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“First visit to Colombia”
Review of Decameron Baru

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Decameron Baru
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Isla Baru
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 6, 2012

This was my first trip to Colombia, it won't be my last. The resort facilities are very nice. The resort is clean and new which is obvious. Not much sandy beach area but still a fantastic location. The food was alright, not great. The service was probably the biggest negative about this resort. The staff are new and have little to no grasp of the english language, if you do not speak Spanish you will have a hard time. The weather was great, the water was warm, and the drinks were cold. We were on vacation after all and that was all we were concerned about. The drive from the airport to the resort is a little rough but sit back and enjoy the view, and remember where you are, it is worth the drive. I have been to many all inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and the service here is way behind what you would expect, but the place is clean, and beautiful. Enjoy the weather, the food, and the entertainment. Given time and training this place could really be a gem they are hiding from us gringos.

Stayed: January 2012
3  Thank Claudia S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 6, 2012

Just returned home yesterday from Baru, loved it !!! The bus ride is a long trip from the airport, but interesting to see Cartagena and the countryside. If you are looking for limo service, this is not for you, but, having a few cold beers on the air conditioned bus, this is a great trip !!
The rooms were very nice and clean, the service was very good. The beach is very beautiful, love the man made coral reefs, saw many fish, large and small crabs, needle fish, jelly fish, pelicans, lizards, gecko's, etc..
Love the cabana's at the beach, a nice break from the sun, take lot's of sunscreen !! I have travelled to many islands but the sun there is very intense :))
We had great meals everyday, a la cartes were great, really loved the Italian and Seafood ones.
Even tho they don't speak much English, knowing a bit of Spanish will suffice, we had no problems.
Lots of entertainment happening all day long, right from the main lobby, to the pools, to the beach, no dull moments but you can get away from it if needed, it is spread out, which means lots of walking, stairs, ramps, but OK if you are in good health.
When you get to the airport, look for Serge, he is excellent, he will make sure you get on the right bus, and when at the resort, look up Jamie if you have any issues, all is good !!
We had an excellent trip, will return again, and ignore all the negative comments as those people are narrow minded, hey, you're going to Colombia, not the Walmart places like Cuba, DR., Mexico, etc...been there, done it, time for new adventures and this place delivers !!
Cheers !!!!

Room Tip: If you want ocean view at it's best, choose blocks 1,2,3.....we had block 4, still perfect but p...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank SandiGary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2012

We recently had visited a Royal Decameron Baru all inclusive resort. We choose Royal Decameron because we have a very nice experience staying 7 days at Royal Decameron Salinitas in El Salvador two years ago. We were expecting the same quality of service in the newly built facility in Isla Baru that belongs to famous chain of resorts. However despite the brand new modern design buildings and fabulous landscaping of this resort, it did not meet our expectations.
We like the resort layouts, beach, marine activities, in addition to very nice pools of any sizes with clean fresh water and a cleanliness of whole hotel. The rooms are modern and large comfy beds, TV (few channels in English). This resort has a separate private island (or part of it) with a bar and beach facilities which is great (no additional charge to use it). The weather was so warm and fabulous. The a-la-carte restaurants for a dinner serve a good selection of food.
What we do not like is that resort is very far away from the airport and on route in the bus they do not provide any drinks or snacks (In El Salvador they did). The room service is only to make the beds and clean, but not change bed clothes. Tap water in the room is turned on during day time only. No fridge in the room (That's extra charge). The food in the buffet was OK but with very few choices and all the juices are watered down. All the bars are serving domestic drinks with not much choice and the beer is very soft. In restaurants only served red or white wine (no name). A lot of local people in resort, especially on Saturday and Sunday, make it difficult to get drinks at the bar, because locals just do not respect the order and bartenders serve them first (worst are island and beach bars). Security seems OK but only on this resort we lost a beach towel right from our sun bed. At courtesy of the resort they did not charge any fee for towel just replaced with new one.
Prices for additional services that you can get at resort are expensive. Hot stones massage will cost you $52 per half hour, one hour of internet is $6, telephone calls to Canada $3 a minute. Nolitours is matching this madness. One trip to Cartagena on a bus will cost you $150 and on boat $182 (and drinks not included). If you are not alone, make calculations. In El Salvador the same name resort charged not even a half of it and internet was free. In addition, the waitress service at the buffet and restaurants leaves a lot to be desired.

