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“We Loved Colombia!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Las Americas Casa De Playa

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Las Americas Casa De Playa
3.5 of 5 Resort   |   Anillo Vial Sector Cielo Mar, Cartagena 1028, Colombia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #73 of 118 Hotels in Cartagena
Ottawa, Canada
1 review
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“We Loved Colombia!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2006

My family just returned from a week in Cartagena Colombia. I must admit that I had apprehensions with this destination given all of the bad publicity it receives. I must say we were pleasantly surprised at how safe we felt and how beautiful Colombia is. The people are friendly and truly want North Americans to visit. We stayed at the Las Americas Beach Resort.

Language - The staff speak Spanish with a few who have a basic understanding of English. Many don't understand English at all.

Currency - There is no problem using USD but pesos are preferred. If you use USD, you will get your change in pesos. The resort exchanges USD to pesos on site.

The Resort - Is not a 4.5 star according to North American standards. When you travel around Cartagena and see some of the other hotels, you will be happy you picked this one. The resort itself is kept clean. The groundskeepers are out before dawn cleaning the pool and the grounds.

The food - The buffet has very little selection (about 5 choices at every meal) and is repetitive. We tired quickly of the buffet. Chicken and fish are served at every meal as is rice. Breakfast was the same pretty much every day. Ask for a menu and order from the a-la-carte. If you don't see what you like, ask as they are more than happy to make what you want. Some food on the menu is available at a premium (clearly identified). Shrimp was $10 and lobster $12. USD.

The staff - Are very friendly. Service is very good and you will quickly find your favorites who will take care of you. Service is excellent even without a tip. We saved our tips until we were leaving. We left behind several travel mugs the staff desperately wanted and they were thrilled with their new acquisitions. Our favorites were Edwin (speaks perfect English and will take care of your every need). Alcides & Miguel also speak and understand English well. Tell them you read about them on the internet and that their friends from Canada who left them the big mugs say hello!

The Rooms - look in need of a bit of a facelift. The floors always feel like they have sand on them. The bathrooms are clean. Your bed is turned down every night for you. The mini bar is not part of the all inclusive and you will be charged for anything you take (even water). Ants in the rooms are a bit of a problem. Don't be surprised to get a few bites. There are some mosquito like almost transparent flies around as well.

Entertainment – Was almost non existent with the exception of a couple of dance shows lasting about a half hour. There was some music being played in the lobby bar on a couple of occasions as well. The resort is pretty quiet by 9 p.m. The bars close at 11. If you’re looking for night life you’ll have to go into the city.

Transportation – The hotel offers free shuttle into the city. Taxi fares are about $5 USD. Drivers in this city are aggressive so be prepared.

The City – is beautiful and colorful. There are many sites to see. A trip to the fort is well worth the walk and the view. Street vendors/peddlers are everywhere and can be persistent. If you’re not interested say no gracias and keep walking. You can typically get your item for about half the asking price. The police are heavily armed and quite visible. They are very friendly and will be photographed with you if you ask.

Leaving - You will likely go to the airport about 4 hours before departure. Every piece of luggage is opened and checked. Don't be surprised to see your clothes being sniffed and your toiletries being opened. Your luggage will then go through x-ray followed by another security check and a search of your carry on items. Before you walk to the plane, you have a final body pat down check. You need the time allocated to get through the searches.

Overall, we had a fantastic experience in Colombia. Anyone interested in going will be surprised at how different the country is from the reputation is has. My family felt safe and did not want to leave. We would return to both Las Americas and Cartagena if the opportunity came up. I think once more North Americans visit and have positive experiences, Colombia will become a sought after destination.

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320 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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English first
Burlington
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2006

I regret to inform all Canadians who have trips booked throught Conquest Vacations that your trip has been cancelled. Conquest has failed, as yet, to advise their customers of this event. I advise you to contact your booking agent to obtain a refund.

Stayed January 2006
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Burlington
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2006

I found out today that Conquest Vacations, the only Canadian travel company offering package deals to Cartagena, has cancelled all future departures due to a lack of interest. This is a shame as my wife and had booked for Feb 14th into the Las Americas hotel and we are very upset at this turn of events.

