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“Excellent Vacation” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Royal Decameron Baru

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Royal Decameron Baru
3.5 of 5 Resort   |   Isla Baru, Colombia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 3 hotels in Isla Baru
Guelph, Canada
1 review
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Excellent Vacation”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

My husband and I just returned from our trip to Baru. He has travelled to many all inclusive resorts in Cuba and Mexico over the years and said it was hands down the nicest resort he has ever been to. First of all, the food was fantastic. We ate breakfast at the buffet every morning, and there was a HUGE number of options. I usually filled up on the fresh fruit, there were so many types to choose from! Fresh fruit juice as well! My husband tried almost every hot breakfast option, and raved about the bread choices and omelettes. Lunches were always different...but the best part was the ice cream! There were always at least 5 flavours to choose from, many were exotic fruit flavours. We ate dinner at 2 of the 3 a la carte restaurants during our stay (an allergy to fish made the seafood restaurant out of the question) and our favourite was the asian restaurant, we went back more than once. Dinner at the buffet was also delicious, they never had the same theme twice, and we both really enjoyed the "typical colombian" dish when they served it. They did a great job of labelling the food at the buffet and on the menus in 2 languages for those who were a bit wary of exotic foods. Service in the restaurants was ok, sometimes had to wait for a refill on drinks in the buffet but it was a beautiful building and atmosphere so we hardly noticed. The only complaint we had was that after 6pm there is only 1 bar open in the whole resort, and they only had 2 staff working at it. We went there while waiting for our reservations each night, and often after dinner as well...as did everyone else. 2 staff for a hundred people was very slow. Not to mention that was the bar that had the cappuccino machine so it took 5 minutes to make some of the drinks. The staff also didn't seem to work on a first come first served basis either, so we quickly learned to hold a few thousand pesos in our hand in plain sight and they would come a bit faster to serve us! Don't forget your travel mugs from home either, the cups for beer and mixed drinks are quite small which leads to more trips back with the wait time.
The grounds were immaculate. Gardens were watered, pools were clean, no garbage on the ground, beaches clean and raked. As long as you got to the beach at a decent time, there were many chairs available. We went over to the other beach as well and it was never busy, no matter what time of day. The main pool was busy in the afternoon with activities but we just went to pool 3 in the afternoons and there were rarely more than 20 other people there, and it was very quiet.
The room was great, we originally had 2 double beds but switched after the first night to a king size. It was a honeymoon trip for us and they brought us a nice fruit tray and champagne which was very nice.
It is important to consider that this is not an english speaking country. The staff speaks spanish. Bring a little dictionary if you want, it will come in handy. Learn to say things like please and thank you, my room number is..., coffee, water, beach, towel, pool, excuse me, where is, how much, can you, etc. Some of the staff know how to say these things in english, but it is a spanish speaking resort. We had a great Nolitours representative to help us translate a health question, but we both enjoyed practicing our spanish, and the staff seemed to appreciate it, often helping us with pronunciation. We found it a great part of our Colombian experience.
We did a snorkelling trip one morning with the Nautilus dive shop and it was fantastic. The guide got in the water too and pointed out different things for us, which was great...very different than snorkelling trips we've been on. We also went on the Rosario Islands tour. The excursions were quite expensive, but this one was well worth it! The boat trip out there was fun, the islands beautiful, the aquarium was neat to see, and Playa Blanca (public beach) was beautiful once you got past the group of locals selling things. We were warned of that happening though so we just said "no gracias" and continued on our way. No different than experiences in Mexico or Cuba.
Overall it was a fantastic experience, the weather was beautiful, and the resort was beautiful. I recommend this resort for couples, or families, looking for something out of the ordinary! Bring your sunscreen and camera!