Room Tip: Block 3 and block 2 are facing to ocean Take a Decameron tour to Cartagena for $18 it is very well...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank bigvladtech
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2012

The resort is very safe. Hotel is nice; rooms clean, swimming pools are large enough to accommodate everybody. There is cleaning crew everywhere at all times. Nice pools for kids as well. Pack swimwear in carry-on, because your room will not be ready and suitcases will arrive at 5 pm. Learn Spanish or bring dictionary. Staff does not speak English. Only Viktor in Asian restaurant was fluent in English and French. Monica in cafeteria was very nice and tried to speak English. In restaurants they serve locals first. If you need Kleenex, bring your own, there is none in room. It is worth the trip to take a speedboat ride to Cartagena. Fun and fast. City is nice, lots of police, as they are preparing for Conference of Americas. Obama will be here as well. Drinks are local, only Black and White and Ballantine’s scotch is the original. No Clamato and martinis are stirred, not shaken. The cafeteria food is as good as anywhere, the small tips will go the long way for better service. Food in restaurants is good, and plentiful. Evening programs start 30 minutes early or 30 minutes late. Never know when and although they try, the quality is not there. M/C speaks mostly in Spanish and they get audience to participate and provide entertainment. Wi-Fi is best at the lobby bar, and it is slow. Weak signal in the room. More hours you buy, lower price per hour. Be careful about virus and other bad stuff. I used my USB stick and received “free” stuff. Had to use my own virus protection to remove it and clean my USB. Lesson is: For email, it is OK to use resort’s computers. For banking, etc., FORGET IT! We took a speed boat trip to Cartagena, it was worth it. Shopping trip was cancelled due to lack of participants. Buy your duty free loquor onthe plane goint there, because on the way back they will run out. Store in the resort is not very well stacked. Rum is expensive.

Room Tip: Unit 4 and 5 are close to cafeteria. Little walk to the beach downhill. Must walk up after!!!
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Nairam1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2012

Where can I start, I absolutely LOVED this place! We went the week of Mar 22-29 and had a fantastic time. Everything from the food, to the pools, atmosphere, people, grounds, rooms were much better than expected.

The ride to the hotel is not as bad as everyone makes it out to be - its all a part of the experience. Some people were a little uneasy about the transfer over the canal but the drivers know what they are doing, have been trained extensively, and we were assured even the slightest mishap and they cannot transport passengers at all. If it was not a resort chain maybe I'd have some doubts, but I trust RD knows what they are doing.

Once we got to the hotel we were offered a welcome drink, our bags were safely stowed until our rooms were ready, and the animation staff even came out and danced right in the lobby to get everyone going! We loved it! Right from the get go they were there to show the guests a good time.

We got our room at 3, and it was in block 7 (to the left of the main building) - clean, spacious, and close to everything. This hotel does have a lot of stairs but it wasn't anything we couldnt handle.

My boyfriend and I both loved the food, although we both preferred the buffet over the a la cartes. They were also good, but its a rarity that the buffet has better cuisine than their restaurants! Every day was a different theme (ie Hawaiian, BBQ, Seafood, Mexican) so there was always plenty of choices. Food was also always fresh...as soon as something started getting low they'd switch it out, I never saw something sitting for more than 20 mins. Always fresh fruit, bread, meats, pastas, omelettes at breakfast, etc..BASICALLY - definitely gained those lbs. back that I lost climbing the stairs!

Did the boat trip to Cartagena - pricey (USD $175) but worth it, especially if you've never been before. Although - I'd suggest to do it earlier in your trip, that way you know what is where, and you can go back on the shuttle (USD $18) yourself another day to tour look around shop on your own, as on the tour you only get about 30 mins to do so. Includes tour guide, air con shuttle, speed boat ride, entrances to fortress and convent, shopping stop, walking tour of the city, lunch at a nice hotel and non alcoholic cold drinks throughout.

The nightly entertainment was good - some funny, some dancing, but don't expect much english - mostly spanish speaking guests when we were there so they mostly spoke in spanish - but you can mostly follow along with what is going on.

Beach was nice too, split in different areas almost so fits for everyone, you've got your rocky path if you dont care for the sand, bar area where most of the action happens (volleyball, water aerobics, bar, etc..) walk a bit more and its a bit quieter...then you can walk through a mangrove pathway and get to the water activities (non-motorized) area, and then you can take a 1 min transfer to another island area, where they have set up another beach bar/snack bar, and the beach is much quieter there. you can also walk along over to the public beach, playa blanca for something to do (about an hour away).

