Tierra Bomba Island: My Guide To Decide If You Should Come

A practical travel guide to enjoy Tierra Bomba Island near Cartagena, thanks to my many visits there since 2015.

🛑 Stop having doubts about the Tierra Bomba. Start deciding if you should include them in your trip—and if so, HOW?

Did you know that Tierra Bomba island is only 15 minutes by boat from Cartagena de Indias? While this destination is not as paradisiacal as the Rosario Islands, you can still have loads of fun.

I have visited Tierra Bomba Island twice to experience the best hotels and tourist attractions.

Here’s what you get if you read my unbiased travel guide:

  • Decide whether or not to add it to your Colombia itinerary.
  • Learn where are the best beach clubs for parting or resting.
  • Find out where is my favorite part of the island.

Vamos!

Can’t miss: our exciting series on the best things to do in Cartagena. Read it to find out all our little exciting secrets.


Who are we 👋

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.

Tierra Bomba Island: What you must know

Tierra Bomba

I understand your time is valuable. If you’re short on time, here’s the essential info you need about Tierra Bomba.

🚗 How can you get to the Tierra Bomba from Cartagena:

  • The easiest way to use the hotel’s boat. It should take 10-15 minutes and leave from Bocagrande or Castillete.

😍 My favorite part of Tierra Bomba:

  • The south of the Island, where the sea is usually calmer and prettier.
  • Coming for a day trip? Pick a nice beach club with a pool. My favorite options are Amare and Blue Apple Beach.

🏠 Can you stay on Tierra Bomba

  • Yes, but you should know there is no white-sand beach or turquoise water—you should stay on the Rosario islands for that.
  • 1 or 2 nights are enough.
  • My favorite hotels are Marazao, Blue Apple Beach, and Eteka.
Trendy
  • Description:

    It's an excellent choice for families or anyone who enjoys a combination of relaxation, good food, and social energy. Remember that the hotel's atmosphere can change with the crowd, especially on weekends.

Good value
  • Description:

    It's an excellent choice for those who value hospitality and a laid-back atmosphere but perhaps not as much for those searching for a quiet, secluded beach experience or cutting-edge room facilities.

Romantic
  • Description:

    Eteka focuses on nature lovers seeking peace away from digitization and provides stellar service, unique outdoor activities, and exquisite dining. It's less ideal for modern amenities or private beach seekers.

Trendy
Description:

It's an excellent choice for families or anyone who enjoys a combination of relaxation, good food, and social energy. Remember that the hotel's atmosphere can change with the crowd, especially on weekends.

Good value
Description:

It's an excellent choice for those who value hospitality and a laid-back atmosphere but perhaps not as much for those searching for a quiet, secluded beach experience or cutting-edge room facilities.

Romantic
Description:

Eteka focuses on nature lovers seeking peace away from digitization and provides stellar service, unique outdoor activities, and exquisite dining. It's less ideal for modern amenities or private beach seekers.

Tierra Bomba: Will you like it?

It’s quite an important question to answer, don’t you think?

What is Tierra Bomba?

pLAYA LINDA tIERRA BOMBA (1)
Fuerte de San Fernando Tierra Bomba (1)

Tierra Bomba Island, located near Cartagena, spans 19.84 km² and holds a significant historical role as the colonial gateway to the Bay of Cartagena.

It is characterized by a tropical climate and a 43-kilometer coastline, widely known for its Beach Clubs and historical sites such as Castillo de San Fernando de Bocachica.

The island has four localities: Tierra Bomba, Punta Arena, Caño del Oro, and Bocachica.

Pros & cons of visiting Tierra Bomba

Amare Tierra Bomba Beach Club credit
Credit: Amare

If you’re seeking a quick island getaway near Cartagena, Tierra Bomba Island is a good choice. It’s conveniently close, just a 15-minute boat ride away, compared to the Rosario Islands, which are typically at least an hour away.