Room Tip: We were in block 6 which was central, but far enough away from the reception building to avoid the n...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (60)
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English first
Vancouver, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

February 22, 2013 - March 8, 2013 I was at the Royal Decameron Baru with my husband. This is a beautiful resort. The food at the buffet is good and it changes every night. The red wine is not that good but I did not expect to have a high end wine at an all inclusive resort. The breakfast is wonderul as there is a great selection of fresh fruit every morning. We were in Building 3 and it was a great location to beach, pool, and lobby. The rooms are a nice size with beds being very comfortable. The maids do a wonderul job cleaning and providing towels every day. The beach is nice but small. If you like walking the beach, you will have to go Playa Blanca. It takes about one hour to reach the end of the beach. A very nice two hour walk on a very gorgeous beach. There is a boat to take you to the beac , which is part of the Royal Decameron. - very short ride. Once you leave the resort, a guard will ask you to sign out and then sign back in. The food and drinks at the Beach are all included. They only allow 99 people on the beach so go early. My husband and I were going over to have lunch, which serves the best fish, and we were turned away as they have reached the limit. This is my favorite beach as it is quiet and the drinks and food are really good. The vendors can be annoying but will go away once you say no gracis.There is nothing to buy at the airpost once you leave buy what you need in Cartegena. The trip by boat to Cartegena is expensive about $200 each but very worth it. I Wish that we could have spent more time in the walled city. Would go back in a heart beat. Wonderful place to spend your vacation. The Bus ride to the resort is long but worth it once you are at the beach!

Room Tip: Choose the Ocean View as you will receive a fridge in your room and a great view of the ocean. Thes...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2013

I went with my family to the Royal Decameron Baru Beach Resort in early March. Overall, our visit was very good. Everything was clean in the rooms, except one of the air conditioners in one of the rooms leaked a little. Other than that, the rooms and beds were very comfortable. The selection of food was excellent, and there was a vast amount of fruits to choose at breakfast, but there were none at dinner. The dinner always had something new every night, with live music every evening at the buffet.The drink selection at the bar was also good. The swimming pools were great and clean, but only open from 10 am to 6pm. The beach was excellent. It was always being cleaned and there were several lifeguards at all times. The sand was very clean and the water was quite clear. There were also great snorkeling spots near the rocks placed nearby. There is also another beach nearby that a ferry will take you across. We only went there once, but it was more rocky than the main one. The property and scenery of the resort were some of the best we have seen as well. We also went for the Cartagena guided tour for the day. It was quite expensive ($208 USD per person), The city was beautiful, but there were a lot of street vendors at every place pressuring you to buy the same cheap things. Our biggest problem was communication with the staff. Only a few of the staff knew English, making orders was difficult with people who only knew Spanish. Our trip back was three hours long because of a ferry delay. In the airport, the duty free was very scarce, and had no coffee at a reasonable price, and no Colombian rum or souvenirs at all. If you do want to buy anything, get it either at the gift shop in the resort or buy it in Cartagena (there's also a $20 bus that just takes you to the city). Also make sure to not exceed the luggage weight, as it's $15/kilo extra. Overall, Colombia was a great destination with lots to do, but there are are a lot of other places with that as well for much less.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cornwall, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2013

My sister and I stayed at this resort from Feb. 8 - Feb. 22, 2013. The price was good because we were part of a large group tour. A fantastic rep greeted us at the airport and she made sure that everyone was on the right bus. The bumpy 90 minute ride from the airport to the resort was an experience that I will not forget. Also, the barge that is used to cross the canal made me nervous. When the bus arrived at the resort, I saw a dramatic change in the surrounding vegetation. The check-in process was very efficient. Our luggage was delivered to our room before we got there. The room, located in bloc 3, was large, very clean and well decorated. It was on the third floor so we had a good view of the pool and the ocean. There are many stairs and ramps that lead to the ocean, buffet, lobby and bars. The long treks up and down were difficult so we made our steps count. The heat was oppressive from 11:00 am - 5:00 pm, so we were swimming or under cover. We had to use a lot of sunscreen and we both peeled within a couple of days. The service at the buffet was poor at times almost to the point of serving yourself. By the end of our vacation, we knew whose section to sit in. The language barrier was difficult because we speak mostly English. The Cartagena and Rosario tours were good, but very rushed. We have travelled to Punta Cana on three different vacations, and enjoyed ourselves much more. It was an experience to visit Colombia, but I will never return.

