Cartagena, Colombia was a colorful and culturally rich experience that I'm super excited to share with you. I originally planned a trip to Colombia after finding a $230 flight deal...then COVID happened. Ugh, right? I patiently waited for the next flight deal to pop up and lo and behold a $340 flight showed up out of Nashville for September!
Now, I'll be honest. So much was going on right before this trip that I practically planned it nearly the week or so before. I'm sure there was so much more that I missed, but I knew for certain I wanted a different experience and did not want to participate in the conventional attractions in Cartagena. I wanted fun, relaxation, cultural connections, and to explore the colorful city. One of the first activities I booked was a $58 full day pass to Bora Bora, Beach Club in Cartagena!
WHERE IS BORA BORA BEACH CLUB?
Bora Bora is an adult only private beach club on Isla Grande. It offers a private beach area, bar, and relaxing sun cabanas. The islands are apart of an archipelago off the coast of Colombia and referred to the Corales Islas del Rosario. There's several boat tours, hotels, private beaches, and excursions along the islands. Some of the most popular are Bora Bora, Cholon, and Baru. To arrive to Rosario Islands you have to depart by boat for 45 minutes to an hour to arrive.
HOW TO GET THERE
Depending on which listing you book on Viator or Get Your Guide, it may already include transportation to the dock. Otherwise, grab an Uber or local Taxi to drive to el Muelle de la Bodeguita, which I would refer to as the dock. Your listing will also indicate the puerta (door) number to go to and you'll say you're in line for Bora Bora Beach Club.
Now ALOT is going on even though its 8am. There's several doors along the dock and its hectic, so make sure to get there on time and ask where your door is. There are a lot of people around in the area that will ask you which door and guide you automatically. After standing in line and getting through the door you'll check in for your reservation and receive a wristband. Afterwards you'll take a seat until your boat is called!
The boat ride from the dock is about 30 minutes. So take in the sites...take a nap...or just look at your phone to pass the time lol. I quickly dosed off until we arrived ;)
When you depart from the boat you'll be assigned a person to help give a quick introduction of the beach club, choose your cabana, and you'll sign up for your lunch option (chicken, fish, or vegetarian).
Quick arrival tips:
- When you book on the sites or even through a person/company directly they are essentially setting up the reservation ahead of time with the beach club. Make sure your listing confirms that your ticket is booked with Bora Bora including the date and time. Know who you booked with or which company in case they can't find your reservation OR are looking for a payment. There were about two sets of people that were calling to argue with the person they booked with because their reservation couldn't be found or was on a different day. Yikes! (And yes I'm nosey, I just have to know the drama ensuing near me...haha)
- They will randomnly collect 20 pesos per person for taxes, which we weren't informed about. So a reminder to always have pesos on you for this quick payment. You're rushed line to line since there are so many people so just clarify before handing your money to someone.
- There are people who work for Bora Bora that are going to try and 'upsell' you for a better cabana closer to the water. In reality all of the cabanas are in the same area and side by side. There's no reason to pay extra unless you want a total view of the water. The cabana we ended up choosing upon arrival was in the second row and still had a great view of the water!
WHATS INCLUDED + WHAT TO EXPECT
Let's just start off by saying this is a FULL day experience for $60. ONLY $60! On top of it already being affordable; it includes a cabana, a hearty delicious lunch, live music, direct beach access, and a DJ/dancefloor. You can also upgrade to VIP which has its specific area separated by security with their own music and experiences. But you aren't missing out on any relaxation or fun if you stick with the normal beach day pass.
Other amenities to indulge in are your personal waiter to order food, drinks, and handle all of your needs or questions! They were so friendly and truly wanted you to relax. Drinks were about $10+ which wasn't horrible, but certain food items and drinks were on the higher side. We split a couple of empanada appetizers ($8 USD each) before lunch and had a few drinks as we sat back in our cabana. Our final bill was 373,759 olombian pesos which is about $80 USD for two people
After sipping on a few cocktails and getting a quick bite to lay off the morning hunger, sit back and relax in your cabana or head to the dancefloor with one of their entertainers. They play music all day and people dance with their partners or friends...or the entertainer who might I add had big combat boots, and a sparkling gold speedo.
And finally, sign up for a 30 minute massage for just 80,000 Colombian pesos or $18 USD! This was a full body back massage starting with your toes, legs, back, neck, arms....and a lovely head massage. Just wow. What a true sense of relaxation and you can't beat the price. Don't forget to dip in the ocean or the sand and soak up the sun!
MY OVERALL RATING
This was a great day of relaxation and the bonus amenities like the $17 massage was amazing! We spent a total of $100 including drinks, additional food, water, and the massage. The long boat ride is a drag, but after being out in the sun all day I was quickly knocked out by the time we made it to the dock. Make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, sun hats, and water to stay hydrated in the HOT sun.
I would say this was a perfect budget friendly beach club activity that you wouldn't be able to get in other places. You have full access to everything, and treated wonderfully by the staff. The staff bring great energy, are helpful, and are there for any of your needs. Give them an extra tip for their great services because they will def take care of you!
Are you thinking of visiting Cartagena soon? Let me know in the comments, I'd be excited to hear!