ISLETA - ROSARIO ISLANDS
Isleta is a tiny inlet/island off Isla Grande in the Rosario Islands that offers the perfect place to connect to nature and unwind, undisturbed by vendors or loud sound-systems, with well-prepared food and drink and with good service, and the blue, clear water the Rosario Islands are known for. Isleta is also unique because the club and accommodation is operated as a 50/50 partnership with the local community of the islands (many, many other operations buy out the local land rights indefinitely from the nativos, often for dubious amounts, and then exclude them from their lands and their ability to earn from them). Therefore supporting Islabela means supporting a marginalized afro-descendant community in a sustainable way.
A daypass to Isleta Isabela costs 200,000 pesos pp plus marine tax. The price for children 3-9 yrs is 180,000 pesos plus tax.
You will need to be at Puerta 1 (Gate 1) of the Muelle de las Bodeguitas (basically the main dock nearest the Clock Tower) at 8.30am-8.45am. There you will look for the IslaBela representative. They will be holding a sign and wearing branded Islabela tshirts (see photo above). There will be a bunch of people trying to sell you other options along the way, just tell them "ya tengo" (I already have) until you find someone that looks like the photo (see gallery above) you will also pay the marine tax 18,500 pesos pp. This tax is a compulsory payment made to the marine authority for any visit to the Rosario Islands. In theory the money is used to maintain the natural environment there and to police abidance to safety standards etc.
Once you have your receipt for the tax, the Islabela representative will lead you to the boat or designated waiting area. The boat leaves as soon as all the reserved clients have arrived and the safety inspector has signed off on the departure. Normally 9am. You may share the boat with guests going to other islands, so there may be some other drop-offs on the way, however usually, the Isleta drop-off is among the first.
The boatride to Isleta takes about 1 hour. Upon arrival you will (usually) be greeted by Yan and/or Alison.. the gorgeous Belgian couple who have partnered with the local community of Isleta to create this idyllic destination. From that point on your most difficult decisions will be which lounge chair to sun yourself and what time you'd like to eat.
The daypass includes a welcome cocktail (usually sangria) and a standard lunch option of either griled fish, grilled chicken or the typical fried fish. All come with coconut rice, patacones, salad and a drink of agua e'panela. There's also a vegetarian option of pasta with vegetable sauce. You are also welcome to order any other items from the menu (chalkboard photo in the slideshow above) and pay for what you consume.
(these can be arranged directly on the island upon arrival)
Have a local take you on a 40 minute guided tour of the best snorkel locations for 40,000 pesos (including equipment). You will get to see so much more, and you will also be further supporting the local community.
Support the local community and release stress with a relaxing massage, 50,000 pesos 1/2 hour or 100,000 pesos 1 hour.
20,000 pesos/ 1 hour
It is also possible to arrive and eat lunch or enjoy drinks at Isabela as part of your own private boat tour. Just get us to make the reservation.
Why choose this?
Sand beach, good food, reasonable price, beautiful transparent water, great snorkelling, no vendors bothering you, good service, beautiful installations, supporting local community, chill music.
Things to know:
The Rosario Islands need to be accessed via open sea, therefore boats leave earlier in the morning and come back earlier in the afternoon than visits to Tierra Bomba and Bocachica.
Isabela, so far, doesn't have it's own boat and they are trying to keep costs down.. so the speedboats they use may make other stops on the way which may contribute to arrival time.
This is not a party place.. their target market is more chill.
Bring your own towels!
As they are coral islands, the sand is also mixed with lots of small, sometimes sharp coral, so you may want to bring water-shoes, or a pair can be loaned to you.
Make your booking to firstname.lastname@example.org saying you want Isabela or Isleta option. We will also need to know the full names of everyone in your booking and their passport numbers to secure the reservation. IF you would like more information about the different accommodation options for spending the night or nights on Isleta, please also let us know.