The Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Park

The Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Park is a true gem of Colombia’s natural wonders, offering visitors an enchanting blend of marine biodiversity, rich cultural history and pristine ecosystems. Located in the Caribbean, off the northern coast of Colombia, this protected area is comprised of a group of islands and coral reefs, making it a haven for marine life and a popular destination for eco-tourists and nature enthusiasts alike.

Let us delve into the beauty and significance of this national park by exploring its location and access, indigenous history, major attractions, climate and facilities.

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Location and Accessibility

The Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Park is situated approximately 45 km/30 miles southwest of the vibrant city of Cartagena. The park covers an area of approximately 120,000 hectares/296,526 acres, encompassing 27 coral islands and numerous reefs teeming with marine biodiversity.

To access the park, visitors typically depart from Cartagena‘s tourist ports by boat for guided tours organized by BnB Colombia Tours. The journey takes between one and two hours, during which visitors can enjoy the scenic beauty of the Caribbean.

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Indigenous history

The history of the Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Park is deeply interlaced with the indigenous communities that have lived in the region for centuries. The islands were once inhabited by the Zenú and Kuna indigenous people, who relied on the ocean’s resources for their sustenance and spiritual practices.

Sadly, due to colonization and external pressures, the indigenous populations gradually decreased, and today their presence in the area is minimal. However, their legacy remains embedded in the land and efforts are being made to preserve their cultural heritage through educational programs and collaborations with the local communities.

Climate and Topography

The climate in the Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Park is typical of the Caribbean region. It experiences a tropical climate, characterized by warm temperatures and high humidity throughout the year. The average temperature ranges from 25 – 30c/77 – 86f.

The rainy season typically falls between May and November, with occasional tropical storms or hurricanes. The dry season occurs from December to April, offering visitors more favourable weather conditions for outdoor activities.

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Why Tourists Should Visit

The national park is renowned for its unparalleled marine biodiversity. The coral reefs host a myriad of colourful fish, sponges, crustaceans and other invertebrates. Visitors can enjoy snorkelling or scuba diving to witness the astonishing underwater world that thrives within these pristine waters.

One of the largest islands within the park, Isla Grande, is a must-visit destination. It boasts powdery white beaches, crystal-clear waters and lush tropical vegetation. The island offers a tranquil retreat where visitors can relax and bask in the beauty of nature.

Located on Isla (Island) San Martin de Pajarales, the Oceanarium is a unique attraction where visitors can learn about the region’s marine life. It serves as a rehabilitation centre for injured sea turtles and other marine species, providing educational opportunities about conservation efforts and the importance of protecting the marine ecosystem.

The park also features extensive mangrove woodlands, which serve as essential habitats for numerous marine species and play a crucial role in coastal ecosystem stability.

Highlights of The Rosario and  San Bernardo Corals National Park

The Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Park is a beautiful and diverse protected area that is home to a wide variety of marine life. The park is a popular destination for visitors who are looking for a tropical getaway with stunning beaches, coral reefs and indigenous culture.

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