Tierra Bomba offers a unique and lively atmosphere, especially in its beach clubs and hotels. This is particularly noticeable over the weekends. However, based on my visits, I’ve found that food and drinks can be quite pricey, so bringing your own water might help reduce costs.

As for the beaches, it’s important to manage expectations. Tierra Bomba’s close proximity to Cartagena means it doesn’t have the stereotypical white-sand beaches and clear turquoise waters often associated with Caribbean islands. You might also find trash on the beach. This was slightly disappointing during my visits, as the picturesque charm you might expect from a Caribbean island is somewhat subdued here.

Day trip or a stay overnight?

Eteka Tierra Bomba
Credit: Eteka

Choosing between a day trip or an overnight stay on Tierra Bomba Island depends on your desired experience.

During my visits, I found that the island, particularly in areas like Punta Arena, becomes lively on weekends. Small bars facing the Cartagena skyline bustle with music and motorbikes zipping along the beach. It’s a unique, energetic atmosphere, but it may not suit everyone’s idea of a serene beach day. Also, speaking decent Spanish can help you avoid overpaying.

The island’s renowned beach clubs, while not cheap, offer a more balanced mix of fun and relaxation. They’re a better choice if you’re seeking a more refined environment.

Considering an overnight stay?

If you’ve seen enough of Cartagena or feel a day trip covers the old city center, an overnight stay on Tierra Bomba could be an option. However, you would miss out on the magical nights in Cartagena.

Tierra Bomba can also be perfect for your last night, especially if you plan to relax before your flight home. If you do stay overnight, I recommend choosing a hotel with a pool. It provides an additional leisure option and ensures you won’t be bored or disappointed.

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Things to do on Tierra Bomba Island

Although Tierra Bomba doesn’t have Isla Grande’s appeal, there are still plenty of cool things to do.

Head to a beach club

Blue Apple beach club Tierra Bomba
Credit: Blue Apple Beach

This little island is one of the local’s favorite places to party on weekends.

Depending on your budget and desires, you can go to different places. Let’s see which ones.

Punta Arena

Tierra Bomba Punta Arena

It is the closest beach to the city of Cartagena — you’ll still be able to see Castillo Grande’s buildings. There are many small local bars all along the shore, with colorful plastic chairs and umbrellas made of dried palm leaves.

However, the presence of trash, street vendors, and motorcycles detracts from the serene beach experience.

Travelers looking for something more hip and comfortable can head to the following clubs:

Fenix Beach: This beach club is known for its Instagram-worthy setting with friendly dogs. However, its proximity to an industrial area leads to murkier waters. The service can be slow, and prices are higher.

Namaste Beach Club: This beach club provides a unique package that includes transportation and massage. The setting emphasizes well-being, although the surrounding areas can be noisy and less clean. It costs about 60 USD.

Eteka: This beach club offers a complete package with lunch and transportation, and it’s the only beach club with a spa. The atmosphere is serene yet vibrant, with great music, perfect for a relaxed day out. It costs around 70 USD.

Palmarito: This beach club is a more affordable option in Punta Arena. The facilities are nice, and the staff is friendly, though the food might not appeal to everyone. It costs about 40 USD.

Playa Linda

Playa Linda Tierra Bomba (1) (1)
Playa Linda Tierra Bomba (2)

Playa Linda is a good alternative if you are looking for something quieter.

The beach is more extensive, and you will not find any fancy beach clubs—just my favorite beach bar: Amare. The owners are not into superficial things. Here, the staff focuses on 3 things: alcohol, food, and music.

It offers delicious cocktails and food in a cool ambiance. The day pass is reasonably priced, with an excellent ‘credit’ system for food and drinks—Pay 45 USD and use the credit 😉

I’ve also heard about a new beach club down south. It’s called Marlin.

SouthWest of Tierra Bomba

Blue Apple Beach
Credit:Blue Apple

It’s the best side of the island.

There are fewer street vendors here, and the seawater is much cleaner.

