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Viagem muito boa, guia experiente, almoço excelente e o local em questão (Hotel Isla del Sol) muito bom. Tivemos problemas para embarcar, quase perdemos a reserva por informações desencontradas. Liguei do hotel no dia anterior para confirmar o traslado. A atendente informou que não teria o transporte pois o meu hotel se localizava no centro histórico e não em Bocagrande. Solicitou que procurássemos o Sr. Steve no Porto. Caminhamos por conta até o local, procuramos informações com vários funcionários, apresentamos o Voucher e ninguém sabia informar nada a respeito. Por fim, após quase duas horas, conseguimos contatar o Sr Steve o qual nos informou que desconhecia a reserva, pois a empresa Colômbia Travel, na qual trabalhava era outra e não a informada no voucher. Desistimos e ao tentar reaver a taxa portuária já paga, um dos funcionários nos informou sobre alguns tours privados existentes. Retornamos ao Porto e por fim, em cima da hora, localizamos a reserva. Foi cansativo e desanimador. Contratamos as excursões previamente para não passar por isso, infelizmente, não foi o que esperávamos. Na minha opinião, conforme experiências com outras empresas em viagens realizadas, após confirmadas as reservas, aguardamos no hotel as excursões, sem necessidade de entrar em contato no local para confirmar. Obrigado.
Reginaldo Cyrne Novaes
My expectation was that we were going to be on a decent sized beach. In actuality we were taken to a small resort where they beach area was roped off and extremely small. Some of the people on our tour did not have even get chairs to sit on. I feel sorry for the guests that were staying in this small resort as we took up their entire beach area. I was very disappointed when we arrived at the destination. The only plus was the boat ride.
You must visit the Rosario Islands while in Cartagena because they are beautiful.
However, on this tour we did not get picked up at our hotel as promised. The driver came to get us 15 minutes ahead of schedule, but we were eating breakfast. He promised to wait, but left. We could not get a straight answer about where he had gone. If the amazing staff at our hotel, the Sofitel Santa Clara highly recommend did not arrange for a taxi to take us to the correct port, we would have missed the boat! literally!! Given that we paid for four tickets over 400 US we were not happy about the situation. Also, we were not given a complimentary drink upon arrival at Isla del Sol and they didn't have enough floating noodles for visitors.
This tour was amazing, our guide was very experienced. Overall the trip was awesome. Tips for those who read this: if you want to order lobster make sure you tell the guide because we forgot and missed the chance of eating lobster. Snorkeling is totally recomended Instead of the dolphin show.
We were picked up at our hotel and dropped off at the port. There is a fee there that has to be paid in cash. To get to the islands you travel on a speed boat that holds 20-40 people and cruise through the harbour and out into the Caribbean. If you get seasick, this is NOT the trip for you as the boat leaps the waves and smacks down on the other side. If you love boats, the trip is exhilarating and lasts about an hour. You do get to go by some massive ships as Cartegena is a busy port. The island itself is beautiful and the water a gorgeous turquoise. The group is dropped off on the wharf encompassing a small beach and the property behind it. The guide goes over the schedule for the day then you are free to grab a lounger, go into the water off the beach area or go down a ladder into the water off the wharf on the outside of the enclosed area. Water shoes are recommended as the beach is stoney with vegetation in the water. The water itself is beautiful warm and clear.
While there a few trips are offered to the local aquarium, to go snorkeling or to go scuba diving, we didn't go on any of them. All trips are cash only. You could also have a more professional massage there.
There is also a nice clean salt-water pool to swim in. Because this is an island, fresh water is only rain water so there are no showers to rinse the salty water off. Lunch was a delicious grilled fish, salad, two types of rice, yucca fries and tasty home made coconut candy. They offer an assortment of alcoholic beverages, the only thing you can purchase with a credit card if you exceed 30,000 COP which isn't hard as the drinks are expensive.
The trip back to port took a different route, going along a man-made river past small houses in the middle of nowhere and brought you into the harbour from a different angle. The tour people were fantastic as usual: friendly, enthusiastic and could answer any questions. They also ensured we got back on the right vehicle to be driven back to our hotel. We enjoyed the tour though we thought the beach limited and added extras expensive.
The day was nice. But, the photo for the experience is extremely misleading. You'll see no beach like that. And that's all I was looking for.
We were actually booked with a company called Dia Del Sol which would have been nice to know in our confirmation also that we needed cash for most of the activities and to bring your own towels. We did bring a towel from our hotel to be safe, but not fun hauling around wet towels.
Transport - Good.
We were picked up at 8am in a nice car with AC, but then waited on the dock for over an hour. I also wish we were just told the port number, because it was actually walking distance to our hotel. There's a dock and national park tax that you pay in cash 16,500 peso i think about 6USD per person, and you'll need your passport number before you board the boat.
Boat: Fantasia Caliente
The speed boat was nice. We left a little after 9am. You'll share the trip with about 50 other people a little cramped but not too bad. It has some sun coverage. The trip to the island and back are about an hour each way. Water and beer are extra. Overall, pretty relaxing. The water is choppier in the afternoon on the way back - but it made it more fun. The crew was 3 people captain up top steering the boat, engineering in the back with the motor and the guide who was bilingual.
The resort area: Meh, kinda run down.
You'll dock at a little eco resort area with a mini beach, salt-water pool, bar drinks are extra, hammocks plenty of lounge chairs, bathrooms, and a few vendors selling jewelry, etc. We did not receive a complementary welcome cocktail as stated in our confirmation, just fruit. The fruit pineapple, watermelon and guava was all very good though.
The beach was really the biggest disappointment. It's basically dug into the dock area with no tide- probably ok for children though. The sand is not the best, a bit stoney in the shallow areas. I really wanted to swim in the surf...but there was none. We swam outside the docking area for a bit, which was nice. Plenty of pool noodles to float with.
For more money, you can purchase scuba diving if you have a license, snorkeling, a walking tour of that particular island, a massage, or a 45 min trip to the open air aquarium on a nearby island in the archipelago.
We did the aquarium about 10USD per adult... which was pretty sad. The main area is netted off sections of dolphins, turtles, some smaller sharks and fish. It didn't seem roomy enough for the larger marine life and they were still doing dolphin tricks.
Lunch was great.
It was at 1pm in the main resort area. You could also buy lobster for an additional 30USD cash only - wasn't as tasty as I hoped, just ok. The fried fish and coconut brown rice were super good. They also had soda, water, fried plantains, salad, fired yuca, etc.
We left at 3pm with a 15 minute warning to get ready, collect our things and close tabs. The tour guide was a little grumpy at a few stragglers ..who were actually ready to go, and just waiting to be told to get on the boat.
The day went by fast. It was nice, but not great.
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