Royal Decameron Aquarium
Travel Blogs from San Andres Island
Si es que se puede pensar en Reggae fuera de Jamaica, eso es San Andrés...playa, tranquilidad, relajo, mar azul, mantarrayas, sol, etc...un paraíso...aunque es algo turbulento la llegada..te revisan mucho (en busca de droga me imagino).
Nuestra aventura partió cuando en el counter de Avianca, cuando enviaron mi mochila por equivocación...a …
23rd- we had heard about this really small island Rocky Cay that was about 100 meters from the shore and only 20 meters wide, it also happened to have a ship wreck right nearby and to top things off was there was a sand bar that stretch from the shore to the island to make for an easy stroll out. We inspected the map and noticed it wasn't too far from our hostel, so we decided to walk...it wasn't long after that we regretted this decision as it ...
... The boat stopped about 20 meters from the island, we snorkelled to the island and walked across it, which was about 20 meters wide, to the other side where the boat picked us up. We then headed into a mangrove cove where we saw a small manta ray fly out of the water. Last stop was the island called Acuario where it was sting ray feeding time. We jumped out of the boat into chest deep water where the sting rays and other fish were swimming around our feet. Our guide ...
... become a part of Panama, a country whose economy was in large part controlled by and forced to contribute many of its earnings the US. They rejected the proposal once, and then again even after being visited by a US warship a year later. Along with Cartagena, San Andres used to be a center of pirate activity. Some believe that a lot of pirate bounty is still hidden in an underwater cave near the island.
Today, San Andres is greatly influenced by Afro-Caribbean culture, because ...
... to spy on tropical fish, visit to johnny cay island- a mini san andres- and on our final day a bicycle trip around the island. Its all flat and outside of san andres town there was almost no traffic so this was a very pleasant ride right along the coast. Stopped at road side shacks for beer, coconut, jumpoing into the sea, wading out to a shipwreck carrying our bags on our heads. all the usuals. The only improvement that might ...
How has this resort rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Royal Decameron Aquarium San Andres Island
Value for money
My wife and I stayed at the Royal Decameron Aquarium from Nov 3rd to the 10th 2005. For those of you looking for sunshine do not go in November it is the middle of the rainy season, 80 % of the day is cloudy, but the sun is so strong it will still burn you, and when it rains, it rains, three mornings that week we woke up to find our room flooded. The hotel is rated 4 stars, the rooms in the Torres as there called, or towers, are in a sad state, our room was in Torres 6 and on the 5th day about 60 square feet of the outside ceiling fell off, another thing wrong with the rooms is that the front doors do not fit very good, consequently you hear all the noise outside, also there is a connecting door between rooms and they do not fit very good as well, so you can hear a lot of what goes on in that room. But with what the holiday cost, it will be a long time before repairs can be done. When you compare cost it is a 4 star, but the rooms are 2 star. The Barracuda restaurant has to be rated 5 stars for breakfast, 2 mornings we even got bacon and you can get eggs cooked to order. Lunch and dinner is a 4 star, there is always something to eat no matter what your tastes are. The Braja or seafood restaurant is a 3 and a half star. There is also an Italian restaurant we are not into pasta's but people who went there said it was very good, no matter which restaurant you ate in the food was always hot and there was plenty of it. As for alcohol it was not just local brands you could get international drinks, unfortunately they still serve American Red Dog beer, why? I don't know, the local Columbian beer is Aguila and it is excellent.
The staff were fantastic, they where very good and friendly, the bartenders were fast especially Eder at the pool bar, and the maids kept the complex and the rooms clean, the staff have to get a 6 rating. All in all for the price we paid $2200.00 Canadian for the both of us and that included Club Class with Air Transat there are no real complaints and we would go again, in fact we are going to The Marazul on the 26 January 2006 for 2 weeks a report will follow. Also let it be known that the customs area of San Andre's airport is now air-conditioned.
Not a 4 star!!
My bad review is more based on failed expectations, rather than a truly horrible place.
The hotel claims to be a 4 star hotel, I believe it is more 2 or 3 star than 4!!
I check in expecting a nice, all-inclusive retreat, waiting to soak in a bubble bath and eat scrumptious food at a selection of restaurants (as the website suggested)
Instead I checked in for more than $40 USD over the price I thought I was to pay per night.
I was unable to get into the room, the old keys and door knobs do not agree and the rooms are near impossible to open, upon entering, there was no tub
In fact, the shower had a horrible habit of switching its low-pressure stream from scalding hot to freezing cold water every 2 seconds: back and forth.
The front desk people were not helpful at all, and there were not a selection of restaurants as promised, but one medicore buffet for every meal.
