Avenida Colombia 1-19, San Andres Island, Colombia
"We did enjoy our visit immensely"
Posted by: Pat & Diane on Feb 1, 2008
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Royal Decameron Aquarium is a unique resort comprised of many circular buildings built out into the stunning ocean of San Andres Island
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"This a place for people who want to snorkel"
Robert and Renee on Jan 1, 2006 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2006
494 people found this review helpful
We went to the Aquarium for two weeks. Loved it and will be back! We been to the D.R. 5 times and wanted to try something different. Boy, did we ever! This place is safer and friendlier than the D.R. The diving and snorkeling is awesome. I am sure there are a lot of beautiful places to dive...but SAI is very affordable. We paid $1180 plus tax for two weeks in Canadian at New years time. The people who come here are mostly Canadians and Columbians. I found the Canadians hung around Canadians and Columbians around Columbians. Still everyone was nice to each other. We meet wonderful people while we were and this made out trip feel more relax and at home.
This is the worst airport we have ever gone to. The lines are long and hot. They check everything.
We went only twice to the pool and we did not like the layout of it so we stayed on the pier.
We loved it on the pier. There is a bar, washroom and disco there. Enough chairs to go around. They fill up sometimes but, you can usually fine a place to lay or sit. On one end there is rental area and the other end there is the sports center. This is where you can use or rent water stuff. We only went kayaking once and enjoyed it. My husband used wind surfer too. We saw a young girl about 12 using the skidoo and banged into the pier. Later friends of ours saw the father dishing out cash for the marks on it. Be careful. THE SNORKELING HERE IS EXCELLENT! We saw angel fish barracuda, eel,crabs, squid, octopus and a lot fish we do not know the names of them. At night we would always go and sit at the pier. The wind is always blowing so forget about good hair. Just enjoy the breeze.
We went up to the Disco once and came back down. It reminded me of grade 8 dance where no one asked anyone to dance. Everyone was sitting in this dark room with loud music. I think if they played more music for people in there 40's people would dance.
This restaurant is on the pier as well and is a nice change from the buffet. We did not like it and some of our friends did and didn't. You will have to try it yourself and see. STEAKHOUSE/BBQ
This one had the best OK food. Some days it is good and other days it sucks. You take your chances. ITALIAN
This one we went to a few times and we enjoyed it. They do seem to rush you out if you are at the early dinner. BARRACUDA
Hit and miss here. I did not like it but I am fussy. I found something to eat and I was not starving. We did fine second sitting did not get all the good food and late bloomers did not get the bacon in the morning. OTHER RESTAURANTS
Booking is a pain in the ass. We tried walking in on some and it worked for lunch and it might work for the late dinner for some.We enjoyed the Maryland one day at lunch and the Marazul for dinner a few times. The a la carte Caravelle was our favorite. I liked the Chicken cordon bleu. The El Rodeo was good too. We had seconds and that is usual for a la carte. The only place we did not eat was the IsLeno we stopped in for drinks a few times only. The San Luis we stopped for lunch and did not like it. We were told from others this is a place for younger kids. So if your young maybe this is the place for you.
It is what you make of it. We did not really enjoy it much it seem to be geared to the Columbian guess which is fine since they are the one who go here all year round and keep the food on the table for them. We were in the dance contest and our friends had a good laugh on us. We are not dancers but we looked funny and this was a crowed pleaser. Compare to other places we have gone they were way below average.
Clean, these were the cleanest rooms with no bugs. We did not realize that there is a paper on the end table that you can put on your bed if it doe not need to be changed. I have never been somewhere that changed your sheets everyday unless you asked them not to. I usually take my sheets off and put them in the tub to be washed. Not here they are very good at cleaning your rooms.Hot water was good except one day we had none. Pressure was good also.Maid here only want money since they have access to many stores. Peso is best.
We used the ATM and had no problems. Our friends had to fine a bank that had a plus sign ( if you look at your card there is one) Once we found this his Scotia Bank card worked. We used CIBC and I already knew it work and it cost $3 from my bank and I think $2 from SAI. If you go inside there is paper work for you to fill out and who wants to do that. Also, on the streets people will exchange for you. The maids and other people prefer peso.
