The Best Beach Club in the Rosario Islands for Kids: Isla Del Encanto
We have found that Isla del Encanto, located on the very tip of the peninsula of Barú, is likely the most kid-friendly beach club in the area of the Rosario Islands. We recommend it to families because it is such a large establishment and has plenty of beach front and pools to hang out in. Plus, the resort is very organized and the staff are professional.
Lounge on the Private Beach
Isla del Encanto has its own private beach, which means there are no vendors approaching you on the beach or in the water. Instead, there are tables where a very few vendors are displaying their wares, including jewelry and hats. The beach is lined with lounges and beach beds, both right on the beach and some are tucked under a shade of trees. Plus, there is wait staff ready to fulfill your every drink and snack need. If you are an overnight guest, there is even a special designated area for you to sit that is even more private.
Dip in the Pools
The resort has multiple pools of varying depths to enjoy, which is unique to many of the other beach clubs on the islands who typically only have one pool, or maybe even none at all. This may be one of the best features of this resort. They have sprawling pool areas lined with beach lounges and even some beach beds. One of the pools has large water sprayers that kept my kids busy while they redirected the spray to soak each other. They even have a toddler pool with various climbing features, but the equipment has seen better days, so it’s best to just enjoy the other pools. Also, be aware that all of the pools are saltwater which can sting your eyes initially, but it keeps them from turning red like from chlorine pools.
Take an Excursion if You are Staying Overnight
Isla del Encanto offers many excursions that you can experience while at their resort, including snorkeling, diving, or a trip to the aquarium in the middle of the Rosario Islands. These excursions cost extra and are paid for at the resort on the day of the visit. If you are visiting the club for only the day, I do not recommend going on an excursion. The excursions just take up such a large part of your day. You tend to arrive at the club at 10am, the excursions start at approximately 11am, you return from your excursion at about 12:30pm, then you are fed lunch and have to be back on the boat by 3pm to return to Cartagena. Going on an excursion leaves only a small part of the day to enjoy the rest of the benefits of the club. But, if you are staying for more than one day, the aquarium is pretty cool, and the snorkeling trip is good too. We don’t dive, so I cannot provide comment on that.
The resort has a spa/massage area, which my friends who visited very much recommended. A small store that sells various beach paraphernalia plus ice cream treats can be found in the area of the beach too. There are also kayaks you can borrow, a ping pong table, playground, and a volleyball court.
Eat Like a Colombian
Your day pass includes a buffet-style lunch with all the Colombian fixings including baked chicken, fried fish, coconut rice, salad, tropical fruit, and a juice, water, or soda. Seating for lunch is under a large palapa with picnic tables. If you are staying overnight, there is a special area for you with a private dining experience. Plus, the overnight stay includes lunch and dinner the first day and then breakfast and lunch the second day.
We have not stayed overnight, but recently our friends from out of town stayed the night with a toddler and said the accommodations were great. The rooms are beautiful and spacious and there is even hot water in the showers (which is very unusual for beach clubs on the Rosario Islands).
Overall, Isla del Encanto just has it all figured out. They have thought of, and attend to, your every need and those of your children too. If you are looking to spend the day, or even the night, in Barú or the Rosario Islands, especially with your kids, then this is the place to go.
Location: The very tip of the peninsula of Barú near the Rosario Islands. The resort is accessed by their own private boats that leaves the main dock in Cartagena every morning.
Cost: A day pass costs $172mil COP per adult (the adult price applies to kids over the age of 10 years). Kids aged 1 to 3 years cost $61mil COP (plus the cost of lunch, if they eat) and kids aged 4 to 10 years cost $99mil COP and this cost includes lunch. Plus, Cartagena imposes a port tax of $16.5mil COP per person. This tax can either be paid when you purchase your tickets to the resort, or you can pay it at the port when you arrive. Excursion costs are: aquarium ($30mil COP), snorkeling ($45mil COP), and scuba diving ($150mil COP). (To convert the mil COP to US Dollars, simply divide the number I provide by 3 and it is a good approximation.) I do not know the current cost to stay overnight, however, I think it is actually a better deal because the overnight cost includes four meals instead of two and those meals are at a special private dining area, you have access to a special designated area on the beach for overnight guests, and you get to spend from 9am the first day to 3pm the second day at the resort.
Dock: The boat for Isla del Encanto picks you up from the Muelle de la Bodeguita, which is the main dock in Cartagena. When you arrive at the port, you show your ticket for Isla del Encanto, enter the turnstiles at the port, check in at the Isla del Encanto podium, and wait in white plastic chairs for your boat. The resort will also pick you up from your hotel in a large tour bus and deliver you to the dock.
Hours: You are to arrive at the port by 8:00-8:15am. The boats leave the port no later than 9:00-9:15am. They actually will start sending boats to the resort once they have enough people to fill a boat. At the end of the day, the boats leave the resort at promptly 3pm to return to the dock in Cartagena.
Tour guide: On the boat you have a designated tour guide who speaks English and provides a ton of safety and other information both before you leave and once you arrive at the resort. Plus, they can provide a bit of history if they choose to stop near one of the forts on the way to the resort. The guide also provides more information once you enter the resort, and they are your general source of information if you have any questions all day.
Boat ride: Isla del Encanto has their own boats. The boats are large with individual seats and it results in one of the smoothest boat rides we’ve had yet in Cartagena. The ride to the resort from the dock is about an hour. During your ride be sure to keep an eye out for flying fish that like to swim along the boats.
Bonus: Many of the staff speak English, so it is a great place to send guests or go yourself if you speak limited Spanish.
Bring: Towels if you are going on a day pass. Overnight guests receive beach towels.
Contact: Isla del Encanto has an office in the Bocagrande area of Cartagena, right on the main street of San Martin (Carrera 2). Going to their office is likely the best way to pay, especially for a day pass. Overnight accommodations are also able to be made on booking.com. It is also possible that some hotels in town have relationships with the resort, so you may be able to pay through your hotel too, but I do not know for sure. The resort also has a website, and active Instagram and Facebook pages. Our friends attempted to contact the resort to book their stay through the website, but never heard back from the hotel after an initial contact. So, we reserved and paid for their stay at the downtown location instead.
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