No beach front, just water front: the balconies on all the rooms were amazing and the architecture was pretty neat, but I recommend staying elsewhere on this island!
All you need to know
I am from Waterloo, Ontario Canada. We travel three times per year and this was our first trip to to this Island and this hotel. The Island is beautiful. If you want beautiful sandy beaches and want to snorkel, this is the place to go. If you want night life after nine p.m or want to go where there are alot of single people, this is not the place for you. If you snorkel, I recommed the "Penscina" it's a natural snorkelling spot with hundreds of fish....make sure you take bread with you. DO NOT take money with you or anything you value and leave it on top of the rocks where you climb down the ladder. A group of people were robbed- all of there things were stolen! Don't let this discourage you from going there...just don't leave anything around you don't want taken..it may seem quiet there, but believe me, things go missing. Across the street is the "West View" restaurant. I recommend the fried chicken and fries. They are cooked in coconut oil and absolutely delicious! Now, moving on!!
The resort. don't expect four star service. You will have to ask for towels and you will have to give them twenty dollars U.S. to have phone service. Please, use the distilled water they give you, but don't use the glasses in the room!!!!! the maids do something very very wrong! THEY DO NOT GIVE YOU CLEAN GLASSES IN THE ROOM. THEY JUST RINSE THEM OUT USING TAP WATER AND PUT THEM BESIDE THE ICE BUCKET. I got very sick and still am- I have a parasite. Please take immodium with you as you will be one of the many people who got sick there. There is a drug store downtown across from Qbano that has a generic brand, but bring your own.
There is a reason whey they only allow two adults and one child per room. They give you a double bed and a single bed in the room. don't go by the room picture in the brochures!! Plan on your child's bed to be touching yours- you will feel like your in a dorm- a very small triangular one.
Okay, on the upside, you will love the view if you get one facing the ocean. These rooms have water going all the way around them giving the feeling you are in the ocean. The best rooms are Torre1 rm" 103- 105 and they have an attached door if you need two rooms. you can email them and ask for this room in advance. This is the email address: email@example.com
Bring your own towels. They give you one towel card each, but it's nicer when you go out of the resort. The towels are small and very well used.
The resort is gorgeous. You will love the views and walking across the bridges. don't expect much night life there. There is a nightlly show which is an hour long by the pool each night, but you will find after the first two nights, it becomes a little monotomous. ( didn't spell that right)
Food becomes a little frustrating there. The breakfast buffet is mostly fruit and cereals and some hot dishes. Don't expect bacon, they don't know what it is there. Stick to the omeletes they make fresh there. Not much for kids choice there for any time, so if they are finicky eaters, I hope they like rice and chicken every night.
The lunch and dinner buffets are okay. They do have alot of choices, but the food is bland and won't taste like Canadian food at all. But I have found a gem. It's called " Margherita e Carbonara. Please write that down. it's about five minutes walk outside of the resort. Its Italian only. If you want really good Brushetta and pasta you won't be disappointed. We ended up eating there twice for dinner. You will be disappointed with the Italian restaurant on the resort. If people say they like it, I can understand that it may taste better than the buffet, but it's below what you would get at East side Mario's and my husband and I find even that restaurant not to be what you would call a decent meal. Just remember that you are not there for the food, and you will have a wonderful time.
They do use bottled water on the resort, and they ice cubes are all brought in by bags. They are safe. The pop and beer will not be cold- typical in most islands.
Learn Spanish if you want service there. Only three or four people working there speak english and not that well. The bartender in the main lobby speaks good english and Janet ( hotel manager ) and Karon who works at the front desk. You will find it frustrating to get help there otherwise- they will send you to other people who don't speak well either!! Most of the people staying at the resort are also columbian visitors. We were there during march break and there were about 100 Canadians there- tops. Mostly couples and older people. I met four people who were single and bored there.
It's a very romantic Island- but you have to create your own fun there. It's a small island with a hundred thousand people population with a 26sq kilometre radius, so it's very small with alot of cars and bikes on the road ways. Rent a golf cart for the day- it's a riot! 50 dollars U.S. for a full day..you can drive around the entire Island in a hour. There are alot of gift shops there too...
I would go back to San andres, and I would probably stay at another Decameron hotel, or even the same one,I just don't think I would take my son next time because the rooms are too small as are the food choices for him. On the upside, the water is very clear and very shallow in alot of places so it's fun for kids.
Enjoy San Andres. It's untouched by alot of Tourists and has the most amazing ocean I have ever seen, and I have been to alot of different Islands. If you have questions, and want honest answers, i will gladly tell you things.. you can email me: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jackie)
Have a nice holiday.
