Islas del Rosario, aka Slice of Caribbean Heaven

Posted on 25/06/2012

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So, it’s been a while since I’ve updated. I apologize. Life has become a little hectic lately–projects at work have kept me pretty busy during the week and I’ve been doing a one-on-one class through el Instituto on Saturdays unti midday.

Anyway, a few weeks ago Ele and I decided to take a long weekend and escape to las Islas del Rosario (the Rosary Islands). Las Islas del Rosario are part of an archipelago compose of around 48 small islands. All of the islands are part of a Colombian national park called Parque Nacional Natural Corales del Rosario y San Bernardo.  You can find some more information about the park (in English) on this website: http://www.colombia.travel/en/international-tourist/sightseeing-what-to-do/colombia-adventure-extreme-sports/diving/diving-on-the-caribbean-coast/cartagena-de-indias-and-islas-del-rosario .The islands are located about 1 hour boat’s ride from Cartagena, Colombia. They have become a huge tourist destination over the past few years and transportation to and from the islands has become easy to organize.

Our first view of the beach from the hotel

Most of the accomodation on the islands is pretty expensive. There are not a lot of hotels on the islands (as they are national parks), but the ones that are there are mainly resort style hotels. Anyway, we really lucked out and found a Groupon for an amazing hotel (Hotel Isla del Encanto) located on one of the islands called la Isla del Encanto (the Island of Enchantment). What a steal! The hotel turned out to be amazingly small (maximum capacity around 10 people), but in a super location with super service. During the day, lots of tourists come to the islands from Cartagena on small boats and spend the day basking in the Caribbean sun and swimming in the crystaline waters of the islands. This makes the beaches somewhat crowded from 10:30am-3pm, but come 3pm, the beaches belong solely to the guests staying at the Hotel Isla del Encanto. Lucky for us, we went in “low season,” and even with the tourists from Cartagena the beaches were fairly empty.

entrance to the room quarters

sign on the beach

We stayed on la Isla del Encanto from Saturday-Monday, arriving to the islands around 10:30am on Saturday (requiring a 5:45am departure from Barranquilla), and we got back to Barranquilla around 7pm on Monday evening. Our experience during those three days was incredible.

Our first day there, the water was gorgeous–stereotypical Caribbean postcard colors. After some terrible sunburn experiences here in Barranquilla, we made sure to lather up with sunscreen and enjoyed the entire day on the beach, swimming and tanning. We also walked the shoreline and found a variety of corals that had washed up on the beach. The islands are famous for their snorkeling, where you can see a plethora of corals and tropical fish. We didn’t pertake in snorkeling this time–we decided to spend our days in 100% relaxation mode.

where we spent most of our day

sign leading to the beach

Our second day on the island, the water was not as crystalline and it rained a bit in the afternoon. Even so, we enjoyed the beach, did some walking and shell hunting, found some land hermit crabs hanging around our room, and got to see an amazing full moon and whole host of toads that night.

Ele sitting on the pier in the full moon

one of the many toads that came out nightly

Our third and last day on the island, the water was once again spectacular. To take advantage of our last day, we woke up early and were on the beach by about 9am (our boat left at 3:15pm to take us back to Cartagena). After sun bathing of a while, we went walking and found a beautiful starfish on the edge of the water as well as a live sea urchin and a collection of already dead sea urchins (whose skeletons now decorate our apartment). If you know me, you know I LOVE finding creatures, all sorts. So, finding the starfish, sea urchins, land hermit crabs, corals, etc… was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me 🙂

Ele with the starfish

my pile of corals

the live sea urchin I found

one of the land hermit crabs we found

another land hermit crab

Overall, our weekend escape was fantastic! I would definitely do it again, and would take advantage of the snorkeling activities the second go around. I would also highly recommend a stay on the islands to anyone visiting the Colombian Caribbean coast. The Caribbean coast is so rich in beautiful beaches, hidden escapes, and amazing flora and fauna. I am so blessed to be living in such an incredible place with so many astounding things to see and experience. Cheers to life on the Caribbean coast!

the view of I look forward to seeing again soon!

Until next time…

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Posted in: Colombia, Travels