Playa Koralia, Colombia

Playa Koralia, Colombia

up mobile phone service and give into your inner hippie at
Playa Koralia, an eco-friendly retreat located in Buritaca at the
gateway of Colombia’s Tayrona National Park. Where the snowcapped
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta tumbles into the the Caribbean Sea,
the Nieto family has cultivated a laid-back hideaway that blends
into its natural surroundings.

There are 17 bungalows dotted around Koralia’s grounds, hidden
between the tall trunks of palm trees. Each cabin has its own
theme, including Shanghai, Nirvana or Ganesh, which informs its
interior design. With outdoor bathrooms and hammock-strewn porches,
all have a touch of rustic jungle romance about them. And sure it’s
a practical necessity, but there’s something about a well-placed
mosquito net that makes any bed look appealing.

There are no locks on the rooms here but it doesn’t matter –
Playa Koralia is isolated and you can walk for miles along its
driftwood-littered beach without seeing a soul. ( Apparently
Shakira escaped here a few years ago once she got sick of the
paparazzi in Barranquilla.) There’s no wifi in the rooms, no
television and not even a newspaper in sight – in fact everything
is quiet here except for the vibrant and quirky design.

Spend your days swimming, perfecting downward dogs at the yoga
space on the sand and dining at Koralia’s open-air air restaurant
(breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in room rates). Staff
will organise excursions to nearby waterfalls, rivers and lagoons,
but make sure you’re back for live music and a beach bonfire at the
tiki bar come nighttime.


There are 17 painted bungalows, each with an individual theme
based on inspiration from pre-Columbian symbology, popular Mexican art and Rajasthani culture. Rooms from
£50 (but if you’re feeling brave you can camp from £30).

What’s for breakfast?

An organic fruit farm feeds the menu here so make
sure you order a fresh lulo juice along with your eggs. Breakfast
is included.

How about lunch and dinner?

Lunch and dinner are also included and set in the property’s
palm-fringed open-air dining space. Playa Koralia doesn’t serve red
meat or pork but focuses instead on local fish and vegetable-based
dishes. The mushroom risotto and grilled snook with artichoke
leaves and potato gratin are both delicious.

Is there a bar?

Yes – there’s a tiki bar that serves sizeable cocktails and runs night parties with live
music and bonfires on the beach.


Spa services, yoga space, private beach, complimentary wifi in
the reception area (none in rooms) beach bar, lounge and sauna.

Things you should know

The mosquitoes here are savage. Wear repellent, eat raw garlic,
chain-smoke cigarettes… do whatever keeps them at bay. Bring a
torch to help you navigate your way back to your bungalow at night.
Be prepared to sweat a little – ceiling fans rather than air
conditioning keep you cool at night. There’s no internet access in
the rooms but you can catch a few bars at the reception area.

Within a short walk you can find…

You can walk for miles along Playa Koralia. If you want to go
further afield then staff can organise excursions to nearby
waterfalls, lagoons, rivers and Tayrona National Park for

Kate Hamilton was hosted by G Adventures

G Adventures Caribbean Colombia Express trip
costs £949pp for an eight-day trip from Cartagena to Santa Marta.
Direct flights from London to Bogotá are available with Avianca and
priced from £560pp return.

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