Hotel Isla del Encanto Cartagena Review – Terrific Luxury Beach Hotel in Barú

The Hotel Isla del Encanto in Cartagena (literally Enchanted Island in English) definitely lives up to its name. We spent a night at this 5 star quality eco-resort to treat ourselves and were truly enchanted by it. Read on to learn about our experience staying at the Hotel Isla del Encanto in Colombia.

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Photo of some towels on a table in front of the beach with the name Isla del Encanto on them.
Read on to learn about our experience staying at the luxury Hotel Isla del Encanto in Barú.

Where is la Isla del Encanto in Cartagena?

It is actually not located in Cartagena itself.

Hotel Isla del Encanto is located on the southern tip of the peninsula of Barú, south of Cartagena, about 90 minutes overland by car or about an hour by boat from Cartagena off the Caribbean coast of Colombia.

It is much further down the peninsula from Playa Blanca and located south of the Rosario Islands. Popular party spot Cholón is located off the northern coast of Barú.

Isla del Encanto Colombia sits on a great stretch of beach, where the water is calm and you can wade out a long ways. There is also almost no development out here other than a small town.

The resort itself is isolated, so it’s the perfect place for some rest and relaxation.

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Photo of a pier leading to the entrance of the Cartagena Isla del Encanto resort.
The dock leading into the gorgeous Hotel Isla del Encanto, Barú.

When did we go to la Isla del Encanto Cartagena?

We spent a night at the Hotel Isla del Encanto Cartagena in March 2021 to celebrate Susana’s birthday. It was the perfect escape, although to be honest, we could have easily stayed a few more nights!

What We Loved About Isla del Encanto Cartagena

The truth is, the better question is what didn’t we love about the Isla del Encanto Resort?!

Honestly, this is probably one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in.

We are usually more budget to mid-range travelers but decided to spoil ourselves a bit to see some things we hadn’t in Cartagena after a year of very little travel.

We were not in the least bit disappointed. Below, I’ll talk about all the things we liked about Isla del Encanto.

By the way, if you’re looking to spoil yourself in the city, see this list of the best boutique hotels in Cartagena or this one of the best luxury hotels. If you insist on being a permanent beach bum, see this list of the best Cartagena beach hotels for some options in town (as well as alternatives out here in the islands) as well. Or if you’re looking to enjoy the city on a budget and save for treating yourself at Isla del Encanto, check out this list of the best hostels in Cartagena.

->Click here to get a free planning checklist for your trip to Cartagena!<-

Photo of a girl sitting on the beach in front of the chairs at the Cartagena Isla del Encanto hotel.
The beach area at Isla del Encanto, Barú is perfect for getting your tan on and treating yourself.

The Beach Area

The beach area at Isla del Encanto Cartagena is really terrific.

It is off to the left of the hotel’s bungalows, pool, and restaurant area. It’s nice and big with plenty of chairs and umbrellas for shade. It’s also a longer stretch of beach than you’ll find at lots of other resorts in the islands.

It can be a bit tough to get chairs on the front line when arriving the day you come, but make sure you get one early the next day if you spend the night, before the day pass crowd arrives.

Photo of the beach area at the Isla del Encanto Cartagena showing the water and chairs on the beach.
The beach area at Isla del Encanto resort in Cartagena is nice and spacious with perfectly calm water.

The chairs on the second row aren’t bad at all though. I appreciated that they have them elevated so you still get a great view of the gorgeous beach in front of you.

The water is nice and crystal clear turquoise. It is also very calm, with little waves that just nap up at the shoreline.

You can wade out quite a ways while still touching and the bottom is all sand, unlike what you’ll probably find in the Rosario Islands, where the coral tends to make the sea floor rocky (if you are looking for a nice alternative in the Rosarios that also has a nice, not rocky beach, read our review of IslaBela here).

Photo of a girl under a tree with the beach behind her at the Hotel Isla del Encanto Barú
The water is perfectly clear at the Isla del Encanto beach as well

There are also kayaks and paddle boards available for guests to use. Susana got to laugh watching me eat it trying to stand up on the paddle board several times. The calm water makes it a great place for kayaking if you’re equilibrium challenged like me.

