One of the most colorful port cities on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Cartagena truly feels like it’s out of a fairy tale. Touching the sea, the walled Old Town boasts steel drum bands and horse-drawn carriages that instantly transport travelers into another time and place.
There’s nothing else in the world quite like it. Cobblestone streets and warm-paletted colonial buildings set the scene for a place where rum, fresh ceviche and lively music are aplenty. Where you can devour the largest avocados you’ll ever find and freshly-grilled seafood on the beach while the sun sets in the distance. If you’re looking for paradise, this is it.
This chic boutique hotel mixes contemporary-cool with Cartagena’s colorful Caribbean aesthetic. The colonial-style building is made up of three houses in the old historic center of Cartagena de Indias. From the centuries-old wood beamed ceilings to ACASÍ, a private beach reserved exclusively guests, Casa San Agustín is the perfect place to get away from it all.
Evoking 1950s Havana vibes, live Cuban music and impromptu dancing liven up this must-visit haunt where jetsetters, dignitaries, and journalists all convene. The menu is vast and the reservations are scarce, so make sure that you plan well in advance.
If you want a more authentic experience, nothing is better than this no-frills eatery that Anthony Bordain once highlighted. Everything, literally everything, on the menu is fresh and totally mouthwatering, but I highly recommend the lobster ceviche because…why not.
Specializing in contemporary updates of Colombian classics, Bogotá-born chef Alejandro Ramirez spent years learning from some of best and brightest culinary stars (read: Daniel Bouludand Gordon Ramsay). Expect local ingredients and the bestseafood in the city.
Explore Old Town
Packed with churches, monasteries, plazas, and palaces, the walled old city is one of the finest examples of preserved colonial architecture. Wander around, listen to live music, grab food from one of the many (delicious) food vendors and shop for artisan goods.
Cartagena’s first concept store showcases Colombian brands from high-end fashion, art and interior design and is definitely worth the jaunt if you’re in the mood to do some serious shopping.
Day trip to Isla Barú
A 40-minute cab ride from the old town, pop over to Playa Blanca to soak up the sun. Reserve a hammock lounge area and sip cool cocktails and nosh on delicious bites all day long.