This summer, it’s time to take an active holiday with the planet in mind. Because the days when holidays consisted of nothing more than sunbathe-cocktail hour-bingo-repeat are gone. And we’ve got the perfect location for you, Corona Island.
The TLDR Stats:
What: A Luxurious Eco-Friendly Island
Where: A Caribbean Island Off The Coast Of Cartagena, Colombia
Price: The price varies. You can find out more at livecoronaisland.com.
First Off, What Is Corona Island?
It’s an eco-friendly luxurious Caribbean Island off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia. And yes, it’s the brainchild of beer brand, Corona. The island has been leased from the Colombian government and is part of the Rosario Islands (a chain of small coral islands) which is one of the 46 Natural National Parks of Colombia. Corona Island puts eco-tourism at the forefront of its mission, partnering with Oceanic Global and achieving their three-star plastic-free Blue Seal.
What To Do On Corona Island:
Corona Island straddles the line between active and regenerative travel without skimping on a single luxurious detail. Here’s what you can get up to.
1. Plant Mangroves Alongside Experts
For the uninitiated, regenerative travel is a sustainable way of travelling that aims to leave a positive impact on the environment and community. One of the ways you can do this on Corona Island is by taking a kayak and walking tour of the mangroves on a neighbouring island alongside the experts dedicating their lives to fighting climate change. You’ll then get the chance to plant your own mangroves (green thumbs absolutely not required).
Lavinia Fiori, an anthropologist who works in sustainable development with the native community of the Rosario Islands, spoke about the importance of mangroves to islands.
“Our island … depends on mangroves [for] coastal protection,” she says. “We are [seeing] how mangroves on the shores are really weak and are losing their roots, are losing their trunks because of this climate change phenomenon,” Fiori explains.
Plus, by spending some time on your holiday planting mangrove shrubs in areas that have been devastated by coastal erosion you’ll not only leave the Rosario Islands a better place, you’ll reap the benefits as well. A 2013 review of 40 studies found that volunteering had a positive impact on mental health, life satisfaction and wellbeing.
2. Snorkel In A Coral Reef
Another impressive sustainable activity is the coral reef restoration project that Lavinia and others are working hard on. Sure, we know you’ve probably heard of how important coral reefs are. But hearing it first-hand from experts and seeing the real-life consequences with your own eyes is a whole different thing.
“When there is a coral reef, you have a lot of biodiversity. You have marine life, a lot of fauna, invertebrates [and] vertebrate animals that find shelter [and] find food in the coral reef. And it’s because of that, 60% of marine fauna depends on coral reef in some part of their life,” says Fiori.
According to Lavinia, since May this year, the water temperature of the Caribbean has been 4 degrees hotter. This has had severe consequences. While you may expect to see colourful coral reefs teeming with life when you head out snorkelling, you might be shocked when you’re treading above bleached coral reefs.
And that’s directly related to that oh-so worrying increasing water temp we just mentioned. Coral bleaching happens when the water is too warm causing corals to expel the algae living in their tissues which results in the coral turning white.
You’ll get education and exercise in spades when you go snorkelling on Corona Island. The great thing about snorkelling is that it’s a low-impact, low-effort form of exercise. So you can splash around for hours without even realising it, working out muscles you’re not using in your everyday life.
3. Kayak, Swim Or SUP Around The Island
At any point during your stay, if you want to see the island from the water you can grab one of the many kayaks and SUPs and paddle around. Paddle fast and you’ll give yourself a great back, arms, shoulders and chest workout. And if you thought Stand Up Paddleboarding was easy, think again. One study found that it improved aerobic and anaerobic fitness as well as core strength (summer abs incoming!)
FYI: This is called incidental exercise AKA the stuff you can do without really breaking a sweat (that still burns calories). If that sounds like your thing, here are 9 more summer-friendly ways to burn calories without actually exercising.
4. Do Some Morning Yoga
You may be on an island, but not all activities are water-based. Rise with the sun and do some morning yoga to start your day strong. You’ll be taken through a series of yoga sequences that will get the blood and good thoughts flowing. From breathing exercises and meditation to stretches that challenge your strength and mobility, the yoga classes are a great way to start your day. Plus, you’ll leave the island more flexible and less stressed than ever before.
5. Play Beach Volleyball
Of course, it wouldn’t be an island holiday without some beach volleyball and a healthy dose of competition. Call up some fellow islanders, get ready to break a sweat and go head-to-head on the island’s volleyball court. Because what could be better than an afternoon of sun, sand and spiking (that’s a volleyball move, babe)?
6. Read In A Hammock
While heartbeat-raising and sweat-inducing activities are things you won’t struggle to find on Corona Island. That’s not all it’s about and you’ll be able to sit back and relax in between it all.
The island has an amazing beach library where you can choose a book an islander before you have left behind. And then you can do the same, leaving the book you brought with you for the next person who visits… Talk about paying it forward! Once you’ve chosen a read, hop in a hammock on the island’s edge and enjoy the waves lapping at the shore as background music.
7. Get A Knot-Reducing Massage
Whether it’s sore muscle from days spent in the water or tension from your life outside of Corona Island, a massage from a talented masseuse will relieve you of any DOMs or knots you may have. They’re set in one of the cabins beside the ocean and within the trees so you’ll be surrounded by nature, the perfect environment to destress.
9. Lounge In Your Bungalow
Of course, we can’t forget the luxe accommodation you’ll be staying in on Corona Island. There are just 10 bungalows with the island only accommodating 20 guests at a time to ensure they remain as environmentally friendly as possible.
Every bungalow has been designed so that they have a view of the sunset and we reckon the best place to enjoy Corona Sunset Hour (which is a daily ritual) is from the comfort of your own private jacuzzi. Yes, you read that right, each bungalow has a jacuzzi on a private deck. But if you’ve had an afternoon nap, enjoying the view of the trees, ocean and sunset right from your bed is a close second.
Once the sun has set, lather up and wash the day away in an outdoor shower and then head off to enjoy a Corona followed by delicious meals like paella prepared right in front of you.
Just simply being disconnected, surrounded by nature and enjoying the luxuries of an escape at Corona Island will help you return to SA feeling refreshed and rejuvenated (and perhaps even fitter). So sit back, relax and enjoy paradise. Safe travels!
Find out more at livecoronaisland.com.
Images by Simóne & Vernon