Blue Apple Beach is my 2nd favorite beach club. It features a gorgeous pool area, good food, great music, and fun events on weekends. Although it’s not cheap, the experience is 100% worth it. It’s a perfect choice for a relaxing island day trip. 30USD transportation + entrance. You pay for everything else.

Explore the Island

Mountain bike Bocachica Tierra Bomba (1)

It won’t be easy to explore Tierra Bomba alone if you stay overnight—it is too big and hot. Double-check with your hotel to see which tours they can help you organize. Blue Apple should be your first choice for that.

Horseback riding on the picturesque beaches is a recommended activity for all skill levels, offering a gentle option for children.

For an adventurous alternative, consider the Island Moto Tour. This tour includes a thrilling ride across Bocachica and other scenic viewpoints. If you prefer a more active tour, a mountain bike option is available.

Also, don’t miss the chance to take the Bocachica Village Tour on foot. It includes a visit to the historic San Fernando fortress and opportunities to interact with locals.

Learn a bit of history

Bateria del Angel San Rafael Tierra Bomba (1)

Because of its wealth, Cartagena was often the victim of pirate attacks. To protect itself, the city built in the 18th century an underwater wall to prevent entry through Bocagrande. The boats then had to go around and through the narrow passage of Bocachica. There, the Spaniards built fortifications on each side to bombard anyone trying to enter the bay. There was even a long steel chain to prevent the boats from passing. #deathtrap

On the island, especially if you stay in Blue Apple, you can visit 2 fortifications:

  • Fuerte de San Fernando de Bocachica
  • Batería del Ángel San Rafael

Chill out

Playa linda Tierra bomba bike tour (1)

Tierra Bomba offers a variety of relaxing activities for those looking to unwind. Although the beach may not have classic white sands and turquoise waters, the southern part of the island still provides a pleasant beach experience.

When selecting accommodation, ensure it includes a pool for enjoyable lazy swims and sunbathing—the best one is at Blue Apple. If you want spiritual or holistic experiences, visit Namaste Beach Club. They offer unique yoga and meditation sessions, along with intriguing holistic experiences such as yagé and magic mushrooms.

If you’re seeking a luxurious pampering session, Eteka is the place to go. Their spa facilities provide relaxation and rejuvenation. Additionally, Eteka offers a charming and intimate dinner setting, ideal for special and cozy evenings.

Where to stay In Tierra Bomba

Before booking your hotel in Tierra Bomba, there are a few things you should know:

  • Don’t expect crystal clear waters.
  • If you want to hang out on a beautiful white sand beach, you should go to Isla Barú or Isla Grande.
  • You’ll spend most of your time inside the hotel’s property.
  • It’s not cheap.

However, this can be a good alternative if you have little time and want to enjoy a stay at the beach — It is always better than the beaches near Cartagena.

Here are my favorite Tierra Bomba hotels.

Blue Apple Beach

Blue Apple beach Tierra Bomba
Credit: Blue Apple Beach

My opinion: It’s an excellent choice for families or anyone who enjoys a combination of relaxation, good food, and social energy. Remember that the hotel’s atmosphere can change with the crowd, especially on weekends.

The hotel’s unique feature is its dual personality: tranquil on weekdays and lively on weekends. It’s located right by the beach. The rooms are spacious, well-equipped, and peaceful. The hotel’s eco-friendly approach and warm hospitality will impress you. The poolside area is an ideal spot.

However, be aware of additional costs like breakfast, depending on your booking. The beach area could also use some improvements.

One last tip: Don’t miss out on the various activities they offer.

Trendy
Blue Apple
Pros:
  • Delicious food and cool exp.
  • Beautiful rooms and facilities
Cons:
  • Rocky beach
See on Booking See on Hotels

Marazao Beach Hostel

MARAZAO BEACH HOSTEL Tierra Bomba

My opinion: It’s an excellent choice for those who value hospitality and a laid-back atmosphere but perhaps not as much for those searching for a quiet, secluded beach experience or cutting-edge room facilities.

