Mucura Island and Tintipan Island (2020): Stop making mistakes

Mucura Island and Tintipan Island (2020): Stop making mistakes

No, Tintipan island and Mucura Island aren’t mysterious places coming out from my imagination but, surprisingly, not many travelers are aware of their existence. Let’s give you all the tips so that you can enjoy these paradise islands.

Isla Mucura and Isla Tintipan: What you must know

Where: Mucura island and Tintipan island are part of the Archipelago de San Bernardo, on the Western Caribbean Coast.

How to get there: Read our San Bernardo travel guide to know the transportation options.

Things to do: Not much, except laying back on the beach, and chasing colorful fishes. Bioluminescent plankton is a good option if the moon isn’t bright.

Transportation: Fishermen offer boat rides between the islands for 6-7$.

Where to stay: Pick cautiously as most beaches on the islands are private. Prices are higher for lower quality as you’re far from everything.

Eat & Drink: Take a ride to Casa en el Agua if you want to drink cocktails during the day. Hotels offer half-board or full-board and there are some restaurants on the beach. They eat mostly fish and rice.

Weather on Isla Mucura and Tintipan: Don’t worry about the weather, although it rains more in October & November. The sea is rougher from December to April.

Safety on the islands: 100% Safe.

Best island tips:

  • Avoid going on the weekend and on a public holiday because there are many locals who come for the day.
  • Bring tons of cash. There is no ATM.
  • It’s quite expensive. It’s better to go there with a significant budget in order to stay in a beautiful establishment with its own private beach.

Discover our guide on San Bernardo to access, in a few clicks, all the practical information to visit these paradise islands.

Table of Content: Tintipan and Mucura Island

1. A few words about the islands
2. How to get there
3. Where to stay on the islands
4. Things to do
5. Where can you eat?
6. Our guidebook about Colombia
7. Lay back and let us take care of your trip

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👉 An online map of Colombia.
👉 Our best advice for preparing your trip.
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👉 Our solution for not stressing about a trip.

1. What about the San Bernardo islands?

Múcura and Tintipán Islands

Both are located within The Archipelago of San Bernardo, a set of 9 coastal coral islands between Isla Fuerte and the Rosario Islands. With its corals, white-sand beach with palm trees,  and old Colombian hotels made of wood, Isla Tintipan And Isla Mucura are two secret paradises on earth.

Isla Mucura is tinier than Isla Tintipan but the cost of living is slightly cheaper. Tintipan island is the largest island of San Bernardo, with the main part being constituted from wetlands and mangroves. This last one has the best white-sand beaches. However, travelers are more “free of movement” on Mucura island.

Altogether, both are perfect to relax for a few days.

But, you should hurry up to come here before it becomes super touristic. These islands are not impossible to add to your stay.
Take a look at our tips for your itinerary in Colombia and avoid classic mistakes.

Important: There is no ATM on the Islands. Bring some cash with you.

2. Getting To Mucura Island and Tintipan Island

Isla Tintipan Boat

Information you should keep in mind in this section:

➡ You have to take a boat to reach Isla Mucura and Isla Tintipan. From November to April, it’s the windy season and the sea can be rough, especially in the afternoon. You should minimize the time spend on a speedboat if you’re not used to it, seasick, or if you’re scared of boat rides.

➡ The boat departures are from: Isla Fuerte, Tolu, Rincon del Mar, and Cartagena. The shortest boat drive to Mucura island is from Tolu and the longest is from Cartagena.

➡ Mucura Island and Tintipan Island are only 15 min away from each other. It’s also the case for Casa En El Agua.

1# From Isla Fuerte to Casa en el Agua

It’s the perfect way to move around if you’re a pirate exploring the ocean with your bottle of rum.

Before arriving on Mucura island, I spent a week in La Playita, a great hostel based on Isla Fuerte. This island is even less-known than the San Bernardo islands, and my stay was memorable.
Note: if you are also attracted to this type of place, discover other destinations that might interest you among the 45 incredible places mentioned in this article.

The owner of La Playita is a friend of the owner of Casa en El Agua – The most famous hotel in the Caribbean sea. They organize boat rides between the two hostels – According to the client’s demand.

