If you're going to visit the Rosario Islands from Cartagena, I highly recommend the boat that will take you to the Hotel San Pedro de Majagua. We organized our day trip through GemaTours (they had a table at the PanAmerican Ophthalmology Meeting we were attending and came highly recommended by Colombian Ophthalmologists we knew and met). The boat was very nice, seated about 20 people. It was professionally operated and got us to the island in less than one hour. The boat had a nice sound system which played Colombian Lounge music. There were even some recordings that were played when we came upon historic sites (in Spanish, English, and French). The beaches were private and beautiful (clear water with blue views a bit further from the shore).
There were a few vendors, but after chatting with them for a few minutes, I wanted to buy something from them. At first I thought the beach would be better without vendors, but after returning home from my trip, I realized that I really liked the things I bought and wish I had purchased a few extra things (the people are genuine and down-to-earth).
This place would be perfect for couples or honeymooners. We did not spend the night, but after spending the day at the resort, we would highly recommend it. We did get to see a room's inside--stunning. They describe it as eco-luxury and I would agree with that description. One night would probably be enough on the island, but if you really want a zen like environment for relaxation, then you might want to stay longer. We didn't take the complimentary tour of the islands offered by the hotel or go scuba diving, but I'm sure that adding those activities would make a longer stay worthwhile. For what we wanted, one day on the island was fine.
We did have lunch at the resort as a part of our day trip (an excellent value). A doc we met at the meeting went on and on about the pargo rojo. He said that everytime he went to a restaurant and ordered pargo rojo (fried red fish, head intact), he compared compared it to the pargo rojo on Rosario Island, his personal gold standard for pargo rojo. I agree with him, the food was delicious. I would never have known I was eating "fried" fish, it was light and tasty.
At first we debated whether we should use up a large block of our time to go to the Rosario Islands after reading some reviews, but after going, this is a "can't miss" part of a trip to Cartagena...my recommendation would be to spend the few extra pesos to take this fast boat. I would recommend avoid taking a slow, overcrowded boat that drops you on a public beach (I think that is the reason some people complained about their trip to the Rosario Islands).
This was definitely one of the most memorable parts of our vacation. The pictures we took could be published in any travel magazine or used on your computer's desktop as a screensaver (I'll post a few). My wife, who is Colombian, could not stop telling all of her friends about the resort. Don't forget your camera.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The hotel is located in the Rosario Islands. Only 45minutes from Cartagena de Indias (transfers on arrival and departure to and from Cartagena are provided by the hotel through hotel motor boat once a day and on pre-schedule time. Also you could rent a private boat or yatch for this service), the island's centennial trees, internal lagoons and Colombia's biggest reef system make this the ideal destination for an exciting yet relaxing vacation. All rooms are equipped with every comfort needed for a pleasant stay. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- San Pedro De Majagua Hotel