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“Amazing staff; amazing hotel; great food!”
Review of Decameron Aquarium

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Decameron Aquarium
Ranked #9 of 42 Hotels in San Andres Island
South Lancaster, Ontario
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Amazing staff; amazing hotel; great food!”
Reviewed February 16, 2013

Went from Dec 31 til Jan 14. I have to start by saying it's a very safe place. Local police everywhere. I got lost walking downtown on several occasions and got scooter rides home from various locals! All rooms have an ocean view. The staff were amazing and prompt, most spoke english. The hotel was clean and the grounds very well groomed. Food was very good in all the restaurants with a good choice. I was in block 4 and all was perfect there. The hotel is a five minute walk to downtown. Beautiful docks to suntan on with very comfortable chairs. You could snorkel right off the docks as there were lots of tropical fish around. Variety of activities and always lots to do. Many well healed south americans travel to this island and not alot of north americans, so you truly feel you are somewhere tropical. I will definitely go back and stay and this resort. The water was warm and not too rough. Very hot (35+) the whole time we stayed there, just a bit windy. If you like the nightlife go to Coco Loco Island Disco up the road, starts getting busy after midnight! Music everywhere is mostly salsa, meringue, reggaeton and some top40 north american. Internet was precarious at times in the hotel lobby. Truly amazing place!

Room Tip: Pick a bottom floor, stairs are a killer after a late night. Block 4 was good but long walk to the d...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
5 Thank NewbieTraveler70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • French first
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English first
Gatineau, Quebec
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 136 helpful votes
Reviewed February 13, 2013

We stayed at the Aquarium from Feb 4th to the 11th, this resort is beautiful and very well maintained but this is not a new hotel and it shows. We were in block 6 and the only downfall was the shows were right beside our block so the noise is very loud until about 11:00 but we had an ocean view to paradise, the view we had was breathtaking so be sure when you reserve to ask for an Ocean view. When they say that San Andres is the island with the Ocean of 7 shades of blue, this is true, we would see these shades every day from our balcony and was absolutely beautiful.

The A la carte restaurants were really good and our favorite being the Sea Food and the Thai, the Buffet is good for breakfast and lunch but for supper we found that there was not much variety, the only thing the restaurants have to be reserved on a daily basis and it opens at 8:00 but be sure to be there quite early because there was always a big line up, we were there mostly at around 7:00 and we were always the first in line.

One thing that we did find really hard was the language barrier, hardly anyone speaks French or English so it make it real hard to communicate with them. The staff at this hotel are not has friendly as the other places we have visited, you have a hard time getting a smile from them. There is one that made us smile and that is Baby at the bar in the lobby, make sure you go see her.

The pool was very clean and nice but we mostly went swimming in the ocean off the pier, really nice water and plenty of fishes.

The Decameron’s have a beach called Rocky Cay, it was about 10 minute from the Hotel and the taxi ride cost us $12,000.00 going and same for coming back. Be sure to arrive early to get a chair and to eat there you have to reserve the day before at the Hotel.

The shopping was good for some things like Emeralds and perfume but for names brands it was quite expensive, we bought Emeralds and it was quite worth it  but be sure what you buy is genuine with certificate.

We didn`t make it to the other Decameron`s, we were told by other tourists that the Aquarium is the best resort on the Island and from what we saw it was.

All this to say, we do recommend this resort and we will be going back…..this is a true paradise

Thanks Decameron Aquarium for making our trip memorable.

Room Tip: Please avoid block 6 if you can, very loud at night due to the shows
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Pat-Chantal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berkeley, California
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed February 12, 2013

Flew there by TACA airlines' chartered plane via San Jose, Costa Rica. Saw mostly well healed Colombians vacationing there on weekends. I believe there are five Hotel Decameron on this small seahorse shaped coral bed island situated in the middle of Caribbean Sea. It and another small neighboring island happen to belong to the country of Colombia. It is a rather safe place to visit. Guarded by Colombian navy and police. Locals are mostly of African descent from the slave trading days. No immigration is allowed unless you are marrying one of the locals. Once you have paid your stay there, they place a plastic wrist band on you and assign a room to you. Request room on the first floor, with the ocean view if you can. There are several guest room round buildings on premise. Many dinning rooms, buffet dinning rooms, bars, disco club, entertainment stage near the swimming pool, a long pier for boating, water sports, dancing area etc. The view from our room looking directly to the pier, a round dinning restaurant and the disco club was great. Cake shaped room with floor to ceiling windows and door to the deck. Beds are comfortable, good A/C control, bathroom is rather small with shower. There is a locking safe in the closet, 2 large bottles of drinking water and a tube T.V. with only Hispanic channels. I was bitten by mosquito in the evenings while we were out watching the shows. So do apply and bring your mosquito repellent. There are many restaurants to choose from, some you need to make advanced reservations due to the limited seating space. One can also travel to the other Hotel Decameron on the island to have meals and drinks etc. They all belong to the same group of investors and operators in Colombia. We had booked scuba diving boat trip from the locals and a tour of the island bus trip, which includes a visit to a botanical garden, a colonial home with dance performance by the locals, a stop by the beach with blow hole etc. There are some brand name stores and many jewelry stores in the new downtown area, next to a rather large public beach. The best evening performance by South American Las Vegas style dancers was wonderful but only on Saturdays when they are packed with Colombian visitors.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the ground floor with ocean view if possible. There are many round buildings with...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank LiveItWell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed February 5, 2013

