I’M sipping a Corona beer while looking out over the water, being one of the first people in the world to set foot on this private piece of land.
The island, created by the beer Corona and aptly named Corona Island is opening to the public for the first time next year, and I was one of the lucky few to visit first.
Found just 45 minutes off the coast of Cartegena, popular holiday destination in Columbia, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Of course, being greeted by complimentary beer as soon as my toes sunk into the warm sand meant it was off to a quick start.
I quickly realised not to say yes every time, rarely finding myself without a beer in hand, which quickly changed to unlimited tequila shots when the sun went down.
And that was the ethos of the island – party hard but without the footprint.
It is the first Blue Verified Island in the world, with Corona working with non-profit Ocean Global to make it as sustainable as possible.
So this means no single-use plastics, solar panels charging up 70 per cent of the island, as well as reducing food waste.
The sole restaurant on-site does just that, using leftover food or whatever was sent to the island that day so don’t expect a menu – but I wasn’t bothered when it resulted in a leftover croissant bread pudding.
I also gorged on local fried fish and huge batches of paella cooked up by Chilean chef and Colombian Masterchef judge, Christopher Carpienter.
Don’t worry about being bored while your meal is cooked – I spent most of the time trying to fend off the island’s monkeys and birds which all remain on the island in their natural habit to avoid disrupting their lives.
The turtles are especially cute, and are released back into the ocean as part of the sea turtle restoration program offered by Parques Nacionales Naturales.
Along with the restaurant there is also a chill out ‘tech-free’ zone with beanbags and cushions, and you’ll be lucky to find WiFi on the island.
The island is all about outdoor adventure, so this means guided yoga and meditation, kayaking and volleyball.
Obviously this is all optional – so I frequently found myself in a hammock or on a sun lounger with a cocktail in hand.
Thankfully you can stay overnight on the island as there are 10 bungalows on-site.
Each double room has views overlooking the ocean, with ensuites including an open-air shower and – the highlight – a private hot tub that is filled with fresh water.
There is air conditioning thankfully, as the nights are hot, although they encourage you to only use it when desperate.
In regard to the creation of the island, Global Vice President for Corona Felipe Ambra said they hoped to celebrate the outdoors while “getting guests engaged in protecting paradise”.
He added: “We look forward to welcoming visitors, rekindling their relationship with nature and hopefully creating more advocates to protect our natural world.â
I’ve travelled to more than 40 countries, but this particular visit was certainly a trip of a lifetime – and one I will remember by the lime tattoo I found myself getting with my new friends on the island…
The island is opening to the public in summer 2023, with a new spa also being built.
Official dates and prices are yet to be revealed and you can register here.
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