Isla Barú Is The Hot Honeymoon Destination For 2024
The beach escape is gathering popularity among newlyweds — and for good reason.
Beautiful, warm blue waters. Quiet beaches. An arrival via boat from one of Colombia’s most vibrant cities — Cartagena. If you don’t know, now you do: I’m talking about the Isla Barú. A peninsula of sorts (that you can reach by boat or by car), this scenic place is the perfect spot for a tranquil getaway, but more importantly, is very well on its way to becoming the biggest honeymoon hotspot for 2024.
“Barú stands out as a honeymoon destination due to its secluded and picturesque setting,” says Yannick Sorro, general manager at the Sofitel Barú Calablanca Beach Resort. “The pristine beaches, luxurious accommodations, and the variety of romantic experiences contribute to its allure. There is a unique sense of place complete with culture.” The resort itself, opened in December 2021 with rates starting at $420 a night (complimentary breakfast included), joins a handful of other properties on the peninsula and has seen particular interest from honeymooners, with around 30% of bookings made by newlyweds. (ProColombia, the tourism authority of Colombia, cites Barú as an increasingly sought-after choice for the newlywed demo, with much of it attributed to destination weddings — approximately 71% of couples doing a destination wedding in the country hail from the United States.)
Colombia is vibrant, full of fantastic food, art, architecture, and more, and Cartagena is a prime example of that. The city is rife with amazing restaurants and bars (some of the World’s 50 Best are located here, including the incredible Celele, ranked 16 as World’s Best Restaurant in the world, and Alquimico, ranked as No. 9 for World’s Best Bar), while the close proximity to the tranquil Barú positions the island like the yin to Cartagena’s yang. “Barú epitomizes a serene tropical lifestyle, inviting visitors to escape the urban hustle and bustle and experience Colombia’s diverse beauty,” says Carmen Caballero, president of ProColombia. “Its culture reflects the tranquility of its surroundings while showcasing vibrant music, dance, and cuisine. Water activities like diving, snorkeling, and boat rides are popular, adding to the allure of its seaside location and enticing enthusiasts eager to explore the diversity of Colombia’s marine life.”
As a guest at the Sofitel, I can attest that the tropical lifestyle welcomes you the second you step onto the property. Arriving at the lobby, I was immediately overcome with a sense of calm. An easy (and dare I say, enjoyable?) check-in happened, while a drink of seltzer and coffee were served. A golf cart then took me to my room — a balcony overlooking the ocean, whose waves lulled me to sleep later that evening. “A lot of time and thought is put into the pre-arrival to ensure we meet and exceed expectations,” Sorro says. The hotel features different room types (all with ocean views), but the Barú Suite, with a private balcony and/or a hot tub, is a popular choice for honeymooners, as it provides an even more intimate and romantic setting. (You can also order a “floating breakfast” with your jacuzzi, which is also very popular with couples.)
Whether sitting on the sand in a daybed (no reservations needed) or lounging by the five pools — including one adults-only option, the days just seemingly move on by, a perfect end-of-wedding-madness escape. For those planning their own nuptial trip, experts agree that the optimal amount of time is at least three to four nights, and ideally, with Cartagena built into the itinerary — even if just for a day trip. “Barú’s strategic proximity to Cartagena enables honeymooners to indulge in a multi-destination experience,” Caballero says. “Couples can immerse themselves in the historic center of Cartagena, exploring its museums and vibrant culture, before unwinding in Barú’s tranquil island setting.”
Many hotels in Cartagena often offer day beach trips to Barú (including the super popular Casa San Agustin), so however you start or end the trip is up to you — though I myself would advise a city-to-beach trajectory, with a stay in Isla Barú, not just a visit. It’s the perfect way to wind down after a high-intensity season. I also highly recommend taking a boat from Cartagena — as it stands, direct plane access isn’t available, and the ride via car is quite bumpy thanks to a smattering of unpaved roads (not great for those who experience motion or car sickness). “The close proximity between the two destinations facilitates seamless transition and exploration between city life and the natural beauty of Barú,” says Caballero. I couldn’t agree more.
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