Stayed January 2006
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Ottawa
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2006

My husband, my daughter, (age 13) and I just got back from the Los Americas resort in Cartagena. It was great. The private beach had amazing surf most days and the hotel also has several pools for swimming. The food was excellent nearly all the time.
The best part was the friendly and caring service. I'd recommend this resort to any family seeking a fun water vacation. We also visited the walled city and enjoyed inexpensive, interesting shopping. Lots and lots of stuff for girls and women, not so much for men or boys. We snorkelled and scuba dived at the Rosarios Islands too. Excellent value and lots of fun.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lima, Peru
1 review
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2005

It's exactly 1 week since I got back from Cartagena with my husband and my baby daughter, but I think I remember everything pretty acurately so here goes... hope this helps.

FIRST IMPRESSION:-

Let me warn you- If you're going to compare this hotel with 5 star accomodation in western europe or the states, you'll be dissapointed at what meets you upon arrival. The lobby is nothing special, and doesn't have air conditioning, so the heat is almost unbearable while you're doing the check-in! The hallways are charming though, with typical Carribean architecture. The rooms, thank God, have air con. and are very clean- again don't expect the Ritz! Unless you get a suite, the rms are of standard size with 1 King or 2 Queen beds, TV and a safe.

STAFF:-

I can't emphasize enough how incredibly friendly and helpful the staff are. We travelled with a 9 month old baby who needed all kinds at all hours which never seemed to be a problem for the forever-smiling, forever-working-waiters! At reception everyone is equally helpful... We had the misfortune of a leak in our room due to heavy rain; I went and explained to reception and within 1 hr we had one of the suites to compensate for the hassel of moving rooms!

FOOD:-

Breakfast buffet is complete with everything from eggs to rice and meat dishes! For lunch you can choose between 3 resaturants normally(... we were there in low season so sometimes one of them was closed). You can choose from buffet or a la carte and there is also Thai food at night in the 'Comedor de Los Reyes' restaurant. No complaints at all where food is concerned!

BEACH:-

The resort is the only hotel in Cartagena which is not situated on the 'Boca Grande' (Big Mouth'- taken from the shape of it! not anything else!)beach. It is also the only [almost] private beach around. There are a considerable amount of military guards there who patrol the area belonging to the hotel, so it's a safe beach and contrary to Boca Grande you can actually relax without people trying to sell you something every 5 seconds, or little kids begging you for something.

The beach is not what you would expect from the stereotypical image of a Carribean beach, ie- the sand is dark grey/brown and the water is very much like the Mediterranean in colour, but a lot warmer with a confortable 28-30 degrees all yr round:D of course, don't worry- it's very clean. It's great if you're travelling with children because the sea is very calm

POOLS:-

Again- no complaints! There are two large pools, each with a their own bar, a smaller pool for the children, and a reasonably-sized jacuzzi. Oh, and there's a water slide at one of the pools. The distance between the pools and the beach is literally 20 steps, if that! So you can just exchange between the sea or a pool for a dip. It's fantastic...


MOSQUITOS!

The resort has some serious mosquitos!!!!!! and they seem to be extra fond of foriegn blood because the tourists from Bogota didn't have problems! Take REPELLENT and a cream to sooth your bites- the hotel shop has some but the cream is completely useless. If you have a baby take a mosquito net for the buggy.

ENTERTAINMENT:-

My only complaint is that there was little entertainment at the hotel. Basically on Sundays there are shows at lunch time, but nothing in the evenings. The majority would take a taxi to the city. On the other hand, I don't know if it was due to it being low season(?). There is a disco/bar in the hotel which is open til 3am.


CITY TRIP:-

At least TWO visits to the city are ESSENTIAL! 1 in the day and 1 at night. It's beautiful, full of life and charm- but just be aware of the people around you at all times. Whatever you do to blend in, they know who the tourists are!

LANGUAGE:-

If don't already speak Spanish, I would seriously recommend you to try to learn some basic phrases... it's going to make your stay much more pleasant, especially with the bell-boys, maids, taxi drivers and if you want you want to buy something in the city. At the hotel, you should be fine more or less... everybody in reception and at least some of the waiters I heard speaking good English.

