You won’t find any 5 star resorts or anything luxurious in Ladrilleros, to be honest, but there are a multitude of hotels to choose from. Most of them are very simple and do the trick for a few days. Some have cabañas while others are normal hotel rooms. Many offer meal plans with two or three meals a day. If you don’t have reservations, you can find a hotel easily after arriving in Juanchaco.
Our original hotel choice was Reserva Aguamarina. This complex has both hotel rooms with either air conditioning or a fan and cabañas. It’s situated on top of a cliff overlooking the beach, and has a stairway directly down to the beach. There’s a pool, bar, and restaurant, and the hotel offers a meal plan. They also take credit cards.
When we called to make reservations, the hotel was fully booked for the weekend we were traveling. They offered us a room in a cabaña at their sister hotel just a short walk away, Cabañas Costa Real. The rates were excellent at COP$345,000 per person, and included round trip boat transportation from Buenaventura and a full meal plan. We accepted.
Cabañas Costa Real
We were initially disappointed that we didn’t get the hotel we had originally chosen, but as soon as we arrived at Costa Real, Doña Aleida made us feel welcome and we were certain this was the right place to stay.
For starters, it seemed much less crowded than Reserva Aguamarina. We loved the nicely manicured grounds as well as the gazebo with hammocks, but the best part was the secluded pool where we cooled off after our excursions and time on the beach.
The food was excellent. For breakfast, there was usually eggs or calentao. For lunch and dinner, we had a choice of two of the following: fried fish, fish in a sauce, a seafood stew, or meat. All lunches and dinners were served with rice, plantains, and a salad. The kitchen staff was also friendly and had a good sense of humor.
Costa Real is located a short walk from the beach and near a few restaurants. Across the street is a corner store so you can stock up on supplies, water, and snacks.
If I could find a negative about Costa Real, it’s that the bed was very soft. Also, if you’re looking for a hot shower, you won’t find one there. Otherwise, it’s a peaceful place with a welcoming atmosphere.
Entertainment and Excursions
Doña Aleida was helpful organizing excursions. She told us what the best day trips would be during our stay and had us talk with a local guide named Armando. He offered different tours every day, and he would come to visit the hotel each morning to recruit people to go with him on the tours. We went with him on a mangrove tour to a natural swimming pool, and with another guide on a whale watching trip. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find enough people to go on a tour to a waterfall on our last day.
Finally, some of the hotels will offer entertainment in the form of traditional chirimía music, which is local to the area. Doña Aleida told us about a bonfire and show at Reserva Aguamarina. We went and had a few beers while enjoying the local rhythms.