker, just in front of the nightclub. Some time to time, one of them has to stand up and come closer to his friend if he wants to speak to him. Yes, the music is deafening. 

You follow the main road along the coast. Small shops, campings and funny trees, you also pass in front of La Casa de Lili. You turn right and go deeper in the village. The sun is high here, and the reverberation of the light in the white street make you blind. (Because you lost your nice sunglasses during your trip and the shitty one you bought for 5$ are already screwed up).

After 3 min, you are already outside of the village and probably lost.

Bonga tree

Isla Fuerte Colombia is not a baby island with its 3 km2. Everything is private, so you can’t walk everywhere you want. Instead, you have to follow some paths which look all the same. No worries, you can’t lose your way for a long time. Do you know why? Because you are on an island!

Walking in the shade of the trees is peaceful, and you don’t meet a lot of tourists. However, here in Isla Fuerte, the donkey is the king. The locals use them to carry everything. It’s maybe not good to be a king here. Children, not higher than 1m05 come to you to save your life if you’re lost. They also can help you to visit Isla Fuerte in Colombia. You can accept if it’s Saturday or Sunday otherwise send them back to school 😉

Ok, now let’s see the things you can do in Isla Fuerte :

  • Isla Fuerte is famous for its unusual trees
  • Dive to the reef the most preserved of all the Caribbean Coast
  • Climb the lighthouse and probably die
  • Chill on the beaches
Map Isla Fuerte

The trees

Because of specific environmental conditions, Isla Fuerte Colombia has some weird/funny/amazing trees. Looks for the ones below on the islands!

  • El arbol que camina
  • El Tun Tun
  • La Bonga
  • Mangroves

They are not very far from the town.


Playa San Diego

Playa San Diego is the most famous beach on the island. Go there, buy a beer and some green mango with salt and pepper and relax. It’s a perfect spot for the sunset. It’s possible to watch the sunset on a boat with music if you ask to La Playita (Minimum 4 pers – 30 000 COP each with 2 beers each)


Playa Cebolla

Playa Cebolla is the same kind of beach than Playa San Diego but it little smaller and more secret. Do you want to escape people? Go there!


Isla Fuerte tour by boat

Doing the tour of the island by speedboat is possible. A lot of locals can offer you this tour. Raf, the owner of la Cabana de Lili does it. You will do few stops like Punta Ingles, to do some snorkeling. He has some snorkels for you

Price: 15 000 COP

Time: Few hours

Don’t forget your sun cream and water 😉


The Sloths

Just before to arrive at Playa San Diego start to look up in the trees. You can turn right below the fence and follow the path for 20 m. Few sloths are generally sleeping in the trees.


The cave

The legend says that a famous Caribbean pirate, Captain Morgan, let a treasure in this cave. You can’t, unfortunately, go deep. But, we never know! Have a look 😉



You need to go to Punta Ingles (North of the island)



Isla Fuerte in Colombia is the closest place to go diving to Bushnell, Burbujas, and Bartolo. They are considered as the best-conserved reef of the Caribbean sea.

  • Bushnell is an amazing  3km square reef with labyrinths, barracuda, horse mackerel
  • Burbujas is subaquatic lava volcano.
  • El Planchon is a ship break 30 m long where sharks live!

Check the website: http://islafuerte.com/actividades-subacuaticas/

You can go diving with the ecolodge hostel. It seems they have the best dive school of Isla Fuerte Colombia. Unfortunately, they only provide their services if you are sleeping in the Ecolodge.

Otherwise, You also can ask the hostel La Playita.

They have a contact with another good dive center.


  • 220 000 COP – 2 dives – You will do your dives near Isla Fuerte Colombia
  • 330 000 COP – 2 dives – If you want to go to Bushnell reef


  • 1h30 one way by boat if you wish to dive at the Bushnell reef.

Contact: La Playita Hostel



Yes, it’s also possible to do surf in Isla Fuerte Colombia. You can rent a surfboard in La Playita. The two best spot is:

  • Playa del Norte
  • Playa el Ingles 

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Where To Eat In Isla Fuerte Colombia


Isla Fuerte Colombia will not be your best destination for the food. You have a lot of local restaurants.

I also selected for you three options. From the cheaper to the most expensive



She is a beautiful lady making amazing Patacones (one of the specialties of Colombia). You will have homemade tomato sauce, cheese, and meat on it. It’s delicious. You have to try for lunch!

Price: around  8000 COP


Cabana de Lili

Yes, Rafa has a hostel. But it also owns a restaurant. He has a lot of different plates of seafood. It will be perfect for lunch and dinner.

Price: 15 000 COP. It will be more expensive if you ask for a lobster 😉


Hostel Playita

The most famous hostel on Isla Fuerte also has a restaurant. If you are bored of Colombian food, it will be a good option. You should order before you are starving because it can take time to have your plate ;).

Price: Around 25 000 COP


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Conclusion Isla Fuerte Colombia


Isla Fuerte Colombia has beaches, amazing trees, perfect dives spots, and sloths. This island outside of the gringo trail has everything to become one of the best spots of the Caribbean sea. Here, your life will be simple and easy, and except 2 local nightclubs for the weekend and funny parties in the hostel La playita, your life will be chill too. If you are looking for a party island, don’t go there. Otherwise, come and enjoy.

Essentials about Isla Fuerte

Time: 3-4 days

Budget: 110 000 COP

Backpacker Profile: Lost on an island 


Click => Learn about the unknown Colombian regions 



Why Colombia is safe now

The Bible for Backpacking in Colombia

24 interesting facts to reassure your Grand’Ma

40 reasons that made me fall in love with Colombia


I also selected for you some other website speaking about Isla Fuerte Colombia.



Now it’s time to go to the San Bernardo Archipelago!!

Back to the Table of Contents





Isla Fuerte Colombia Pinterest

essential info about Isla fuerte Colombia


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  1. Marc says:

    Thanks for the info, I am thinking about going Isla Fuerte, but a I need internet to work. Is there internet conexion in the island (wiifi or sim card)?

    I hope that you help me

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