TIPPING:-

Unfortunately due to the many American tourists that Cartagena receives, people have become accustomed to a tip... so either you should have a lot of 1 dollar bills, or a lot of 1/2,000 pesos bills for house-keeping (not every day, but each time you ask for extra towels, or shampoo... and of course when you leave), the porters and occasionally the waiters who are very grateful for any tip.


An overall great experience, if you're going you'll love it! Have fun! I hope you found something interesting here...

  • Stayed November 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2005

We went Feb. 28 - Mar. 8, 2005.

I don’t even know where to begin..it was an absolutely incredible vacation. If you are thinking of booking or have already booked and you are a little bit hesitant..don’t worry , the resort is very safe (lots of security) and the town of Cartagena is packed with amazing people, beautiful sites and a rich history.

I didn’t want to leave and can’t wait to return. This place is a hidden gem and once it is discovered I fear the price will increase. I went down with my boyfriend but we quickly made friends with an incredible group of Canadians that were there as well. We ended up being a small family by the end of the week our dinner table growing to almost 20 people. We joked we wanted to give the resort a bad review so we could keep it our little secret but it wouldn’t be fair to the resort, and I know I had wished there was a few more reviews to look at.

The Resort is just a few min away from the airport and a $4 (8000 peso) ride from the walled city (historical). Which is right beside the new city (Bocagrande).

Weather - The weather was very warm and I would make sure you have lots of sun tan lotion and apply it frequently. It was cloudy and very warm in the mornings and got sunny and hot by the afternoons. There are lots of places to get shade. I didn’t find it too humid but didn’t usually go into town until 4pm or so when the sun wasn’t as hot. I love the sun but even I was looking for shade by the end of the week, or just stayed in the pool.

Staff - I have to start with the staff because I have been to a lot of 4/4.5 star resorts and nowhere has topped the service we received at this resort. They went above and beyond on a daily basis. They were friendly and more than willing to help you out. They clean your beach chairs and set them up for you at the beach, they walk up and down taking drink orders all day. They don’t expect a tip but man do they deserve it, not that I think it’s possible but the service gets even better with tipping. If there is anything you need look for Edwin he is there at breakfast and lunch (he wears braces) and dinners on weekends. He speaks perfect English and will help you with anything. Again the staff is incredible if there is anything you need just ask.

Reception Desk – very friendly, check in was smooth and a lot of them understood English. Ask for the safe lock at check in. Exchange your money here, we brought American and the rate was $1 for 2000 pesos. They warn against exchanging money in town from vendors. Use only banks and the resort. They had a bank machine but I didn’t speak with anyone who was able to use it. Gym - was small but okay. Spa – I got a 45min relaxation massage for $14.40 usd (28 800 pesos). Apparently the manicures and pedicures were cheap as well.

Rooms – are very clean and a decent size with a balcony and a hammock. We had a view of the sea and one of the pools. The only complaint I heard was from people by the tennis courts (I guess the noise of the balls was a bit annoying). If you are going all inclusive do not touch anything in the mini bar or you will be charged (seems silly but just don’t do it). Just get your water at the bars and get extra and bring them to your room.

Pools – were very clean and the staff cleaned them throughout the day, good temperature. We spent a lot of time at the pool away from the main eating area; it was a little quieter. It has a swim up bar as well but was only operational on the weekends. But the staff was more than willing to bring you drinks and would frequently walk by.just ask. The main pool with the slide is a lot of fun but is a little more busy but the swim up bar is open all the time.

Bars – they close at 11pm. You can get a drink at the disco after 11pm or go into town but it will cost you money. We went into town bought some beer and kept it in our room. You will find they ask you for your room number a lot but don’t worry you have the wristband so you will never be charged it’s just some way of tracking I guess, we found by the end of the week they stopped asking or only asked every now and then.

Entertainment – there wasn’t really any. One night they had a bonfire at the beach with music but it was our last night. This and the fact that the bars closed at 11 made it early evenings and a pretty quiet place. But there was always town and the Chiva bus tour if you wanted late night excitement.

