My wife and I traveled to RD Baru Feb.1 - Feb.8, 2013. We flew CanJet out of Toronto. The flight there was good, approx. 5 hours. Luggage claim and immigration went quite smooth. Boarded a bus to take us to the resort. There was only water or pop offered but you could purchase cervezas (someone will show you where - we didn't). The road was ok for the most part but there were some rough (washboardy) spots. The ride was approx 1.5 hours (at night) which took you through Cartahena and by the walled city, then through the industrial section, onto a barge across a canal (very short ride), then through the country side to the resort. Check in was quick and easy. We were placed in block 5, second floor. There are three floors on each block. The rooms were nice and clean with a modern feel yet tropical. We didn't really spend much time in the room except for sleeping but felt it was the nicest room yet on our tropical vacations. Food was good. The buffet had an assortment of chicken, fish, beef and pork. If you are going to eat a little of each everyday, you might feel the food is boring. Have one, one day, something different the next. With their hot sun...really, how much does one need to eat anyway. They also have a 'fresh prep' beside the buffet to receive other foods - breakfast, lunch and supper. The buffet also has a 14 day rotation of themes so if you had rice yesturday, it isn't prepaired the same today, etc., etc. We went to two of the three al a cartes. 'Rest. Eurasia' is a Japanese/Thai. It was nice, food tasty, portions ok. There was a little mix-up with booking this al a carte but after thinking about it...I asked for 'Tuesday' but believe (with language barriers) they understood 'Today'. However, they were accommodating and seated us for an enjoyable dinner. Had fun playing with the chop sticks and taught a spanish couple beside us how to use them. The 'Rest. Il Forno' wasn't as much of an enjoyable time. We had been warned from other travellers at the resort, they are unorganized and screwed up orders. After ordering, one employee brought us both fish dinners, we stated we didn't order this, a few minutes later another employee brought us the same two plates, again we stated 'no', then a third person came by with the order slip and confirmed what we ordered and then the meal arrived. With my wife working in the restaurant business I don't understand this mix up but we 'go with the flow', on vacation with no rush to be anywhere quick, and we did get our food. The food was tasty, good portions and presented nicely. Just the mix-up spoiled the ambiance. The third al a carte 'Rest. La Pesca Del Dia' turns into the beach snack shack. Like I stated above we didn't go to this al a carte but did visit during the day for the beach snacks. Here they have a fish plate, hot dogs, hambugers, fries etc. etc. Food again was good. We never had any issues with the food/water/sickness. They do supply bottled water and the bars will refill them with safe water if you run out. R.D. has a central filtration/water purification system for the whole resort, so the water in the taps are ok, however they do suggest to drink the bottled water just to be safe and not to spoil your holiday.
The sun IS intense!!! We used 30 spf sunblock every day and re-applied often. We didn't get burnt but you have to be re-applying! You don't and you will NOT enjoy the rest of your vacation. Normally I can lay for 30 min. before having to cool off in the pool/ocean. I could only last about 15 min. HOT HOT HOT. Loved it!!!
The beach was beautiful and the water crystal clear. From pictures you can see some rock forms sticking out into the water from the beach. You can go on a snorkeling tour and pay or you can have just as much fun by these rock forms. Lots of fish to see, perhaps not as many coloured fish, but if you enjoy placing your feet down in the sand and watching the fish instead of bobbing with the waves, this is the spot. We even loaned our masks to two sisters who went on the tour and said they had a better time out off our beach!
We did only one excursion. Mostly because we just wanted to laze around the resort and relax, but also because of the price. We took the boat ride to Cartagena City. This was a boat ride which took approx (1/2 hour or so) then a bus shuttled you to the 'Covent of the Popa', 'San Felipe Castle', 'Zapatos Viejos - Old Shoes' monument, then to the Walled City. Where you walked to a restaurant for lunch, a stroll through the 'Historic Center of the City' for some sites and shopping and return to the boat for a ride back. This was almost a whole day...but passed quickly. We started at 8am and returned about 4pm. The cost was pricey but if you do the cheaper similar tour...you spend more time traveling (by bus it takes about 2hours each way) and you get back to the resort much later! Anyhow we paid 320,000 pesos each! Which works out to approx $185 Canadian. If you factor in the round trip boat ride, the entrance fees to the monestary and fortress, the bus shuttle, lunch, tour guide and your time saved in travel...I feel it was worth it. You can also pay a little extra to have a private tour, and some did, however every time we turned around those people were right beside us - at every location. I don't think they received anything different or better by going private. I have some prices of other tours if you are interested in what R.D. offers - just message me here on tripadvisor and I will respond.
The resort as a whole is beautiful and lush. Hard to believe it is only three years old. There are stairs there! Lets face it, it is built on a hillside. However if you take them slow or use the ramps (and still go slow!) you should be ok. If you have health issues you may want to look elsewhere. By the third or fourth day, my wife and I were climbing the stairs a little easier with all that practice. The three pools were located on the top of the hill with the buffet, show area, and rooms. It was the beach, two al a cartes, dive shop that you needed the stairs.
There is another beach to visit included with R.D. You walk through some mangroves to a boat, cross the SMALL canal and walk a short distance to the beach. Here they have an other snack shack with food and beverages. Benches and loungers. The water is a little more wavey than the main beach and the water seemed to be not as crystal clear. Enjoyed ourselves there but only went the one day. It is all included with R.D.
They have some people selling their wears down on the beach and they, like most locations, work on the barter system. I purchased a necklace for $5US which started out as $20US. I just kept saying 'I would think about it' until he asked what I wanted to pay. The necklace wasn't anything special and don't believe he go ripped off either. I was fair. There are people giving massages down on the beach as well. Don't let them touch you if you don't want to pay. You can barter a price with this service as well.
All in all, we loved this resort. Would we go back? No. But we like to travel to different locations every time and part of our adventures is finding your way around the resort. We know were everything is now and a second trip would not be as fun. Would I recommend this resort? Yes. My friends would enjoy themselves.
If you go to Baru or any spanish speaking country for that matter, learn some phrases, words etc. Show some respect for the people there, they will respect you more for trying. My wife picks up language a lot better than I, and we were treated quite well just for trying speak spanish. You would think the same if they traveled here to visit Canada!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.