Service wise I have little complaints, most of the staff do their best with English but not as much (yet) as they may in Cuba or DR or Mexico, but with some patience they will figure out what you need. May help to learn a few key words in spanish to help you along.

All in all, we had a great week and were sad to leave. Everyone we met during our week there also loved it, many of them having travelled to other RD properties (in El Salvador, Panama etc) and said this was their favorite to date. I've always travelled to Cuba, DR and Mexico in the past, but after having been to Colombia, I don't think I could in the future. I'd rather spend the little extra it cost to have near perfection over a cheap trip to the usual 3 and be disappointed. GO HERE! YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT!

Room Tip: If you aren't springing for a deluxe or oceanfront, try to get a room at the end of block 7. Clo...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank Traveljunkie_875
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2012

Probably the nicest beach front hotel in Colombia. The hotel has three main swimming pools, really nice but stick to the main pool because most of the action takes place there. The beach is awesome, cristal clear waters with lots of pretty fish swimming around. Regarding the food, breakfast is ok, lunch not so much and dinner is decent, but definitely book all your dinners at the Asian restaurant, the others are crap. The downside is that there are a few annoying people on the beach trying to sell stuff or give you a massage, just say "no gracias"and you should be ok. Also, STAY AWAY from the Multivacaciones staff, they will try and sell you vacation packages on Decameron Hotels.
Do try the Coco Loco cocktail on any of the open bars! The room was pretty decent.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank Juju B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2012

This will be a long review. We’ve been to RD Baru the week of March 22-29. This is the 3rd Royal Decameron resort we visited after RD Salinitas in El Salvador and RD Playa Blanca in Panama. Unfortunately, Baru is the worst one and it is a shame because some tourists will not go to other Decameron resorts after visiting this one. Don’t understand me wrong, it was a nice vacation but compared with the other 2 resorts, I did not recognize the Decameron culture. Depending on your previous vacations and which resorts/countries you visited, Baru can be considered a gem, this was not our case. We chose Baru because we had such a wonderful time in Salvador/Panama (the latter is the best). The Latin, high spirited vibe is not present at Baru. The trip to resort: long and bumpy, but in a nice air conditioned bus. The ferry is scary at first, but we took it when we’ve been to Cartagena and it seems “safe”. I still do not understand why the bus driver adopted the longest road on the way to the resort (2 h) and he took the shortcut on the way back (even when we’ve been to Cartagena max 1 h 30 mins and a very, very short bumpy road). For those ones who stayed at Baru, initially, on our way to the resort, we took the ferry from that site with no “shops” to grab a Coke/beer, but we saw these on our return trip, or when we took the hotel shuttle to Cartagena.

Accommodation: we were in Block 4, close to the Buffet and Pool #3. The room is very clean, modern, we always tipped the maid, so we had no issues with the towels, soap, etc. But, we had no water running (hot/cold) between 2 AM-4AM for the entire week. The hot water stops @ 12 AM, so if you hit the disco, you have no hot water for taking a shower. On top of that, when the water stars coming, it will wake you up because of the noise in the pipes. Also, because there is no full wall between the bathroom and the room itself, the sewage smell might bother you. AC was working fine though.

Food: at the Buffet (only 1) the food is either very, very delicious, or is awful. You will find variety on a daily basis, but few choices per day. There are no fruits at dinner. Don’t touch the beef – every time is not eatable. The a la carte restaurants were good, my husband woke up @ 7 AM to make the reservations (you can reserve up to 3 nights in advance). I had a delicious plate @ Catch of the Day (Pesca del dia) with lobster, shrimps, fish, mussels. The Italian (Il Forno) or the Euroasian were ok, too. The snack bar (by the beach) – we liked their French fries and qibbes. This one becomes an a la carte in the evening.

Service: here is the major complain. In the morning, you have to chase a waiter to pour you the coffee, at dinner no one comes to offer you wine/water or if you ask, you wait, and wait and wait... The resort was close to the max capacity and the personnel are scarce. Between 6-9:30 PM there is only 1 bar open – in the Lobby and there are 3 bartenders, who cannot, simply cannot cope with all the guests. Decameron should have a dedicated person only for the coffee station, as to make a cappuccino, it takes time, and when someone orders 3 or 4, well, 1 bartender is stuck there for 15 mins (and the person is slow and not multitasking). When he gets an order for 5 Mojitos, again, that guy is stuck. Moreover, Decameron should have self serve machines for beer, non-alcoholic drinks, so the service will be faster and easier for the waiters. I would not mind self-serving, but I would be pissed off waiting for 30 mins (and I was looking at my watch) to get 2 Baileys and still not being able to get them (it happened only once, in the last evening there, usually we had to wait 10-15 mins). I was on vacation and this did not bother me until the last evening, when I had enough.

