Punta Faro offers a secluded island escape only two hours by speedboat from Cartagena. The hotel sits amid groves of coconut palms at one end of Isla Múcura, an island off Colombia’s Caribbean coast and part of the San Bernardo Archipelago. In design and feel, it’s more cabaña-meets-comfortable-jungle-lodge than a polished resort. But, its low-key, beachy rusticity, array of activities, relaxed setting and especially genial staff make it one of the most enjoyable and relaxing resorts we know of in Colombia. It also places an emphasis on training and employing local people.
There are 45 air-conditioned rooms catering for up to 100 guests, but it often feels like there are far fewer people here — the property is nicely spread out. The rooms are fairly simple, with rustic beach-shack-style decor and private decks with hammocks. All meals are buffets, serving fresh Colombian food.
The sea is generally calm, making for some easy snorkeling at the rock walls near the pier. The hotel’s private curve of soft, white sand is laid out with loungers. The sunsets are a particular highlight: we recommend watching them from the beach bar, while pelicans fish nearby.
There’s no evening entertainment or blaring music: instead, quirky signs with meditative quotes (in Spanish) around the hotel’s gardens encourage visitors to relax and smell the roses.
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There are three room types: standard, deluxe and junior suites. Rooms have either sea or garden views, or look out to the jumble of houses on the nearby island of Santa Cruz del Islote. All rooms have air conditioning and a TV, safe box and minibar, and an outdoor deck with hammocks. The decor is clean and comfortable with wooden furniture and Colombian artwork. Bathrooms are more Spartan and have hotel-branded toiletries.
Getting here involves checking in at Cartagena, then a two-hour speedboat journey to the island. The hotel sits at one end of a small island (you can kayak around it in an hour), among palm forest and quiet gardens.
Food and drink
The buffet-style meals include a good choice of meat, fish and vegetarian options. Breakfast and lunch are always served in the same dining room, while dinner takes place in a different location nightly (expect tables set up among the trees). A beach bar serves alcoholic drinks.
Punta Faro is safe and well set up for families, even those with young children. Although there's no official children's entertainment, children can take part in a range of on-site activities with the hotel's staff.
Facilities and activities
Several water sports and sports are available at a (reasonable) additional cost, including snorkeling trips, windsurfing, catamaran sailing, kayaking, diving, tennis, and paddle boarding. There are guided cycle tours to the local village (situated at the other end of the island), but the real highlight activity is the early-evening boat tour to observe the bioluminescence on a nearby reef.
The hotel has some standard rooms that are reserved for guests who use wheelchairs.
Environmental and social responsibility
The hotel has installed desalination units for its water, and provides employment and training opportunities for local villagers and inhabitants of Santa Cruz del Islote. Its most interesting conservation initiative is, perhaps, its participation in a project aimed at preserving the islands' turtle population and re-educating villagers, for whom turtles were once a food source. You'll find an area in front of the hotel's beach bar dedicated to looking after rescued turtles, before rewilding them.
If you're looking for a Caribbean beach pousada and a place to relax (with the odd snorkel trip or two) at the end of a busy Colombia trip, we can think of no better place.