We would give this place 4 1/2 stars if we could.
We went here this past February and it was AMAZING!!!!!! Read some of the negative reviews that have been posted, and we suggest you ignore them because they seem to be written by snobby travellers. We are recommending it to all our family and friends! We are an adventurous couple in our late 20s who needed some R&R, but who also wanted to go somewhere a little more exciting than the regular resort places. The majority of guests at Royal Decameron are families from South America, so speaking Spanish is definitely helpful. There are some English speakers and the people who work there are always wiling to practise their English with you, but bring a Spanish Dictionary in case. (There are also a lot of Quebecois at the resort.) English-speakers are a minority, but we LOVED that. We loved practising our Spanish! It’s the whole point of TRAVEL, people - you want to feel like you are in a different country, you know?! We brought our own travel mugs which were the best things we ever brought! Much better than using their small plastic cups which are quite wasteful. The bartenders happily filled our big cups right to the top every time. Everyone who works at the Royal Decameron are from the Island of Baru and they are so grateful to be working there and to serve you. Please show your appreciation by tipping! We learned that they prefer tips in Colombian Pesos or in US bills that are larger than $1. Because there are many counterfeit $1 US bills, many banks do not accept them as currency, and workers will sometimes ask if you can exchange a $5 bill for 5 x $1US bills. Wish we knew this before. Everyone who works there were fantastic and we brought some of our favourite waiters/bartenders some soccer gear as gifts on our last day for their little siblings. Make sure that when you give a gift that you leave a note with it, including your room #, so the workers can show their supervisors as proof that they were gifts and not stolen.
Our favourite night restaurant to go to was the Eurasian Restaurant (make sure you make your reservation first thing in the morning in the lobby). We also loved lunch on La Playa Puntilla, which is a lovely separate beach that you need to take a small boat to (make sure you get your reservation card from the desk next to the boat departure).
There were not enough people who wanted to take the boat tour to Cartagena, so we had to take the bus tour instead. We suggest you avoid the bus if possible because traffic was horrendous and it cuts into your tourism time. If we could have done it again, we would have just asked for a shuttle to the walled city and walked around ourselves. Our guide was extremely informative and knew all about the history of everything in Cartagena, but we are the kind of couple who would rather explore on our own (which there was no time to do on the tour) and we hate being held back by a group. There were a ton of people backpacking through Cartagena within the walled city and we talked to a few of them. We felt COMPLETELY SAFE there, and all those stories about how dangerous Colombia is are false. Not being able to just explore the walled city on our own was our only regret about the trip.
Best thing you can bring back as gifts is the Colombian Coffee mmmmmmmm. We purchased bags from Juan Valdez and we were really sad when we finished our last bag. Coffee has never tasted the same. Leave your clothes at the hotel and fill your bags with Colombian coffee.
Internet was on the pricey side, but really what are you doing on the internet when you are vacation?! You can pay for tours and anything from the gift shop with your credit card.
Weather was absolutely beautiful, but be careful travelling there between April and June as those are the rainy months.
If you are headed here, we promise you won’t regret it! :D
- 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