There are a lot of cafe and it is only like 50 cent for hour or something like that. We had trouble getting on and finding AOL. Remember they are down a lot.
We meet people who had trouble getting thru to home. I think it is cheaper and easier to tell tour family you will email them and tell them it might take a few days.
We took a taxis tour around the island and visit all the main places. If you are staying for two weeks do this if you not just ask to go to Hill for the view or the school to drop off stuff.go to the Blow Hole and West View for snorkeling and really that is all you need to see. If you staying for two weeks go for it all. We had a 5 hour tour and snorkeling trip and it only cost us 20 us for four people. His name is Orveldeo ( I think I spelled it right) he will watch you stuff and entertain you with stories if you talk to him.
There is a shopping area and a public beach all down town. It is very safe to walk at night. We would take a walk most days and a few nights and felt very safe. We did go to a bad area and people to us to turn around. So if you are walking around and there is not police than turn around. Use commonsense, something I was lacking that day...lol
There is drugs everywhere you go. This island nobody bothered with us. The venders are not bad here, a simple no thank you is fine. If you slow down and look you are telling them you are interest.
To go out is CHEAP. If you like to eat out or drink out it is very reasonable. We only had a banana split one night and it was good.
I wanted to rent but we never got around to it. Friends of ours did. A scooter is $25.00 for 24 hours. There are a couple places higher price. It is safe but look over what you rent, if there is a mark write it down and show him or you will pay. Someone we know had to pay something like $5.00 for a mark. But I am sure if it was bad you will pay. The cars are like $100.00 which is too high, The golf carts vary in price. I think it was $60.00 for 4 hours or something like that. They break down all the time. Be careful when you drive.
Snorkeling and Diving:
Must do!!! go see Mario at the Marazul he is there everyday. Just ask someone. If you book it in person you save $5.00. We went at 3:00 -6:30 on a snorkeling tour. We did not go to the islands which I heard are good too. We just went out into the ocean. His family swim like fishes too. Any ways we saw the most here. Sting rays and fishes and fishes and more fishes. I had a great time and would do it again. Diving at the Aquarium sucked. I have dived a few times and this was my worst dive. I was very disappointed in it.Go to the west side of the island and dive there. My husband did two dives and the one with out me was good he said. He went 80 feet and enjoyed it very much. I only went 33 Feet.
This a place for people who want to snorkel. Make sure you bring fins and snorkel gear. The hotel does not have fins. Water shoes are a must if you put you feet down in the water a lot. Diving is great here just do not do it with the resort. This is not a four star so keep that in mind and food is not the greatest but it is safe to eat. Got to Big Juice's San Andres Island they are up to date on everything when it come to SAI. We want to take our family here because we know they will love it as much as we did. Have a safe trip.
"We had a wonderful week at San Andres"
Tom and Pat on Jan 1, 2007 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2007
511 people found this review helpful
We had a wonderful week at San Andres. The Island is beautiful and you will not be disappointed if you select a vacation here. But, study your travel books carefully as every hotel has it's good and bad points.
We liked the Decameron Aquarium very much, but we would not stay there again if we return to San Andres.
First of all, if you're from the United States, you will probably be the only Americans on the entire island. Not only that, but other guests will express shock that you are from the states. We felt sort of like conversation pieces, although everyone was very pleasant and friendly. Most guests are from Canada or from Colombia. Of course, Colombia owns San Andres.
Now, the hotel..........it's so very unique because all of the buildings are in the water...........but not all rooms have an ocean view!! If we stood or sat at the very far end of balcony, we could face the sea. For a lot of the rooms, the view is the next building. But we found the room quite nice and very clean. Ours had 2 three-quarter size beds although we would have preferred one king. But, we were not given an option. The air conditioner, even on low, kept the room chilly. But, if you turn it off, it gets quite humid and had a strong humid, musty smell. It's so humid there that your bathing suit never really dries. If you hang your towel on the balcony to dry......forget it...it won't. But, that's no reflection on the hotel. That's just the way it is. I found the layout of the hotel grounds rather congested. Everything is very close together.