There is also great service on the beach area. All the servers were friendly and service was quick. Drinks were also good and pretty reasonably priced, at least for a resort on the beach.

We quite enjoyed running up our tab on mojitos and margaritas!

Convinced already? Go ahead and make your reservation now.

->Click here to get a free planning checklist for your trip to Cartagena!<-

Photo fo a girl sitting in a beach chair at the Hotel Isla del Encanto Cartagena.
The shade umbrellas are there when you need a break from the sun though!

The Gorgeous Room

Like I said, this probably one of the nicest hotel rooms I have ever stayed in.

The rooms they term bungalows are like townhouses with an upstairs and downstairs room. We had an upstairs one, which made the porch view of the pool and Caribbean beyond even better.

The bed was super comfortable. There was a TV as well as little sitting area in addition to the chairs on the porch. There was a nicely sized walk in shower that fit with the rustic vibes of the island.

Photo of a bed in the room at Hotel Isla del Encanto Resort in Barú.
Bed in our room at the Hotel Isla del Encanto.
Photo of the television and two chairs with a table in the middle to the right in the room at the Barú Hotel Isla del Encanto Cartagena.
Sitting area in our room at the Hotel Isla del Encanto Cartagena resort.

Truthfully, it all was very nice, and it is impressive they built this out here where there isn’t much else and transportation is difficult.

We didn’t really spend a whole lot of time around the room to be honest, just to shower up and change and then hang out after dinner. The beach was just too alluring during they daytime.

However, since there’s not really much to do at night, it’s nice to have a nice room to enjoy in the evening. If you do plan to stay for several nights and want to be comfortable, it really is a luxury quality hotel on par with the nicest hotels in town.

Convinced now? Go ahead and make your reservation now.

A girl standing on the balcony of the second story of a bungalow at Hotel Isla del Encanto Resort in Cartagena.
Susana on our townhouse bungalow’s porch at Isla del Encanto Resort.

The Rest of the Areas of the Hotel

There were two pools, one just for guests in front of the area where the townhouses are, and another by the restaurant that guests and people here for day passes can use.

The bigger one just for guests was under some renovations (they were adding in a little bar which I’m sure will be incredible when it is complete!) and well, the beach area was so nice, we didn’t really want to spend much time at the pool, but it was nice.

There is a kiddy pool here as well if you have children.

Photo of a pool with the ocean beyond at the Resort Isla del Encanto Cartagena.
The pool for guests at Isla del Encanto Resort as seen from our balcony.
Photo of another pool with some tables and chairs at the Hotel Isla del Encanto.
The other pool with the restaurant area behind it.

There is also a little hot tub guests can use and there are some nice sitting areas overlooking the sea by the pool as well as in front of the restaurants.

We found it a bit hard to find the hot tub solo, so you might want to stake your claim early, at least if you’re like us and shy about hopping in there with strangers.

The truth is though, again we just spent nearly all our time during the day at the beach. There is also a spa at Hotel Isla del Encanto. Neither of us got massages but the area looked nice.

In short, all the installations here are really nice and there’s a surprisingly amount of space and areas to lounge around. Considering this is such a great place to escape and relax, that’s pretty much perfect.

Photo of a small hot tub with some flower pots and trees around it.
The hot tub is nestled in amongst the gardens around the bungalows, it can be hard getting it solo though!

The Food and Service

The food at Hotel Isla del Encanto Cartagena was great as well.

It is, I don’t know what to call it, homestyle resort food. It’s not exactly gourmet plated meals, but I though it was better than the food you get at most all-inclusive resorts, and it all seemed fresh.

For lunch, there were a few options both days. I do think pre-pandemic it was a buffet lunch, and I imagine eventually it will go back to that. In a nice touch we did get lunch included both days even though we were only staying 1 night. This isn’t usually the case at resorts.

So while, Isla del Encanto is pricier than some other places there are some things that make the value proposition a bit closer than it appears when looking at the initial price tags (there’s another even bigger thing Isla del Encanto includes that most others don’t I’ll mention below).