Had a great time...even though we got robbed at gun point
We just got back from the Decameron Aquarium...in total we were 2 couples..everyone knew us as Shaggy, Mrs. Shaggy, Pedro and Madaline. The fun crew are great people...they keep the place going. The resort itself is beautiful. The grounds are always kept clean, the food was great...the hotel staff and bartenders couldn't be nicer they treated us like Queens and Kings while we were there. The activity manager his name is Pedro and he will do anything to make your stay a great one. The bartenders Lucila, Jose, and 5-5...they are all wonderful people. The only recomendation I have is watch out for the theives...yes we got stopped on our gulf cart, the guy came out of the side of the road pretending to be fixing his bike with another guy and he came staight for us with a GUN...he pointed it straight at my husband and pulled his necklace and took our cooler bag too...let me tell you we've been in worse places (VENEZUELA...Caracas) and nothing like this never happend...i guess there is always a first time....anyways the locals are great people the thieves are from the mainland Columbia...the island itself is very small....it takes you 2 hours on a gulf cart to go around the entire island and they go real slow too....just don't go to the otherside of the island and be very careful in town too...well if you have any questions you can always email me at email@example.com
Stayed at the Aquarium Jan 31 to Feb 14/05. We will not repeat what the previous member stated however will add. Johanna also worked the pool bar and became a sister to us before we came home. The staff was excellent in all ways. The resort was always kept clean. The rooms were never without clean towels or paper. We visited the other Decameron resorts and thought that the Aquarium was for us. The other resorts, however did offer a change in menu as the other facilities were available to us as guests. We will definately go back. We enjoyed the island as a whole and visited schools and hired a guide on three separate occasions to take us to site see. You can email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish anymore info.
Thx for the opportunity to post.
The Good and the Bad
Stayed at the Decameron Aqarium for two weeks from Feb 7 to 21. The rooms are small but depending on the room you get, the view is wonderful. Send an email to the resort and ask for an oceanview room, preferrably on the second floor. The bad side: there walls are very thin and if you get noisy neighbours, they might as well be right in your room. There are a lot of young kids from Columbia that come over. In our case, we knew when they got in at 5:00 am and got up again at 7:30 am (I have to give them credit for their stamina). They were very loud to the point that you could hear the entire conversations, even if you could not understand them.
The Pier Bar: The staff are wonderful, especially Lucilia. The standard beer for all the bars is Red Dog and it gets pretty nasty tasting after awhile. If you are not attending the nightly show, this is the only bar available after 9:00 pm and it can get pretty boring if you are doing the same thing night after night.
The Disco: At no time did we see more than six people in the disco. This is located directly above the pier bar.
The Pool Bar: The pool bar is great up until 3:00 pm. That's when the dance lessons start and they play "Follow the Leader" over and over again. I was sick of that song four years ago in Mexico. Arisengio (Aris for short) is the main bartender there and he is great.
The Lobby Bar: This is open from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm for people to have a drink while waiting to go for dinner. The bartender, nicknamed "Bebe" because that is how she addresses everyone, is a sweetie.
That takes car of the bars. Now for the food. You must have a reservation for dinner. These are taken daily from 7:30 am to 9:00 am and from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. If you want to have dinner at another Decameron resort, you need to make the rersevations 24 hours in advance. This also applies for lunch at the other resorts. Typically at 7:15 am there was a line out the door for reservations. On three occasions we were bumped from our reservation; once at the Aquarium and twice at the Marazul. They do try to accommodate you elsewhere.
La Bruya: This is the seafood restaurant. All meals start with soup and salad. The salad bar is limited. You can choose from grilled shrimps, seafood grill, seafood au gratin, fish (sword or red snapper), seafood pasta. We only went there one night. One person ordered the fish and found that to be good. The grilled shrimp were overcooked and chewy. The seafood grill and the seafood au gratin were overcooked. All in all, we gave this a below par rating.
Le Patio: This is the steakhouse. All of our steaks were overdone and tough; however, there were some patrons who found the food to be good. It may be a matter of luck of the draw. Generally people did not rebook this restaurant. The salad bar again was lacking.
Italiano: This was by far the best restaurant. There was a good salad bar. The roasted peppers and mushrooms were great. The minestrone soup at the beginning of the week was hearty but was watered down by the end of the week. There are six choices on the menu and typically they were out of the ravioli and chicken. The pasta here was good and I would recommend this restaurant.
La Barracuda: This is the buffet restaurarnt that is open for all meals. Selections are limited. A tip for breakfast: Bring your own syrup if you like pancakes and if there is no bacon, just ask the maitre'd and he will get you some. Generally for lunch we stuck to soup and salad. We only had dinner here on the day of our arrival and were not impressed.
