Scuba Diving Cartagena

Scuba Diving Cartagena: All You Need To Know

Cartagena is a Colombian city like no other, full of character, culture, and rich history. Inside its 13km of old stone wall, you’ll find amazingly preserved natural beauty and incredible heritage.

A port city located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Cartagena is home to Old Town, a historic town listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Moving away from the ancient cobbles and 16th-century buildings, Cartagena’s tropical climate also makes it a popular beach destination.

Thanks to its location on the Caribbean coast, Cartagena also caters well to scuba divers! Scuba diving Cartagena promises unique experiences worth writing home about including some incredible coral reefs.

Scuba Diving Cartagena

Easily reachable by boat thanks to its coastal location, Isla de Barú offers brilliant white-sand beaches and swaying palm trees. There’s also Islas del Rosario, which is well known for its coral reefs.

The Caribbean waters found on the Cartagena coastline are home to some of the world’s best dive sites, including the world’s third-largest barrier reef system. You’ll also find a range of great wall dives and wrecks.

These waters also make for comfortable conditions, with warm blue water and great visibility, making it a great option for divers of all abilities!

Cartagena Scuba Certification

Scuba Certification

There is no requirement to be certified to scuba dive in Colombia. While there are some dives catered to the more confident and experienced, there are plenty of options for newbies too.

There are many tour operators that cater to those of all levels of ability, no problem for beginner divers. Thanks to the vastly different conditions and diverse range of dive sites available, there are plenty of beginner-friendly and easily accessible dive sites to get your flippers wet for the first time.

It’s always recommended to get scuba certified to give yourself the best, most enjoyable diving experience possible. While you’ll have a great time scuba diving Cartagena as a first-time diver, there’s a lot you can miss out on without the extra confidence and diving experience, such as the more challenging walls and wrecks.

If you’re looking to get scuba certified during your trip to Cartagena, check out our recommended Open Water Diving course below!

In addition, becoming scuba certified will help you feel more comfortable and confident underwater. This leads to maximum enjoyment and safety from your diving experience and something worth considering.

Cartagena Scuba Diving Requirements

Scuba Diving Safety

Due to Colombia’s strict laws around tourism, you’re unable to take your own boat out for scuba diving. Instead, you must be booked on to an organized tour. No worries though, some of our favorites are recommended below!

As always, tour operators state that you must be in good physical condition and have some swimming ability. Children must be at least 10 years old to scuba dive with a tour operator. You may be required to complete a medical form to confirm your eligibility to dive.

With that said, it’s always highly recommended to have a dive buddy when you’re out scuba diving in Cartagena, as it is anywhere else. This is particularly the case if you’re out diving without a tour operator or guide. In this situation, it’s also good practice to make use of diver down flags.

Best Dive Sites in Cartagena

With a diverse range of different sites to explore and varying conditions, Cartagena has something exhilarating in store for every diver. There’s so much to immerse yourself in from natural wonders to sunken wrecks. Here are some of our favorite dive sites in Cartagena.

Rosario Islands

Argentina Reef

A paradisal jewel in the heart of the Caribbean with a vast and endless array of opportunities for adventure. Magical crystal waters, enchanting birds and mystical scenery display all the majesty nature has to offer. There are various textures of coral sponges within the many places for diving and snorkeling.

You will find the San Bernardo Corals National Natural Park located here. This place is famous for its rich and preserved ecological diversity. Because of it’s protected status, it’s natural beauty continues through the ages for all to enjoy.

It’s only a short jaunt from Cartagena’s docks, with many people often taking day trips. You can also do a weekend stint and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Relax and enjoy the easy-going atmosphere of the Rosario Islands. It’s why you should visit this archipelago at least once in your lifetime.

If this sounds ideal to you, be sure to check out our recommended diving package experience below!

Pedro de Heredia


Pedro de Heredia is the Spanish conquistador who founded Cartagena in 1533. The figure dominates the Plaza de los Coches from all angles of view. His grandness sits right behind the Clock Tower in one of the more trafficked areas of the city.

It’s clean and well kept with an interesting and informative past. This is one of those must-see attractions for anyone visiting Cartagena for the first time. If you’re a history buff, this is one of those sights you will absolutely take in and enjoy.

You can also dive and explore the ruins of Pedro de Heredia’s shipwreck. It’s 10 minutes north of Cartagena and between 12 and 36 meters deep. You can get lost exploring all the coral embedded and encompassing it.

If you’re heading to Cartagena and looking to get your first taste of scuba diving, this unique dive will definitely make lasting memories, check out our recommended diving package below!

Underwater Art Museum

Underwater Art

Isla Baru is one of the closest islands to Cartagena and not failing in it’s beauty. Not only does this island behold its own spectacular wonder, but it also has an art museum right under the sea! If you intend to spend time underwater during your visit, not coming here might be a waste of your trip.

This museum features environmentally-themed sculptures, created by Colombian artist, German Botero. They also serve as an artificial reef. The Garden of Jellyfish splays the underwater landscape while allowing coral and other aquatic life to colonize it. You can wade between the figures while you observe the intricacy of the work.

Best Time to go Diving in Cartagena

Cartagena has a coastline on two different bodies of water, the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. This means that you can dive in Cartagena any time of the year. If you’re specifically looking to spot Hammerhead sharks, January to May would be the ideal time to visit.

Depending on the site and conditions, expect visibility of 50-100 feet and water temperatures of 80-84°F.

How Much Does Scuba Diving Cost in Cartagena?

If you’re looking at booking a dive package experience through a tour company in Cartagena, you’ll find prices between $150-$350. The prices generally include gear rental and levy’s so there are no extra fees.

In addition, a PADI Open Water Certification will set you back around $400, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Scuba Diving Gear in Cartagena

Scuba Gear

There are plenty of dive shops located in Cartagena. This means gear rental is always an option.

It’s worth noting, you’re left with one less thing to think about when going with a diving package from a guided tour operator as all equipment and gear are included.

However, buying your own gear might be ideal for you if you’re a more keen and experienced diver!

Be sure to check out our buyer’s guides if you’re looking for scuba gear. There you’ll find all of our top recommendations for a range of scuba gear.

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