The thing is that Casa en El Agua is only 10 min away from Mucura and Tintipan islands. And, you don’t have to sleep in Casa En El Agua to benefit from this service. You just have to show up at the right time.

They need at least six people for the boat ride Isla Fuerte – Casa En El Agua. Besides, there is no schedule. So you shouldn’t be in a hurry if you plan to do it.

Send them an email and try to organize a boat ride if you’re interested: [email protected]

Read our Isla Fuerte Travel guide

2# How to get to Mucura and Tintipan island from Cartagena

The walled city of Cartagena, with its romantic atmosphere, delicious restaurants, and upscale hotels, is a perfect stop to spend a couple of days with your partner or mates.

But, there is one thing missing in Cartagena. There is no pleasant beach. Fortunately, the San Bernardo Islands aren’t that far. Besides, it’s super easy to get there as you only have to take one boat.

Indeed, the company Tranq it easy offers a daily boat transfer from Cartagena.

Price and duration (+)

Step 1: Book your boat transfer online on the Tranqiteasy website | Approx 35 $

Step 2: The D-day, go to the dock in Cartagena – Called Muelle la bodeguita at 8h00 am – Gate No.5. The dock is just outside the old city center. Boat leaves at 9 am.

Step 3: Check-in and pay the National Park entrance fee – The San Bernardo Islands are within a protected area | 18 500 COP

Step 4: 2h30 boat ride to arrive on the Islands!

Tips for this journey (+)

  • Book and pay for your return ticket on their website if you already know when you will return to Cartagena.
  • It is also possible to pay for your return ticket at Gate No 5 when you embark for the islands. Cash only. However, there is no guarantee that there will be seats available.
  • If you don’t know how long you want to stay on the San Bernardo Islands before returning to Cartagena, you can try to book it the day before at your hotel.
  • If you plan to make a round trip from Cartagena, leave your heavy bags in the city:
    • Ask at your hotel in Cartagena
    • Tranq it easy offers a “storage” service for your belongings.
  • Be careful, you can’t take more than 8 Kg! If this is the case, please inform Tranq it easy in advance.
  • You can stop at any of the hotels/hotels on Mucura and Tintipan islands.

Read our Cartagena travel guide

3# From Rincon del Mar to Mucura And Tintipan Islands

If you’re scared to travel by boat or if you’re seasick, then Rincon del Mar should be your first option.

Indeed, the boat drive to San Bernardo islands is the shortest you can find. Only 40 min!

Moreover, Rincon del Mar is a cute fishing town, with a long white-sand beach not yet invaded by touts and tourists.

Be aware that it’s not straightforward to arrive there. You first have to reach San Onofre by bus then take a moto-taxi or private car.

Once in Rincon del Mar, I advise you to spend the night there. It will be a peaceful stop before heading to the islands. Besides, the boats going to Isla Mucura and Isla Tintipan only leave in the morning.

Price and duration (+)

Step 1: Go to the Main bus terminal in Cartagena | 45 min | 20 000 COP (Taxi)

Step 2: Take a bus in the direction of Tolu but tell them you want to stop in San Onofre | 2h30 |Around 25 000 COP | Bus Company: Brasilia, Unitransco & Rapido Ochoa

Step 3: Once in San Onofre, find a moto-taxi or private car to drive to Rincon del Mar | 10 000 COP (Moto) or 40 000 COP (Car) | 30 min

Step 4: Look early in the morning for a boat leaving to Mucura or Tintipan island | Around 200 000 COP | 40 min

Extra tips for this journey (+)

  • If you plan to make a round trip from Rincon del Mar, let your big bag in your previous accommodation
  • It can be a bit complicated to find a boat to Isla Mucura. Allow you an extra day in your itinerary.
  • Ask the different hotels in Rincon del Mar.

Read our Rincon del Mar travel guide

4# How to get from Tolu to Tintipan and Mucura Island

There are three main reasons why you would like to reach San Bernardo Island from Tolu.

  • You’re coming from Capurgana, one of my favorite towns in Colombia.
  • You plan to fly to Monteria then take a bus to Tolu.
  • You want to enjoy the nightlife in Medellin before relaxing on paradisical islands
    Plenty of tips about the city in our Medellín Travel guide.

Most of the time, you will have to spend the night in Tolu as the boats leave at 8h30 am from the dock.