Mid-day and Mignight Snacks: During the day you can get hotdogs and hamburgers at the pool bar. Sometimes they make buffalo chips. These are great but you have to keep going back to see when they come out. It's not consistent. The burgers were good. I had many and did not get sick. The hotdogs weren't bad either. I suggest asking the cook to put them on the grill for a bit. This snack area opens at 11:00 am. At 11:00 pm you can get hotdogs and hamburgers at Le Patio.
Other Restaurants: There are many good restaurants on the island. A couple worth mentioning near the hotel are Margherita e Carbonara and Niko's. At Margherita's you can get an excellent pizza for $13,000 COP. That works out roughly to $8.00 CDN and it is big enough for two people. The spaghetti carbonara is fantastic and costs $11,000 COP.
At Niko's you can get seafood and steak. I had the filet mignon. It was a generous portion and cost $18,000 COP. The lobster was $40,000 COP.
Other Decameron Resorts: The food quality is definitely better at the Marazul, as are the rooms. However, you have to take the shuttle or taxi into town. The Aqarium is right downtown and is very convenient. We didn't eat at the Isleno or Maryland but they are also close to town. We stopped in at the San Luis one evening but did not eat there. It is a considerable distance from town.
Getting Around: I recommend taking the taxi tour. It cost us $20,0000 COP per person and was well worth it. Herbert was our driver and he speaks excellent English. He is also every helpful.
La Bruya: This is the seaf
Just returned from the Aquarium; my boyfriend and I stayed Jan. 3 - Jan. 10 2005. Overall it was a good experience. We had never been to San Andres Island before and we were not sure what to expect. We are happy we stayed at the Aquarium and would stay there again if we ever decided to return (but we won't be returning any time soon as we have so much more of the world to see). The entire concept of the Aquarium is unique as the buildings are actually in the water - that was different. There are pros and cons to vacationing at the Aquarium and in San Andres. Here they are...in my opinion. Although our room was somewhat small, we had the most amazing view of the Caribbean Sea. We stayed in tower 6 on the 3 floor. It was right next to the pool area so if you like to sleep late, this is not the area of the resort for you. They would start the music around 10am. The food was hit and miss most days. There were 8 hot trays to choose from at the buffet and something fresh (turkey, roast beef...) that was being sliced fresh in front of you as well as a salad bar. There are three à la carte restaurants, Italian, Bar B Q and Seafood. Fish is always a safe bet - red snaper was the best. Meats like chicken and beef are tough so don't expect much. You must make your supper reservations in the morning for the same night everyday and 24 hrs. in advance to eat at any other resort. Reserve early if you want an à la carte reservation. The snack bar wasn't that great. They mostly served hamburgers and boiled hot dogs and from time to time fried potato slices, deep fried fruit bread and pizza (but it wasn't very good). Since we had access to all 5 Decameron resorts we visited them during our stay. You can basically use the other resorts' facilities (pools, discos, bars and restaurants). What's nice about the Maryland, Isleno and Aquarium is that they are all within walking distance to the Isleno beach (the #1 beach on San Andres). If you want long beach chairs, you have to rent them. The Maryland has a small beach that did not look too clean and the Aquarium has a tiny beach that wasn't at all that impressive either. However, there is a natural swimming pool (i.e. a sectioned off area of the sea enclosed by decks) that you can swim in. These three resorts are also very close to the commercial area so if you want to do some shopping or rent a moto, you do not have to worry about transport. The Marazul and the San Luis are a 10 and 20 minute cab ride to the city respectively. So if you don't mind taking cabs or taking the free shuttle (that doesn't always run when you need it to) then staying at one of those hotels is ok. We liked the disco at the Marazul and the food but they have a man made beach which to us defeats the purpose of going to the Caribbean. The San Luis is very much a party place for the young 18-25ish crowd and it's a non stop party. Go with a group of friends if you are going to stay there.
If you are looking for luxury, San Andres Island is probably not for you. The Marazul is the lushest of the 5 but I've seen better. The weather was good, almost always sunny. It rained approx. 3 of the 7 days but for only 5 mins at a time and usually at night. The best time to visit is in Feb, March, or April as January is very windy - we learned that the hard way but it kept the bugs away at night and you never felt sticky. Excursions are pretty inexpensive; max. 30$ person USD. We visited Johnny Cay and Aquario, the most beautiful water and beaches you will see there.