Food – Amazing! You can have the buffet or order off a menu. We had the buffet the first day then tried the menu and never went back to the buffet. My boyfriend ate Filet Mignon for dinner about 4 times. For lunch there is a beach restaurant open daily, and a grill restaurant open on weekends. The main buffet/menu is open everyday with lots of choices. For dinner there is a Thai restaurant and the buffet/menu. Thai was excellent as well not very spicy but very flavorful. We actually ate in town one night at the San Pedro (delicious) and I would recommend it. It was a little $$ worth every penny but there were cheaper places. We met a couple who went out many times for dinner and didn’t have any complaints.

Beach – was beautifully warm, with brown sand. The beach is semi private. This means that there is an area in between the resort and the area they have set up for you on the beach (visible in the resort pictures) Vendors and the public are allowed to walk up and down this area, there is security and they must keep moving or they get a whistle and are told to keep moving, unless you want to talk with them. This area guarded by security is VERY safe and guard it 24/7. We once walked up and down the beach outside of the guarded area but didn’t make it too far before turning around there are just too many people trying to sell you stuff. The beach is extremely clean and I watched the staff clean it and the chairs every morning.

Cartagena – make sure you go into town at least once. The town is beautiful. We went the first time on a tour just to get to know the place a little bit. The tour was of La Popa, the Fortress and then to the Emerald shop. We went in 3 times after that to the old city. You could walk for hours through the streets and still not have seen it all. The city is magical at night. We took 2 carriage rides, you can get them for $10usd (20 000 pesos) and it tours the town for about 25-30min. Make sure you see the Santa Clara hotel, go inside and look around its just beautiful and you just might see someone famous). The town can be a bit intimidating at first because there are a lot of people trying to sell you something but if you ignore them and just keep saying “no gracias” they usually leave you alone and you can tune them out. Don’t entertain them unless you are really interested. Grab a seat at the patio with the yellow chairs and take it all in (it’s around the corner from the St. Peter Claver cathedral and beer is 75 cents 1500 pesos.)

Sorry for the long read but it was our favorite vacation yet. If you are looking for a relaxing getaway, with delicious food, wonderful service and you have a sense of adventure then this is the place for you. Cartagena has a rich cultural history and I can’t wait to return.

  • Stayed March 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2005

My husband, two daughters (21 & 18) and I visited Cartagena from Feb 21 to 28, 2005 and stayed at Las Americas, close to the airport and a five-minute taxi ride from Cartagena -- truly the best of both worlds. The old city is splendid and very safe. We also visited the fort and monastery and spent some time shopping. A trip to the mud volcano rounded out our activities. We understand the Isles de Roserio is a lovely outing as well.

Las Americas was a wonderful place for our family vacation. The three pools offered something for everyone: large slide for the adventurous, pool bar, paddle pool for the kiddies, and a lovely quiet pool for lounging and reading my book. The beach was dark sand, smooth and great for playing in the waves. Many of the other guests were from Colombia and other parts of South America. We also met people from Spain.

There were no animateurs (as we experienced in Dominican Republic and the Mayan Riviera) or extravagant evening shows, but there were singers during dinner a few nights and a bonfire on the beach with dancing and music one evening. We enjoyed evenings in the bar or one of the other areas in the resort -- talking to others and playing board games. The food was excellent with an a la carte menu and restaurants catering seafood, Thai and mixed grill specialties. The buffet was always excellent with enough variety to keep our girls happy. A la carte lunch and dinner anytime.

All staff members were very helpful, always smiling, and friendly. The people staying at the resort ranged from some young families with tots to middle agers like ourselves to seniors. There was a gym, but I never got around to using it. Also tennis courts and mini-put.

Some tips: A Latin American phrase book is a good thing to bring with you, although many speak English, they appreciated us trying to communicate in Spanish. Most preferred tips in Colombian pesos rather than U.S. dollars. Vendors will approach at tourist venues, but a polite "No, gracias" allows you to move on.

We recommend Las Americas for people who are looking for a wonderful, relaxing holiday with lots of interesting things to do in and around Cartagena. It's two weeks later and I'm still relaxed and remembering this fabulous vacation.

  • Stayed June 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Las Americas Casa De Playa

Address: Anillo Vial Sector Cielo Mar, Cartagena 1028, Colombia
Location: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Cartagena
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #73 of 118 Hotels in Cartagena
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Las Americas Casa De Playa 3.5*
Number of rooms: 250
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