Las Islas Hotel, a destination to enjoy in Colombia
One of the most pleasant and ecological experiences in the Caribbean stands forty-five minutes away from Cartagena.
The day starts in a slightly dark room. Outside, the morning emerges brightly. Facing the sea, a bungalow fosters a family of three. The blinds are down and the AC is mildly on. From the balcony, the emerald blue of the Caribbean awaits. The facilities of Las Islas Hotel, with an infrastructure built-in 28 hectares of mangrove forest, has fifty-five cabins –– 33 tree houses, and 22 sea-level bungalows––, three restaurants, restrooms, and bars. To make it happen, no three was touched, and little roads set on white rock were built to connect every building. If a few minutes, the family of three will walk those thin veins of Las Islas to visit the beach before it is too hot.
Inaugurated in 2018, Las Islas is currently a hotel that is not only sophisticated and sustainable. It is also one of the two hotels in Colombia that are represented by Leading Hotels of the World Organization. It has space to host 120 guests, who barely meet with each other. Las Islas is there to be explored widely. Within its forest live more than one hundred species of birds and tens of terrestrial animals. Ocelots, boas, and white-head titi monkeys are endemic on the island. In that sense, the hotel has a conservation program to repopulate the island with the white-head titis. They also have coral nurseries two hundred meters away from the beach of bar Choco. The same place where the family of three is initiating the daughter, a baby, to the joy of the sea. Before 9 AM, the ocean is quiet and the mosquitos are leaving, repelled by the early heat.
After the splash, we now see the baby girl sitting on her mother’s lap, staring at her fingers. Mom points at the fruits on her plate: bananas, papaya, pineapple, watermelon. In the meantime, Dad serves himself from the buffet: arepa de huevo, carimañola filled with cheese, arepas. They are having breakfast at the Tia Coco restaurant, a particular venue that can be reached through the little white-rock path, or by water. It is connected to the beach through a small pier where guests can access swimming, paddling, or kayaking.
Las Islas was created by Jean Claude Bessudo, a renowned Colombian-French businessman who is also president of the Aviatur Group. During the last few decades, Bessudo has worked to create a symbiotic relationship between tourism and the environment in Colombia. He is behind previous projects such as the Eco-Habs of the Tayrona Park, and the floating-cabins of the Amazonas. On this occasion, the work in progress of Las Islas includes the whole population of Barú. 85% of the staff is shaped by natives, and the health center is open for anyone from the three towns ––Ararca, Santana, and Baru–– that stands on the island.
If the family of three would have come in the time when they were two, they would have stayed at the floating deck, near the beach of the Choco Bar. They would have had a couple of bears, letting themselves be as the pallet of blue opens up to them on the horizon. On the contrary, they have a three-month human in the team, and they have a great alternative to stay together.
After breakfast, they visit the Niña Daniela Spa, where a professional team receives them with open arms and freshwater. It is open from 9 AM to 11 PM, and have a thalassotherapy pool hidden under the branches of mangrove, other threes, and bougainvillea. The parents take turns for the massage –– one by the beach, the other one at one of the massage rooms of the spa––, while the other stays out enjoying the relaxing sensation of the pool while baby takes a nap. The spa is also open to those interested in spending the day at Las Islas.
If you are looking for an outdoor activity to get in contact with the context of the island, there are a few options to consider. There is, for example, a tour through the interior mangrove-channels of Baru. It is a good chance to observe the birds, shellfish, and reptiles living within this Caribbean territory. The trip ends at downtown Baru, where you can have lunch at one of the local dining halls, and visit the cultural center to enjoy the plastic and musical art of baruleros. The gift shop of Las Islas sells some of the pieces create by native craftswomen.
At the end of the afternoon, after a shower and a nap, the family of three goes to Las Islas Bar. There is a terrace with a 360 view of the island, and the Rosario Island Archipelago. Soon, the pink light of dusk bathes their faces and sets the mood for dinner. Respectively, they move downstairs to the stunning structure of the main dining hall. A restaurant surrounds by orchids and warm illumination that sets the night. Peruvian chef, Miguel Dapelo, directs Las Guacas. A culinary delicacy with a World Luxury Restaurant Award.
Hotel Las Islas is a special combination of erudition, technology, and environmental conscience. From the wood architectural shapes, passing by the intercommunication system connecting every inch of the hotel, to the set of carefully designed services, Las Islas guarantees the realization of all the senses. The facilities can be reached by water, land, or air (the hotel has a heliport). And it is the perfect destination in Colombia for this family of three who is still getting used to each other. But also to all those who are looking for rest, contemplation, and a Caribbean paradise sheltered by silence and the shade of the white mangrove.