Overall, I am happy that we got a good deal because I would have been very upset had we paid a lot of money to go. It was a good experience, but it was not the type of resort style vacation that we've done before where you just sit on the beach and eat when it is time to. We were pretty much on the go a lot but I guess your vacation is what you make of it. The island is safe and the people are nice. What made our vacation was the view that we had, the people we met, the excursions, and the weather. Feel free to email me if you have any other questions.
5 star view, 3 star hotel
Stayed at the Aquarium from Dec 6-Dec 13, 2004. So you have an idea of who is writing the review, I am 28 and the friend I went with is 27. Between the two of us, we have been to about 15 all inclusives.
Assuming you are going from Toronto, you will fly with Air Transat. The seats aren't very comfortable and it's a loooong flight because you have to stop in Montreal on the way to pick up more people. On the way home, TO is the first stop, and Montreal is 2nd, so they have the long travels on the way home. The flight from San Andres to TO is about 4 1/2 hours.
The view is breathtaking. We were in Tower 1. You don't have the option of paying for an oceanview, it's luck of the draw. However, you can email them before going if you would like to ask for a specific room. I emailed requesting a top floor oceanview and that is exactly what we got. The rooms are a decent size, nicely decorated. The walls are paper thin though, we literally heard a coin drop in the room next door. Unfortunately, our bathroom had a fair bit of mildew, which I don't feel is appropropriate in a 4*. Every room has a balcony and mini fridge. They have 3 bars, pier bar, lobby bar and swim up bar. The pier bar is open 24 hours. There is no beach directly on the hotel grounds, however, the public beach is right next door. They have a good sized pool, as well there is a very nice spot to swim in the ocean off the pier, it just doesn't have a beach.
There is an international buffet which was ok. Breakfast and lunch were typical breakfast and lunch foods, however, supper tended to be more Colombian food. If you are a picky eater, you could have troubles finding enough to eat some days at supper time. They have 3 a la cartes, Italian, Seafood and Barbq. You can go to them as often as you like. You must make a reservation for your dinner, even if going to the buffet. You also have the option of going to the other 4 Decameron hotels to eat...you must make a reservation at least 24 hours in advance to eat at the other hotels though. The Italian and Seafood were quite good, the barbq left a little be desired....we both ordered TBone steaks, I asked for well done and it was RAW. You can try to ask them to take it back and cook it more, but the waiters english was so horrible that I didn't get anywhere.
You are in a prime location for shopping. The hotel is a 2 minute walk from downtown San Andres. They have a ton of stores to choose from, however, not a whole lot of touristy shops. If looking for touristy type stuff, you are best to walk along the public beach and buy from the locals selling from their little huts or tables. You also have the option to negotiate with them, whereas, the stores are pretty set in their prices. You can get your hair braided for very cheap on the beach as well.
The shows at night were not very good. They tried their best, and always had big smiles on their faces. Unfortunately, the majority of the patrons are Colombians, so the shows are spanish with maybe 20% translated to english. It's a little frustrating because they understand english and spanish, whereas, must of us only speak english....so they really could make the effort a little more. The entertainment staff are really nice...they like to get you dancing and having fun.
The tours are very well priced. We took a total of 4 tours for under $100US. We went horseback riding, we went on an island tour by bus (includes Morgan's Cove and the Blowhole), we went to Johnny Cay and we went on a pirate ship cruise around the bay. All tours were very fun and quite informative. The tour guides all speak very good english.
The first couple of days were pretty frustrating. We were quite unimpressed at first, as the Colombian patrons were getting much better service than we were. For example, at dinner, they would refill the Colombians water glass, look at our empty ones and walk away. :( After we were there a couple of days, they started to warm up to us and it got much better. In the end, neither of us would recommend this hotel to anyone. There were just too many small things that were hard to get past. The view is easily 5*, but the hotel is a 3* at best. The island itself is gorgeous once you get into the country...the town is pretty run down. We figure about 40 years ago someone put alot of money into San Andres, but they haven't invested a dime since. If you have any questions or would like to see some pics, please feel free to email me.
Very Unique, Highly Recommended
Completely surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, tropical breezes, snorkling right at your doorstep, wonderful food (and we have been to 6 all-inclusives), friendly people, quick sign-in. We havn't been able to stop talking about it since we came home. We would definately recommend the Decameron Aquarium and it is only 5 minutes walking distance from town. Happy to answer any questions. Lynn
I stay there in december of 2001. The Hotel is well located, near the downtown. It work with all-included service. The beach is very quiet, without waves, ideal for practicing water sport. There is a school of diving and wind surf. There are excellent restaurants and the hotel permit the posibility of dinner in another decameron hotel. There are 4 hotels in the island. I recomend this.