Marazao is renowned for its exceptional staff, who make every guest feel like family. The setting is peaceful, the beachfront is well-maintained, and while the food is a bit pricey, it’s worth every penny.

While the rooms are clean, they could benefit from some updates to match the high standard of service. The beach area tends to get crowded, and the music from the nearby restaurant might disturb your peace.

Good value
Marazao Beach Hostel
4.5
Pros:
  • Good value
  • Great Staff
Cons:
  • The beach isn't great
See on Booking See on Hotels

Eteka

ETEKA
Credit: Eteka

My opinion: Eteka focuses on nature lovers seeking peace away from digitization and provides stellar service, unique outdoor activities, and exquisite dining. It’s less ideal for modern amenities or private beach seekers.

You’ll find Eteka’s service to be exceptional, where personalization takes center stage. Whether it’s dining on the beach or relaxing in one of their many serene spots, the staff caters to your preferences with a friendly approach. Their accommodations, especially the Cielo suite, are noteworthy for their comfort and aesthetics, blending seamlessly into the natural environment. The food here is not just a meal; it’s an experience in itself, with each dish being well-crafted and delicious. Add to this the unique offerings like an outdoor cinema, a relaxing spa, and the charming, almost jungle-like ambiance, and Eteka becomes more than just a stay.

However, some aspects might not align with everyone’s expectations. The proximity to Cartagena, while convenient, means that the beach occasionally suffers from litter – a challenge beyond the hotel’s control but still impacting the experience.

Romantic
Eteka Cartagena
Pros:
  • Spa, food & romantic dinner
  • Beautiful decoration
Cons:
  • Sound-proofing
See on Booking See on Expedia

Namaste Beach Club

namaste Tierra Bomba
Credit: Namaste Beach Club

My opinion: This is an ideal choice for individuals seeking a spiritual retreat with wellness activities. It may not be as suitable for those desiring extensive vegan options or those wishing to explore beyond the resort.

Namaste offers a tranquil, eco-friendly retreat a short boat ride from Cartagena. The emphasis on yoga and meditation gives it a unique appeal, enhanced by comfortable accommodations and efficient transportation services.

However, the food may not fully accommodate vegan diets, and the prices may be steep. The beach area outside the resort is not as inviting, and the surrounding pollution is noticeable.

Wellness
Namaste Beach Club
4.4
Pros:
  • Free yoga and meditation
  • Chill out place with music
Cons:
  • Disorganized & food is average
See on Booking See on Agoda

How to get to Tierra Bomba from Cartagena

Boat Bocagrande to Tierra Bomba (1)
Boat Moutain bike Tierra Bomba (1)

The good thing about Tierra Bomba is that the island is close to Cartagena. So you can easily make the round trip in one day.

The boat ride takes between 10 and 25 minutes, depending on where you want to go.

There are 2 ways to head to Tierra Bomba from Cartagena.

Travel to Tierra Bomba on your own

It’s cheap but a bit complicated if you don’t speak Spanish.

  1. First, go to the beach of the hospital of Bocagrande (It is here).
  2. You will find many small boats.
  3. Tell them where you want to go. The captains will probably be lazy to move if your group is less than 5-6 people (or you will have to pay more per head).
  4. The boat trip costs about 10,000 COP/pers for 1 way.

2 things to know:

  • Some captains will try to trick you into going to another beach club. I advise you to know in advance where you want to go.
  • Say that you will pay them when they come back to pick you up.

Or Take the beach club’s boat

Several beach clubs on Tierra Bomba sell day-pass with transport included. It’s more expensive but a lot easier. I recommend this option.

Bottom line: Tierra Bomba

View of Castillo grande from Tierra Bomba (1)

Although visiting Tierra Bomba is not at the top of my list of things to do in Cartagena, the island can be a cool destination for travelers who want to relax for a day with music and cocktails.

Can’t miss: our exciting series on the best things to do in Cartagena. Read it to find out all our little exciting secrets.

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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