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“Blissful, Welcoming Retreat!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Merecumbe Hotel

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Merecumbe Hotel
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Km 48, via Santa Marta - Riohacha, Buritaca 470009, Colombia   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Buritaca
New York City, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Blissful, Welcoming Retreat!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012

I’ve just returned from a perfect winter retreat at Merecumbe Hotel, one of the nicest places I’ve ever visited. (I’ve traveled a lot.) The family that owns and runs it is delightful, the independent lodgings inviting, the food delicious and varied, the wines tasty, and the overall mood extremely conducive to romance, rest, and roaming Colombia’s Magdalena coastal area. (Note: Google Maps hasn’t a clue about this place.)

My companion and I spent a week in a round “hut“ that was spacious, comfortable, imaginatively designed, and swiftly cleaned during each day’s breakfast session by a very considerate team of housekeepers. The “outdoor” bathrooms are gleaming, well-appointed spaces; what makes them outdoors is that fresh air and insects can flow through them, necessitating a screened door between bathroom and bedroom. The cold water shower always seemed warm enough. Photos cannot do justice to these rooms. (I tried.)

Amid so much talk about the Atlantic Coast’s unswimmable beaches, I was surprised and delighted to find that I (and other guests) could swim every day in hospitably tempered waters at Merecumbe. The hotel is located at the apex of a bowl formation in a huge cove that stretches from Buritaca village into Tayrona Park, so the sea tends to press fairly gently to the west. Near shore, the water contains bits of leaves and wood from the Buritaca River that flows all the way to the coast from Ciudad Perdida (the 12-centuries-old native city discovered by the authorities in 1972). I found that going about 30 meters (100 feet) from shore brought me cleaner water without feeling risky. Waves varied from gentle to noisy; our final days brought some small breakers. For a few days, the beach was rocky and I found my swimming shoes very useful; rougher seas eventually made the beach far sandier, though I can’t explain why. Evidently, there are times when swimming isn’t possible, but I was thrilled.

My companion and I enjoyed strolling the beach every day. To the east, we came upon a picturesque swamp that hosts a wealth of birds. (Colombia boasts the world’s greatest avian variety.) Around the horn from these wetlands we found the village of Buritaca, a bustling, rootsy community with a big campground and many beach bars for domestic visitors who arrive via tour buses from Santa Marta.

West of Merecumbe, we walked on several occasions in the direction of Tayrona Park. Depending on recent rainfall levels, little rivers meet the sea, necessitating footgear adjustments, or they stop just short of it at natural sand berms.

The farthest river we reached is one that flows to the sea from Quebrada Valencia, an irresistible set of waterfalls that draws tour buses. It’s easy to walk along the highway to the entrance (admission costs several U.S. dollars), then walk to and from the cataracts along a lovely stream, crossing it many times. (Swimming shoes are useful.) Once there, visitors collect at ground level, but it’s possible to climb a couple of natural terraces, provided most rocks are dry. (I wouldn’t do this just after a rainfall.) The higher you go, the fewer the people. The waters are cold, bracing, gorgeous. Birds and butterflies abound. The visitors, pleasant and friendly, tended to clear out early in the afternoon, leaving us in paradise.

We spent a week at Merecumbe and never got bored with the kitchen’s offerings, which ranged from tasty to great and has evidently expanded greatly in scope this year. On the last day, we rushed to sample treats we hadn’t yet touched: that tomato soup, for one! And those fresh fruit drinks: Try “Anita “fast.

The staff is sweet and helpful. We were fortunate to meet up with Sam, the eldest son, who was working the dining room on a break from college. He speaks great English and is funny and helpful.

Oh yeah, Tayrona Park! We went there one day, marching all the way to Cabo San Juan. Tayrona sparked my initial interest in Merecumbe because accommodations are dismal in the areas I’d like to sleep in and Merecumbe is so much better than Eco-Habs, which would still require a serious walk to reach my places of interest. I liked Tayrona—but when I come back, Merecumbe will be the draw. Please say hello to this sweet hotel for us!

Room Tip: Loved Congrejo (the Crab), which is very private and not far from the sea.
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  • Stayed December 2012, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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176 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    140
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    3
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2012

A great stay! All houses are beautifully designed, have lots of privacy and are located just a few metres from the beach. Beds and hammocs are already set up for us - in the shade or sun. Great location with lots of nature and wildlife!
Best of all: three meals are included which can compete with the best restaurants. Great cooking, we really had a wonderful time!

  • Stayed October 2012, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stockholm, Sweden
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

Merecumbe is such a treat. The service is very personal, provided by the owners and their children. The furniture are all designed by the husband and the bungalows are really nice, with outdoor bathrooms.

Please do not miss out on the massage! Unfortunately, we only stayed for one night, I would have wanted to taste everything on the menue!

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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San Diego, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2012

We recently stayed at Merecumbe for our 10 year wedding anniversary and we couldn't be more pleased. Everything was done well from the relaxing rooms to the delicious cuisine and the warm welcome from the hosts. Run by a delightful family, the owners Edgar and Andrea greeted us warmly and made sure every need was attended to. Their daughter Camila, a gifted and talented chef, spoiled us with delicious meals and amazing juices. She even made us sandwiches to take with us on our daily excursions and their young son Simon even joined the fun with us playing music one night. By the way, the family designed and built the hotel themselves. It's truly remarkable. Our stay was a highlight of our trip.