Entertainment: in the morning, on the beach, they have yoga, water aerobics, dance classes from 10-11:30 AM. In the afternoon, there are activities around the main pool # 2 from 3-5 PM. But where is the Latin vibe during the evenings? The band that is playing in the buffet (and is a very good one but it is not playing that kind of music for dinner time, but cumbia and salsa) from 6:30 -9PM should be on the patio beside the Lobby Bar and not in the buffet!!!! How am I supposed to dance between the tables? And, the ones that really like this music are stuck in the buffet, occupying the tables. Move the band in the Lobby and there will be much more space to dance and we can truly enjoy the band, while the Latin vibe is at max. At 10 PM the show starts. Now, before the shows, there are only 2 entertainers inviting the guests to dance for 15 mins. Every time, they looked bored. The MC is bleah, every time he sees the guests having a good time between the show breaks he shuts the music. He should be sent to RD Panama and see the show vibe there. All the guests are singing and dancing regardless of their nationality (pretty much the same as at Baru – 99 % locals, Argentinean, Chilean, Ecuadorian and a tiny bunch of Canadians).

Disco: it is open from 11PM – 1AM. We hit it every night except for the arrival day. We liked it a lot and I think we were the only Canadians there. The DJ plays only Latin music (salsa, reggaeton, bachata). If you do not enjoy listening to this kind of music, you will waste your time.

Excursions: I cannot comment. We took the hotel shuttle to Cartagena for 18 USD/person. We understand/can communicate in Spanish (medium level) so for us, it was convenient. The shuttle leaves the resort at 8:30AM every day except for Sunday and drops you at the Decameron office in Cartagena (within the walled city). The lady at the reception gave us a map and explained the major attractions that can be seen. She also offered us refreshments and beer. Don’t be scared, it is safe as long as you stay within the walled city and do not cross any bridges. We were not bothered by the vendors and we wandered from 11 AM-4PM. At 1 PM, if you want, you can go back to the Decameron office and they will offer snacks (I cannot tell you more as we didn’t do it). At 4PM we were back to the office and again, they offered us drinks. If you need to go to the washroom, there is a washroom at the Decameron office, or when you are in the city most of the shops have a washroom, you just need to pay 1USD (if you do not buy anything from their store).

Beach/Pools: there are 3 large pools and 1 small pool at the Spa, plenty of lounge chairs and shade, there is absolutely no need to “reserve” your spot in the morning. We are beach persons, but we’ve been 1 afternoon at the main pool to see the activities. There is a different situation at the beach. You have to be there early if you want to grab a tent or a spot in the shade. Moreover, if you come around 10 AM, you will not find any lounge chairs neither in the shade nor in the sun (the locals prefer the beach in the morning, while in the afternoon they hit the pool).

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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7  Thank Andreea F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Decameron Baru

Address: Baru Km 7 | Sector Portonaito, Isla Baru 130017, Colombia
Location: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Isla Baru
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Isla Baru
Price Range: $286 - $736 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Decameron Baru 3.5*
Number of rooms: 366
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located at the paradisiac Baru peninsula, 75 minutes from Cartagena and member of the TripAdvisor ‘Hall of Fame’ for its certified excellence during 5 consecutive years, the Decameron Baru allows guests to enter a magical experience that will disconnect them from the outside world. The resort is located amidst a tropical forest and its architectural design intermingles with an ecological environment surrounded by many beaches, among which is the popular ‘Playa Blanca’, considered one of the best beaches of the Colombian Caribbean, and the luxurious ‘Playa Puntilla’ beach, where our travellers may enjoy a private club and several sports such as kayaking, rowing, scuba and snorkeling. Partying and enjoyment are guaranteed, enlivened with the rhythms from the countries of the great Caribbean basin such as ‘champeta’, a genre that mixes African and Colombian Indigenous sounds and that introduces travellers to the local culture. As a complement to pleasure, you may sharpen your senses with the delicacies of typical and renowned Colombian Caribbean cuisine. From this destination you may explore Cartagena’s colonial history and visit other important cities from Colombia’s northern territory such as Barranquilla, a commercial, river and sea port and seat of the multitudinous Carnival, as well as historic Santa Marta, considered the most beautiful bay in America. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Royal Decameron Baru Hotel Isla Baru

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