Room Tip: Rooms in bloc 3 are closer to the buffet and the lobby. Higher floors have a better view.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2013

Here goes... Columbia is an up and coming hot spot. They have only been in the tourism game for a few years. Thus english isn't that common and tours etc are limited. The people are friendly and do try. If your out and around the smaller villages you will find the the locals haven't learning about recycling or garbage cans for that matter. Hopefully this improves as in the villages on the way to Baru the amount of garbage is noticeable to say the least.
As far as the resort, you must be part billy goat. ...stairs everywhere. ..dinner= stairs, room =stairs , come back from the beach=stairs, and so on. This is not a resort if you have mobility issues.
Food was descent always something good to eat...never outstanding...but good. Rooms were large and clean, could use a fridge. Beach was nice, weather great(no guarantee it will be when you go). Excursions very expensive. Day trip/ tour to town via boat $185 sounds like a deal...oh did I mention that is per person...ha not a deal now, is it.
The pools at Baru were very nice, never overcrowded. The only thing I would change is decrease the number of rude french people from Quebec...as say...Quebec not Canada. Im not worried about offending them cause they proba would refuse to read this because its in English.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thunder Bay, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

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!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dundas, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013

First we have to say it's a beautiful resort,great food, lots of fresh fruit. And the weather was nice and hot.
Yes like some others say, not a lot of people speak English and my husband was a little dissapointed with that. And yes sometimes it was hard but there are not a lot of English speaking tourists and Spanish is the main language. So learn a little Spanish!! Maby!!
We were also in bld #6 and we had just bad luck that there was a group of people that had a wedding party and didn't care of anyone else. So they partied in the rooms after they came back @ 2pm.The day after they came back from Puntilla(where they had the wedding) @ 3:30pm and again started the party with loud music in the rooms. Called the receptie and they did send out the security. Came right away, but as soon as he was gone again they started. So we were glad when they were there only for the weekend. (and so were the hotel employees)
It would be great if people (you know who you are?) took only each 1 chair @ the beach.
So that other people have a chair too.
There are enough chairs but not if everyone claims @ least 2 chair each(1 in the sun 1 in the shade)
We found that some people that worked in Baru were nice, but most weren't that friendly. and believe me I say Ola, Buenas dias to everyone.My husband waits until some one says something to him, so he found that even less people would be friendly to him.
Have to say, that more were getting friendlier the 2nd wk we were there.Have to say it's not always easy for the employees to stay nice if tourist can be rude aswel.And we found the Colombian people not as friendly as some other places we've been( El Salvador is one of the friendly places we've been)even to their own people!
Cartagena was beautiful, but the tours sorry are a little steep. Almost $ 200 pp. We would have liked to go another time, but that was quite pricey for us and more people complaint about that.They felt stuck(including us) because even if you wanted to go and pay the high price to other sightseeing places they didn't go because they didn't have enough people and so the tour doesn't go. We stayed 2wks and normally do more tours.We didn't know that the shuttle bus from the Decameron doesn't go anymore to Decameron in Cartagena?This wasn't anymore for @ least a year?? Nolitours should show that on there website and tell travel agents about that. we really counted on the bus! So try to stay in Cartagena for a few days if you go. There is so much to see:>(and they have tours going out of the hotel Decameron in Cartagena)
The ferry ride was not that bad on the way going (yes they need a toilet, so don;t drink),but bringing us back to the airport was a different story. We got stuck because they had to many tourist busses on(4) and than still a lot of local people with their cars.It took them almost a hour to get us loose and so we tought that they would offload us. That wasn't they case and so a lott of people in the bus were praying(included us) that we would cross the canal safely.We did, but hopefully they learned from this and wouldn't do it again. Not a nice feeling. It now took us 2 1/2 hours to get to the airport.The bus driver drove another way. Very fast thru little villages?? Opened our eyes. And was "good" to see the poor side of Colombia.
Anyways we don't want to discouredge anyone not to go This review is just to show you how we experienced it,hopefully it's helpful info. Everyone experience it different and it's a beautiful place to visit.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Royal Decameron Baru

Also Known As:
Royal Decameron Baru Hotel Isla Baru
Royal Decameron Baru Hotel
Address: Isla Baru, Colombia
Location: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Isla Baru
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 hotels in Isla Baru
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Royal Decameron Baru 3.5*
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