Very nice hotel, comfortable and very well located. Food is Ok and service is very good. Diving office there is also very serviceable with tourists.
Just outside the door, Betty does perfectly crafted braids. She is very nice with a lot of patience.

Room Tip: Far from the pool if you wanna rest or read at night..There are shows everynight at the pool area ti...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank PaulaDogliolo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grantham, UK
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed January 12, 2013

We stayed at the Aquarium for a week over Christmas as part of tour of Colombia and had a wonderful holiday. The hotel provides a good 3-star all-inclusive service. The infrastructure generally needs a makeover as it's all a bit tired. The rooms are very comfortable and standard rooms are spacious and well-equipped with LCD TV's and balconies.

The all-inclusive food and drink service is reasonable - the main buffet restaurants (there are two) serve the same, predictable buffet fare. The A La Carte restaurant bookings open at 8am but to get a table, we found you need to join the queue by 7.30am - and even that won't guarantee you one of the scarce restaurant tables. Those restaurants, though, are very good.

Staff vary. Our arrival at reception was greeted by an off-hand "Check-in is not here - it's over the other side". This was a brusque reference to the check-in facility provided in an out-building which required directions from a further staff member to find. How difficult would it be to provide a warm welcome: "Delighted that you've arrived safely, we're going to make your stay with us very special and we have made a special arrangement to hasten your check-in - would you please make your way across the foyer and out the door in the corner to the third door on the left along, where my colleagues will be delighted to complete your check-in"? Some further staff training needed here.

On the other hand, there are some great professionals on the team. Leonardo and Waldo create a fantastic bar experience while Jefferson and Martin are very warm, welcoming and efficient in the main restaurant.

I suffered a minor ailment during our stay - Decameron provide an on-site nurse in a small medical centre who was absolutely fantastic. She directed me to a local pharmacy for some supplies and provided a wonderful ear-flushing service on-site the following morning. First class.

And the major flaw? Decameron have lost track of changing customer needs. There is clear evidence of several regimes of cost-cutting, mostly at the expense of customer convenience. While almost every other hotel in the country provides a combination security box in the room, Decameron provide a security warning - and then charge $4/day for the supply of a keylock to fit an old lock-box.

Our greatest frustration involved the provision of wi-fi. My partner and I arrived with two laptops, an iPad and two iPhones. I run a business at home and like to keep these devices connected. However Decameron charge from $4 per hour per device to provide wi-fi connectivity, only available in the lobby and not anywhere else. The cost of staying connected - somewhere between US$1,000 and $2,000 for a week! The cost of providing the extra connectivity I wanted - is zero. Absolutely outrageous and unforgiveable - this service is 5 years out of date, should be extended to the whole hotel and provided free - just like water in the bathrooms or the signal to the televisons. Decameron have failed to realise that their duty of care to customers now includes allowing them to stay connected and not abusing that position. They misunderstand the meaning of hospitality - or else have decided they're not in that business but have remained in 1970's 'lodging' and feel free to disconnect and rip-off their customers.

Our overall experience was positive and we enjoyed the pool and water-sports facilities. When Decameron bring themselves up-to-date with their customers' 21st century needs, the Aquarium will be even better.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank JCGB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
77 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed January 11, 2013

Re posting this as it was my favorite place.

MY WEEK AT SAN ANDREAS ISLAND Dec 2005
Spending a week at San Andreas is Heaven. The hotel I stayed at is awesome, and beautifully landscaped. The hotel Decameron Aquarium is partially situated on water by pods. They own 5 hotels so you can stay at 1 play at 5.The Aquarium is the only one that doesn’t have a beach, but you can take a free shuttle bus to any of the 5 hotel resorts, .at the Aquarium they have a pool bar, snack bar, 24 hour bar, 4 restaurants, a patio a disco tech, a water sports area. You can snorkel, kayak, jets ski, kite ski. Scuba dive and surf sail. If you’re not into sports you can have a drink at the bar and go swimming in the pool or work on your tan while listening to Colombian music( mostly salsa, merenge and reggae) The disco is above the 24 hour bar.