Dinner was a plated meal. It was served at nice little tables out on the beach area, perfect if you are doing a romantic couple’s getaway like we were. Try to make friend with a waiter and ask them to save you a table right on the waterfront (we didn’t think of that).

Nothing better to go with a romantic getaway than candlelit dinner on under the palm trees on the beach. A tip, talk to the waiters in the late afternoon to reserve a table up front.

Breakfast was like a buffet where you could order as many of the things they had as you like. I imagine like lunch this will eventually go back to being a true buffet.

Service at all meals was terrific, and that goes for in and around the restaurant area as well as on the beach.

Do note that the prices are all-inclusive of your meals but not alcoholic drinks or other drinks outside of meal times (if you’re looking for an all inclusive that includes alcohol and snacks, read our review of Estelar Manzanillo here).

As I mentioned above, drink prices were reasonable, about what you would pay in town, no price gouging.

I liked how you could eat lunch or breakfast in the dining area or on tables like these overlooking the Caribbean.

I also really appreciated the staff at the hotel offering us an upgrade on the room when I told them it was Susana’s birthday, and allowing us to come on the earlier boat with the day pass group and leaving on a later boat as well.

If you will be in Cartagena before and after your stay, you can probably do the same if you ask them nicely, and if you only have 1 night like us, it’s definitely worth it to maximize your time at the paradise that is Isla del Encanto!

Also, the boat transportation is included in the accommodation prices here.

This is not the case in most places in the islands, so if you are comparing prices, keep that in mind as a round trip boat ride to the islands usually costs in the neighborhood of $150,000 pesos a person. That’s enough to make the difference in cost between here and some of the others much closer than at first glance, not to mention an additional lunch as I mentioned above.

There are several additional activities and tours offered by the hotel for an additional price as well. These include a trip to the aquarium in the islands, where you can see a dolphin show. They also offer snorkeling and diving mini courses. These are offered around mid-morning.

Convinced now? Go ahead and make your reservation now.

->Click here to get a free planning checklist for your trip to Cartagena!<-

This little bar wasn’t operating when we were there but it was part of the pretty installations at Isla del Encanto.

The Gorgeous Sunset and Sunrise

It’s well worth spending the night to see the sunset. Make sure you get a good view of the sunset in the evening.

And set your alarm and get up the next morning. It’s totally worth it! While the sun rises not over the beach, it does rise over the Caribbean and it’s gorgeous.

I don’t know which was prettier (you can judge in the photos below!).

Photo the sunset over some trees in front of the water with people swimming in the water in the foreground.
I can’t decide what’s prettier, the sunset?
Photo of the sunrise over the water with a canoe floating on the water.
Or the sunrise? What do you think?

Hotel Isla del Encanto Review – Conclusion

We had a fantastic time at Isla del Encanto, and I definitely recommend it as a great spot for a romantic night or two or just an escape with family. It is one of the very finest hotels in Cartagena and the islands, with the only one really nicer being the incredible private bungalows of Las Islas nearby.

The only drawback here is it is not in the actual Rosario Islands themselves (although it is part of the national park). If you stay a few nights, do one of the tours to the islands so you can see them, or if you have the time do a private boat tour or a group tour on a catamaran another day.

Or of course, you could do the reverse and spend a night or two at a place in the islands and then do a day pass here as the beach here is better than any in the islands due to all the rocks and coral (see my complete guide to the islands here).

But honestly, you’re not going wrong no matter what you decide.

Ready to be enchanted yourself?

Did you stay at the Isla del Encanto? Let us know what you thought in the comments below.

Cheers and Happy Beaching it!

Did you like this post?

See these others you might like:
Guide to the San Bernardo Islands
Guide to Tayrona National Park
Hotel Isla del Sol Review
Best Beaches in Cartagena

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Adam McConnaughhay

I spent a year volunteering in a small town on the island of Barú, south of Cartagena, in 2011. I decided I wanted to stay and lived and worked as a teacher in Cartagena from 2012 to 2022, meeting my wife Susana, and getting the chance to travel much of Colombia. I started Cartagena Explorer in 2018 to share my love for Cartagena and Colombia and help others explore all it has to offer.

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