A most important thing you should know is there is no beach here. So, if you're looking for sand, stay somewhere else. What is here are wide wooden docks or piers with lots of lounge chairs for sun bathing. Really, it's quite nice and unique. Even though there's no beach, the swimming is great!! There is a pool which we felt was on the small side. There was also a kids' pool. But, the great swimming is in the "ocean pool", which is a piece of the sea roped off where you can swim and snorkel. The water is so very crystal clear and there are lots of beautiful fish. This is where we spent most of our time. It's a thousand times better than a pool!!
The food at the Aquarium was not much more than "okay". Even the breakfasts weren't that great. The pancakes were always cool even though they were kept in steamer pans. There was no bacon. "Sausage" is hot dogs. (they do a lot with hot dogs here). The scrambled eggs are mixed with something (cheese maybe?) to keep them moist, but they're not good tasting. There's usually ham but it looks like really processed stuff, not like regular ham. But, of course there's fruit and rolls and pastries, so you won't go hungry.
You must make a dinner reservation every day, even if you're just going to eat in the general buffet, "la Barracuda". This is a huge hassle. You make your reservation at a designated spot (which they may change without letting anyone know), and they open at 7:30am for reservations. There are 4 a la carte restaurants besides la Barracuda; an Italian, a Thai, a steak house, and a seafood restaurant. If you get to the designated spot at 7:30, there will be approximately 30 people in line ahead of you, and it will take you about 30 minutes. (multiply that by your 7 days and it takes a good bite out of your vacation.) I found the system absolutely absurd. But, the a la carte restaurants are pretty good. Our least favorite was the steak house - we ordered t-bone and the meat was extremely tough. People later told us that we should have ordered the baby beef instead. But the Italian, Thai, and the seafood were quite good. The cornflake shrimp at the seafood was really excellent, and the Vietnamese rice at the Thai was great. Desserts at the specialty restaurants are a little itty bitty wedge of cheese cake or chocolate cake. So, if you're big on dessert, you will be a little disappointed. We went to the Decameron Marazul one day for lunch and found the food to be of much better quality. In fact, everything at the Marazul was nicer. That's where I'd stay if I went to San Adres again. It's beautiful except that the beach is small and it's a man made beach, and we didn't care for that. Like, you really can't dig your toes into the sand!
You have the option to visit any of the other Decameron Hotels on the island, but you must make a reservation for the shuttle the day before, and you will be given a pass for lunch or dinner. Without it, you will not eat. You must also bring your towels with you, which is a pain in the neck. The only tour we took was called "The Island Tour", and it was $20 a person and we were gone for about 4 hours. It was nice and informative, with some history of the Island. You could probably do the same tour with a taxi for about half the price.
We walked into town a few times.......it's only a matter of a few blocks away, and it's a nice walk - very safe and lots of pedestrian traffic. I wasn't thrilled with the shopping as it's all stuff you can buy right here. But, we did find a few vendors in town and at different stops we made on the tour. Downtown there is a fantastic public beach!!!
Internet cafes are everywhere and they are really cheap!! The one across from the hotel and down a few yards was 75 cents for 30 minutes. Can't beat that!!
I hope this info helps you make your decision. We liked the Aquarium but would definitely stay at the Marazul the next time. The Aquarium is advertised as a 4 star, but in reality it's about a 2.5.