The service is great. The staff are friendly and hospitable. I ate at 4 different restaurants (sea food, steak house, Italian and international buffet) just at the Aquarium alone. The food and drinks are great Sometimes I drank Pina Coladas and sometimes Sexo Calente (gin + orange juice + grenadine + ice). Depending on the bartender the drinks can be pretty strong. One time I had only 2 and a half drinks and had to lie down after I felt my head spinning. LOL The amazing thing is I didn’t get a hangover the next morning.

The island is small so you can travel around the island in 2 hours. The white sand, coral rock, clear water, beautiful trees and wild life, are a feast for the eyes. At one part of the island, there’s a big hole in the ground that extents to the ocean, or so it seems. The islanders call it a Blow Hole because when the tide is strong water from the ocean will blow or gush strait up to the sky. I also went to see the cave. You can step into the cave up to a certain point then see the water at the bottom.

San Andreas has 3 very small islands within 10 minute speed boat ride distance. 2 of the Islands are so close together you can walk from one to the other in up 4 and a half feet of ocean. One of the islands is so small it just fits a restaurant and a bit of beachfront property on it. The restaurant made awesome red snapper lunch including a drink served in a coconut shell. On the other side of the restaurant is very shallow part of water called a Reef. (I think) I sat in the so called Reef part and felt the low tides coming to me at both ends slapping me in the face. LOL



I took a cab to the Hill part of the Island, which is high enough you can see half of San Andreas Island. What a view! The average rainfall while I was there was only 2 minutes. You can see one quite small rain cloud pass you by. At the Aquarium I seen lots of different birds fish lizards and crayfish or crabs.

Shopping is cheap in San Andreas but so is the average income of an islander. Tourism is the main source of income there. One US dollar is 2000 pesos, that’s one beer. LOL

I really had a great time at San Andreas and I would recommend going there for vacation.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Josie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Medellin, Colombia
Level 5 Contributor
38 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed November 12, 2012

We just came back from San Andres a couple of days ago.
The hotel was sold to us as a 5 star-hotel but it is definitely not. Still we had a terrific time because the ocean is amazing and there are many things to do.
The rooms are nice and clean and the staff were very friendly.
As most all-inclusive hotels the quality of the food and cocktails was average.
They do put effort on offering you variety at the buffet but don't expect anything amazing.
Out of the 5 Decameron hotels in San Andres, this is definitely the most complete having swimming pools and ocean (but not beach), offering water sports (kayak, wind surf, kite surf, snorkeling) and being located right in the heart of the island (close to the duty free shops and the main San Andres beach).

We do have our complains though as one of their selling strategies is to promote that you will have access to all their hotels and will have the opportunity to dine at their "A la carte" restaurants but is not that simple.
To book in one of these "A la carte" restaurants is a real mission. They only allow you to book on the same day and the places are limited, so generally by 8.30 is all booked up (bookings open at 8). Not fun.
Also, when we finally managed to book dinner at "Los Delfines" restaurant, it was a horrible experience.
One of the waitresses was extremely rude, the food tasted old and despite being empty the service was terrible. We couldn't make it beyond the starter and ran away from there.

They got another negative mark as we got back to our hotel and wanted to complaint with one of the managers but we waited around 10 minutes and the manager didn't show up. We gave up.

San Andres was a cool experience. Swimming with stingrays and snorkeling at the coral reef are a must!

Room Tip: Definitely ask for a room with sea view (if you ask nicely the girls will sort it out for you).
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank MarceSanchez16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Decameron Aquarium

Property: Decameron Aquarium
Address: Avenida Colombia 1-19, San Andres Island, Colombia
Location: Colombia > San Andres and Providencia Department > San Andres Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in San Andres Island
#2 Spa Hotel in San Andres Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Decameron Aquarium 3.5*
Number of rooms: 297
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In the midst of an Antillean environment, this resort has an exceptional architecture with circular towers overlooking the sea at ‘Punta Hansa’ – at the northern end of the Island of San Andres – which allow for wonderful panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea. These buildings are alongside a long wooden dock that leads to a natural pool in the sea and with an aquatic platform ideal for snorkeling and other water sports. The Decameron Aquarium is located approximately 10 minutes from the airport and is a well sought out location for tourists since the longest and most beautiful beach of the island is located only a few blocks away, surrounded by a boardwalk, parallel to a commercial area with restaurants, discos and the most exclusive bars. You will enjoy an enchanting paradise that can be explored completely on foot and where a cultural mixture of English, Spanish, Pirates and Corsairs can be explored. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Royal Decameron Aquarium Hotel San Andres Island

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