Playa Blanca is where you will find iconic turquoise blue Caribbean waters in Bolivar Colombia.
We hitched a ride with our fellow guests and new friends, the Salamores family. They visit Isla Baru and Hotel Manglares frequently and they were adamant that we go to Playa Blanca early before the tourists arrive by the (literal) boatloads around 11:00 a.m. We awoke early and breakfast was served by 7:00 a.m. Breakfast was traditional Colombian foods: guarabana fruit, scrambled eggs and arepo, which are pan-fried corn or yucca flour cakes filled with queso (cheese). Delicious!
By 8:00 a.m., we were at Playa Blanca swimming in warm, clear, green-blue waters on an almost-empty beach. Couple of notes about this beach (and Isla Baru in general). Although the beach is just 3 km away from the hotel, non-locals should not drive. The road is not safe for several reasons - speed of other vehicles, no shoulder or sidewalks, armed private guards/gunman (unclear who/what they were guarding). I will assure you, however, that the beach is ridiculously safe. I would put the tourist:police ratio at about 2:1. There were cops absolutely everywhere and they were vigilant. The other note about this beach is that you must contend with numerous very persistent peddlers offering everything from massages and body oil rubs to libido-enhancing oysters to jet ski rides. On the flip side, though, you can rent snorkeling gear, beach tent and chairs, and have fresh ceviche for next to nothing!
Just as our Colombian friends warned us, selfie-addicted, cosmetically-enhanced tourists started streaming in by the boatloads by 11:00 am. As they arrived, a local brigade of activists beating a drum and accompanied by police walked the beach, amiably handing out #ColombiaLimpia wrist bands and garbage bags. They were promoting a "clean beach" cause. A better solution might be to simply put trash cans on the beach (?). I read later, though, that a controversial move by President Santos to nationalize garbage collection has not been very successful, so perhaps this is easier said than done.