"We couldn't be more happier that we choose this resort for our February vacation"
diane on Feb 1, 2007 >
8 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2007
513 people found this review helpful
I won't repeat what other reviews have stated and for the most part they are accurate. I don't think I would agree with the negative comments, although everyone does have their own opinions, but I will add that it definitely is better than a 2.5 star as stated below which I don't feel is a fair rating at all. We couldn't be more happier that we choose this resort for our February vacation. We had requested a particular room and it was quite a lovely surprise that they honoured our request and gave it to us. The room was quite spacious and the view, breathtaking !!!! We couldn't find fault with this resort right from the food to the service - everything was just great. I thought I wouldn't enjoy the lack of beach, but that was a non issue from the moment we stepped on the pier. It was great to be so close to the bar, washroom and the water. The snorkeling - amazing, amazing !!!! So many varieties of fish and some I couldn't name. The bartenders at the pier bar were a terrific bunch of people and couldn't serve us (and others) fast enough. The restaurants were all great - even the buffet had something for everyone. We didn't go off the resort for meals except for the Rockey Cay, which was absolutely wonderful. Renting a golf cart to tour the island is the only way to go and a great way to check out all the other resorts on the island. All in all, we will definitely go back next year. Any questions, don't hesitate to e-mail me, firstname.lastname@example.org...................Diane
"This was one of the most fantastic vacations we have ever been on"
Corinne on Mar 1, 2007 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2007
522 people found this review helpful
This was one of the most fantastic vacations we have ever been on. This was the first time I have had my luggage x rayed on the way into the country but no big deal. Also have your luggage tags handy from your boarding pass to match to the tags on your baggage, they check them when you leave the airport. The Decameron Aquarium is an absolutely unique place to stay with the round buildings on the water. There is not a total ocean view from every room, but each room does have some kind of water view. This island is by far the most beautiful place I have ever seen. The water is known for it's seven shades of blue and it never disappoints. We were there for two weeks and had one afternoon of rain(we spent the morning walking and at the pool).
Wonderful, the Thai restaurant was delicious, the Seafood fantastic (the shrimp to die for)and the buffet was very good, fairly typical. We also went to the other Decameron hotels on the island for their restaurants. The Japanese at the San Luis was incredible and the BBQ and A La Carte at the Marazul were delicious as well. The Maryland had a beautiful buffet on the night we were there. We also had lunch at the Isleno and San Luis and Rock Cay and they were very good as well. They provide a shuttle bus between resorts at scheduled times and we never had to book the shuttle a day ahead as some have indicated. If you stay to the back of the line the bus usually fills up and they will provide you with a taxi.
We ate breakfast in the morning and headed for a walk in through town up beach and in through town usually for 2-3 hours each morning and met many people. It's a hoot to rent a golf cart and tour the island, you can see so much its fantastic. The vendors are very polite, many try to sell you things but a simple no thank you and they apologize for bothering you. The people of the island are so friendly and polite its incredible. We received a great lesson on what to look for in a good emerald from Diseno's jewellry.
Although we took US funds with us we used the bank machine just down from the Jet Set Cafe to get peso's. When we were there in February 07, 1 us dollar = 2000 pesos
You could not ask for better staff at the Aquarium, the bartender in the lobby (Baby), and at the pier bar are incredible.
I usually like to have a beach but I really did not miss it at this resort, although the rooms are right on the water there is no beach at this resort. They do have a beautiful beach at Rocky Cay that the hotel chain has purchased and the shuttle is available to take you there as well. There is a bar and restaurant there and loungers.
I could go on and on about this place but all I can say is we will back.
If anyone has any questions feel free to email me and if I can answer I will.
"We did enjoy our visit immensely"
Pat & Diane on Feb 1, 2008 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2008
498 people found this review helpful
Well I can't really expand too much on what has already been written about this resort. As our second trip to this island, I can only add that once again, we were not disappointed. It was wonderful to see familiar faces and the same happy employees from last year. There is nothing this resort wouldn't do for their guests and again, we were treated like family. Service was excellent, food was excellent and even though hubby was ill (cold/congestion) we did enjoy our visit immensely. Nelson provided wonderful dives and didn't disappoint in the least. We also did a tour swimming with the stingrays. If anyone wants an exciting adventure, this is it!!!!! What a thrill it was feeding and swimming with the rays and even got to see a nurse shark. We were going to book with Mario until we talked to Raoul (from the Aquarium Dive Shop) and he gave us a good price and the most wonderful experience possible. What was great about Raoul is that he only took out 4 of us so we got individual treatment and our time was not limited - we swam as long as we wanted!!! So if interested, I would highly recommend talking to Raoul and what he can offer you - he is great !!! The weather was hot, hot and hot, wonderfully breezey ..... the beer was cold ...... the water refreshing. What more could a person want? No complaints about the food whatsoever. Rockey Cay was terrific as well as dinner at the San Luis - although it was so noisey in that restaurant we didn't linger too long. Seafood restaurant at the Aquarium - top notch!!!! Any questions, don't hesitate to e-mail......email@example.com.................until the next visit