How to arrive in Tolu (+)

From Bogota: Take a 1-hour flight to Monteria then a bus to Tolu (2h) | Around 150 000 COP for the flight + 18 000 COP for the bus

From Cartagena: There are buses leaving everyday | 3h30 | 25 000 COP

From Medellin: There are buses leaving everyday | 11h | Around 100 000 COP

From Capurgana: Take the boat to Necocli (1h30 / 70 000 COP), then a Van to Monteria (3h / 40 000 COP) then a bus to Tolu (2h / 18 000 COP)

How to arrive in Mucura (+)

Step 1: Once you arrive in Tolu, pay 4 000 COP to reach the beach – Taxi bike

Step 2: Go to Club Náutico Tolumar and book your boat tickets for the islands. | 40 000 COP (1 way), more expensive during the high season | 1 hour

Step 3: Be ready at 8 am on the dock for the boat departure – 8h30

Extra tips for this journey (+)

  • If you take an early night bus from Medellin, you should be able to catch the boat for the islands at 8h30am the same day
  • Isla Mucura deserves more than one afternoon. Don’t take the 1-day trips and sleep there!

3. Where to stay on Mucura and Tintipan Island

Isla Tintipan beach

Information you should keep in mind in this section:

➡ The San Bernardo islands are isolated from everything. Respect the environment and be indulgent if there is a power cut or water restrictions.

➡ Most of the accommodations are basic and more expensive than in-land. Isla Mucura will be your best choice if you’re traveling on a shoestring budget.

Isla Tintipan looks more like a postcard paradise island.

➡ Casa en el Agua is famous, but we don’t think it’s a good option for travelers who want to enjoy the islands.

➡ There are more mosquitoes and sandflies on Isla Tintipan.

1. Hostels and hotels on Mucura island

A. Hostel Isla Mucura | Open air & hammocks

It’s the biggest hostel on Mucura Island. The different “buildings” are made of woods and scattered within a vast open air. Clients can pay for the full board and use the bar to order cocktails and beers. It’s a reasonable option for backpackers as they have got (expensive) dorms and hammocks.

Isla Mucura Hostel San Bernardo Colombia

B. Hostel Dahlandia | Peaceful and family vibe

At the end of the island, near the small town, there is another hostel even quieter than Hostal Mucura.

Hostel Dahlandia offers basic but comfortable accommodations to spend a romantic stay without breaking the bank. The owner is friendly and helpful.

Dahlandia hostel sunset over the ocean

C. Punta Faro hotel | Luxury & Romantic

Do you want to celebrate a special event with your girlfriend?

In that case, Punta Faro on Isla Mucura will be a perfect choice. Peaceful place with excellent staff who speaks English and who organizes a bunch of activities for their clients. Besides, the food is delicious and the rooms fantastic. If your budget allows it, book it!

You have to stay a minimum of two nights. They own a private boat to pick you up in Tolu or Cartagena.

Punta Faro, best hotel in the archipelago of San Bernardo

D. Mucura Club Hotel | Vast place made of wood

Mucura Club Hotel is an impressive building made with big chunks of wood. The staff is attentive to the client’s needs. Besides, the rooms are well decored and comfortable. The meals served are delicious and the pools are perfect to relax after a hard day on the beach.

Mucura club hotel, comfortable room made of wood

2. Hostels and Hotels on Isla Tintipan

A. Punta Norte | Cabins made of wood

Punta Norte is one of the oldest hotels on Tintipan Island. Located on a private beach, it’s a perfect spot to relax. The dishes at the restaurant are a bit expensive. The rooms are unpretentious but clean. You pay for the setting.

Punta Norte Hotel on Isla Tintipan, near the water

B. Isla Roots | Social & Private island

Isla Roots is a great choice if you wish to meet other travelers. They offer many dorms, hammocks or private room options.

Located in Isla Tintipan, this hostel owns a bar and a restaurant. Besides, there are many activities that guests can book to animate their stay.

The main bad side is that you’re “prisoner” from the hostel regarding the meals, beverages, and activities.

Isla Roots, private island with hostel. Water games

C. Sal si Puedes | Upscale & Disconnection

Sal Si Puedes is an upscale hotel that offers only 3 private rooms. Everything is made for that guests can relax in a quiet environment, cut from the rest of the world. The private beach is fantastic and the staff attentive and friendly. 2 nights minimum.