Location:

The hotel is located near the Tayona National Parque about 30-45 minutes outside of Santa Marta. For some inexplicable reason, Trip Advisor lists the hotel as Buritaca, even though it's literally next door to other hotels listed in Santa Marta. Trust me - this is by far the nicest of the Santa Marta hotels if you are looking for a nice, relaxing stay at the beach and access to the best the Carribean has to offer. If you are looking for access to nightlife, this may not be a fit for you, but if you want to relax, enjoy nature and explore the flora and fauna - this is the place.

Accommodations:

If you would like to experience eco-tourism with cleanliness and comfort - this is the place. The rooms are well-designed, clean and because they have screens and a ceiling fan, they maintain a very pleasant temperature. The cabinas include an outdoor deck with a shower, a screened room and and private bathroom that is enclosed, but open air. See photos. I loved the room and the bed was so comfortable. You also will hear the sounds of the tropics including the waves crashing and the tropical sounds of nocturnal wildlife. It's way better than my sound machine at home!

Cuisine:

Attending culinary school in Bogota, Camila's creations are a delight. I enjoyed every meal and especially her frozen juices which were so delicious and really satisfying on a hot day. Don't miss the Arepecha (spelling?) for breakfast. I tried some in Cartagena after we left and none even compared to hers. Additionally, many of the fruits are grown on the hotel property so you experience local, organic delights. Yum... I'm getting hungry just thinking of the food.

Service:

I've been lucky enough to travel extensively and stay at 5 star hotels and the service at Merecumbe exceeded my expectations. As I mentioned, this is run by a family and you can tell that this hotel is their dream and passion. They really love what they do and so does their staff.

Ambiance:

This is a great place to come and be in tune with nature, the resort doesn't have to rely on fancy decorations because the beauty is in the natural designs, gardens, beach and waves.

All you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy your stay.

Room Tip: The Cangrejo Cabina was excellent - close to the main areas and beach, but private.
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  • Stayed August 2012, 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
    • 5 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.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2012

What a great place to spend a few days in full peace and direct contact with nature!
You can feel the strength of the ocean on one side and the wildness of the forest on the other side, from a nice comfort in this hotel.
The rooms are perfectly clean, comfortable and very nicely designed, keeping the eco friendly atmosphere at all times. The gardens are something you won't miss. Tropical flowers, big leaves and great colors are decorating the spaces between the rooms, the kitchen and the beach. My husband and i could enjoy our privacy and at times enjoy the company of this great, easy going family who owns the business. As a vegetarian couple, we always have our concerns when we travel...but this was not the case! The chef was completely open to our eating issues and pleased us with great meals, really tasty and balanced (what a relief!). Don't forget to try the tropical fruit juices, we couldn't get enough!
There's an easy access to other touristic places like the Parque Tyrona and Quebrada Valencia, only a few of the fascinating places you can go to from the hotel. Amazing sunsets, and a walk on the long beach were the perfect final touch to our days.
I highly recommend this place if you're looking for a time to relax, to contemplate incredible landscapes and to be in closer contact with nature. I hope we can visit again soon!
Ana from Canada

  • Stayed July 2012, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2012

I stayed at the Merecumbe Hotel for two nights and absolutely wished I could have stayed longer! Time does seem to slow down at Merecumbe and I felt like I was able to completely relax during my time there. The owners were incredibly welcoming and gave our stay a personal touch. I love that it's a family run business and the care they put into the hotel absolutely shows.

The property itself is beautiful, with clean and comfortable accommodations and a long stretch of white beach. It's only fifteen minutes away from Parque Tayrona and it's easy to arrange a day trip. The organic food is delicious (try the curried fish) and the fresh fruit at breakfast literally made my day.

I would highly recommend this hotel and hope that I get to go back someday!

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bogotá
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2012

This was one of the best destinations I've been to in Colombia. This family-run business is charming from the sweet 1:1 service upon arrival to the big hug from the owner at the end of our stay. Everything was EASY - easy to get there from Santa Marta airport, easy to relax in their hammocks, easy to shower in their eco-friendly outdoor shower and bathroom, easy to sleep in the comfy/ white beds, easy to eat the delicious cuisine (organic and tasty) and drink the nice selection of wine, easy to go to Parque Tayrona directly from the ecohab. The only thing that was hard was leaving, so I made a promise to them and to myself that I am absolutely heading back there as soon as I can for some R&R. Merecumbe is a must stay for those who want a peaceful respit, access to beach, eco-friendly comforts and guarantees.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 5 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.
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Additional Information about Merecumbe Hotel

Address: Km 48, via Santa Marta - Riohacha, Buritaca 470009, Colombia
Phone Number:
Location: Colombia > Magdalena Department > Santa Marta District > Buritaca
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Buritaca
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Merecumbe Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
For those who want quiet vacations in the beach ::: Merecumbe is a magical and green place to "unplug" yourself from daily life.Located in the lonely beaches of the Sierra Nevada in Santa Marta, there's an amazing landscape and lots of places to visit! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Merecumbe Hotel Colombia/Buritaca

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