It’s mid-July, and I’m psyching myself up for a 15-hour flight to South America. Not the sort of thing I imagined myself to be doing at 3:30am on a random Wednesday morning – but here we are.
You see, it’s not often you get invited to a private island, let alone one off the coast of Cartagena in Colombia. However a few weeks prior, I received quite the invite. The team behind Mexican beer brand, Corona, asked Delish to be one of the first to explore their biggest ventures yet: Corona Island.
But if you’re imagining Full Moon-style parties and beach clubs blaring house music, think again. Corona Island is not for your average party-goer, but describes itself as a “paradise in the middle of the Caribbean,” somewhere that blends architecture with natural landscape, and urges you to reconnect with your surroundings, whether that be through daily sun-basking, appreciating the local wildlife or taking part in educational workshops or excursions.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but whatever I had expected, well – the reality of the actual place completely blew my expectations out of the water.
After landing in Cartagena, a 45-minute boat ride filled with feel-good tunes and a fridge full of beer, we were transported to an island free of single-use plastic and radiating an indescribable sense of bliss.
Crisp white beaches, tranquil turquoise-blue waters, rescued wildlife, and beer fridges around every corner, they weren’t joking when they described this place as a “paradise.” Escorted to one of ten beach huts on the island, our home for the next week included an outdoor shower and jacuzzi made with locally sourced wood and scattered with island touches.
Our itinerary for our stay included everything from late night stargazing to guided yoga sessions, mangrove planting to coral excursions. There was even an in-house tattoo artist, etching guests with Corona’s signifying lime (don’t worry mum, I didn’t get one!)
Tech is discouraged across the island, with many areas enforcing “no-tech” policies, instead encouraging us to occupy hammocks, drink Corona and chat with the locals (I had the pleasure of sharing some papaya with an inquisitive toucan).
In the centre of the island lies an open-air, wooden structure, where guests meet every morning for breakfast, convene at lunch and take a trip to when feeling snack-ish. It was here Chilean chef and Colombian Masterchef judge, Christopher Carpienter, cooked up a storm. From super-sized paellas to fried red snappers and yuca fritters – using produce from the island’s very own herb garden.
What impressed me most however, is the fact it’s the world’s very first Blue Verified Island. A first-of-its-kind, Corona worked with Oceanic Global (an international non-profit) to create a sustainable destination free of single-use plastics, from the design and construction through to the daily operations and guest experiences. Side-by-side with this, it’s also scored the highest level of recognition when it comes to Blue Standard criteria. In short, it’s a sustainable paradise.
There’s even a dedicated area on the island that showcases the brand’s Turtle Restoration Programme in partnership with Parques Nacionales Naturales.
“On Corona Island, we are celebrating the majesty and beauty of the outdoors by getting guests engaged in protecting paradise,” says Felipe Ambra, Global Vice President for Corona.
“Everyone on the team, from our chefs to our architects contributed to creating a truly single-use plastic-free paradise. We look forward to welcoming visitors, rekindling their relationship with nature and hopefully creating more advocates to protect our natural world.”
Corona Island opens to the public from summer 2023. For more details, and to learn how to book a stay, please visit the registration page here.