Sal Si Puedes Tintipan, upscale hotel with private cabins and hammock in front the ocean

4. Things to do around Tintipan and Mucura Island

All the activities below can be booked with your accommodation. Price can differ.

1# Snorkeling in The San Bernardo Islands

There are some cool reefs around Isla Maravilla and Isla Palma. Most of the hostels and hotels on Isla Mucura and Isla Tintipan organize this trip for their guests.

2# Bioluminescent Plankton near Mucura and Tintipan

You can observe the bioluminescent plankton around the mangroves by night, near Isla Tintipan. You should do it when the night is dark – a new moon is the best. Jump into the water and start tumble-turning, you will put the luminescent little creatures into a magical tailspin.

3# Beach, beach & beach on Tintipan and Mucura Islands

Isla Tintipan is where the most beautiful beach is. Spend the day on the white-sand beach while drinking cold Michelada then come back to your accommodation.

Few restaurants serve grilled fish, rice and patacones for lunch so don’t forget your wallet 😉

Price: 15 000 COP / Boat ride

4# Get a drink in Casa En El Agua

If you’ve got some spare time, you can decide to spend the afternoon in Casa En El Agua. There is a friendly atmosphere during the day, and the snorkeling around is pretty cool. Order a beer or a cocktail while listening to some good music, your body half immersed in the Caribbean sea. Besides, you can take some amazing pictures to make your friends jealous.

Price: 15 000 COP / Boat ride

Time: 10 min

5# Visit of Santa Cruz del Islote

Santa Cruz del isolate is the most densely populated island on earth with 0.12  km square and more than 1200 inhabitants. The streets are extremely narrow and colorful.

I don’t think it is mandatory to visit it. However, you could still spend a nice moment observing daily life on the island.

Price: 15 000 COP / Boat ride + 5 000 for the island tax

Time: 10 min

6# Water games around Mucura and Tintipan island

Most of the hotels rent kayaks or paddles so travelers can explore the surroundings on their own. It’s perfect to ride along the mangroves.

5. Meals on Tintipan Island and Mucura Island

Lobster Rincon del mar

It’s quite complicated to cook on the islands. There is only 1 shop on Isla Mucura. Besides, hotels and hotels don’t allow access to the kitchen for their guests.

Therefore, your best option is to opt for the full board. But, if you like to vary the places where you’re eating, you will find some restaurants on Tintipan Island (right on the beach) and on Mucura’s public beach.

  • Menu of the day – Menu del Dia: 20 000 COP
  • Lobster: Around 45 000 COP

Full board hotel or not? (+)

6. Our thoughts on Mucura island and Tintipan island

Mucura and Tintipan islands are both paradise not yet uncovered by many. They are close to each other, therefore it’s easy to travel between them by speedboat. There, on the San Bernardo Islands, you will get a first impression of how it looks like to live on an island in the middle of nowhere.

Travelers don’t think to go there because it’s not on their Gringo trail itinerary. But, I assure you it’s not that complicated to reach the islands and it’s 100% worth it.

As it’s far from the coastline, prices for the accommodations and the food are higher than in-land. Therefore, don’t expect to arrive in a luxury Eco-lodge (except for Punta Faro). And be indulgent if there is a power cut or a water restriction. As Bob says, Simple life, happy life.

Finally, before you leave, don’t forget to take a look at all our tips for travelling in Colombia. They may well help make your stay a little more enjoyable.

Decide where and how to travel to Colombia

Ebook to plan your trip

Why bother if we do it better?

Have fun while we do the hard job

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Isla Mucura and Isla Tintipan travel guide

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  1. Ashley says:

    This is so helpful! I am heading to Cartagena next month and cannot wait. I plan to stay at Casa en el Agua at least one night. I haven’t found much about hopping around islands without going back to a main port like Cartagena in between. Is it possible to take speedboats to other islands once you are out there? Do I need advance booking for other accommodations other than Casa en el Agua? I would love to head out to Casa for the night I booked, and then just play it by ear and island hop from there.

  2. Jason says:

    How strict are they with 8kg bag max on the boat from Cartagena to Isla Mucura? My wife and I are backpacking with 45L bags so I’m not sure what other option we have…

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