When was the last time you did absolutely nothing but sit, think and stare out into the horizon? Or let a sea breeze gently swing your hammock before you jump straight into the sea?
This summer, forget jungle treehouses and glamping in transparent bubbles. Instead, chill out and get intimate with marine life at the relaxing Casa en el Agua, a solar-powered Eco-hostel surrounded entirely by the Colombian Caribbean Sea. The “House in the Water’ is located 80 km from Cartagena, among a chain of tiny islands belonging to the San Bernardo National Park. The archipelago, dotted with white-sand beaches and surrounded by crystalline turquoise water, is seldom visited by international tourists. Both the casa and the national park are only accessible by boat.
The thatched, double-storey wooden house is built upon a concrete foundation and was once a holiday home belonging to a Colombian family. The bottom floor consists of a communal area, kitchen and the Bar en el Agua which offers ‘all day-every day happy hour’. The second floor is the sleeping area with private rooms, dorms and hammocks. Food is served fresh, straight from the sea. Think octopus, crab and lobster.
As an environmentally-conscious hostel, waste is separated to facilitate recycling – including guests’ toilet affairs. The compost toilet has two separate holes for ‘number ones’ and ‘number twos’. Liquids are filtered and then “swallowed up by the big blue sea”, as the hostel owners explain. Solids are collected and taken to the nearby Tintipán Island where the composting occurs. Furthermore, there is no running water and guests need to be prepared to take bucket showers.
Besides intense relaxing in hammocks or on inflatable floaties, visitors can paddle board, kayak or sign up for the night snorkelling tour to see plankton in all their shining glory. To fully appreciate these bioluminescence beauties, a trip should ideally land on a night of a crescent or new moon. With no Wi-Fi to distract you, this hostel-island paradise provides the exact amount of peace and quiet. However, when the sun sets, get ready to party.
Words: Jacqui de Klerk
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