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Get Lost In: Cartagena

Cartagena City Guide
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Follow us to experience the vibrant streets of this colonial jewel.

Truth can be stranger than fiction in Cartagena. The Colombian city, with a real-life blend of the ordinary and extraordinary, was the inspiration for one of the most imaginative writers of the modern era, Gabriel García Márquez.

It is a city so pregnant with the near magical that when Mr. García Márquez took a visiting Spaniard on a tour through the old city it lowered his opinion of the writer's talents. The Spaniard told him, as he would later record in an essay, “You’re just a notary without imagination.”

Imagine a city that could make Mr. García Márquez, the Nobel Prize-winning giant of magical realism, seem like a notary.

Cartagena is truly a place you must experience to believe. Situated on a tiny peninsula dangling into the Caribbean Sea, its old city streets are lined with bougainvillea and candy-colored colonial homes.

Spend an afternoon at Plaza Bolívar, where you can spot a toucan relaxing on one of the park's palm trees, or take a stroll along the rampart, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cartagena captivates the imagination.

Cartagena is the sum of its incredible parts; its colonial, republican and modern architecture, the vibrant music that fills the air, colorful homes, and its warm climate, to name a few. It's a city that seamlessly mixes the old and the new. The secrets of centuries of history are juxtaposed by beautiful shops and fine restaurants. In short this historic city is full of soul and energy, and it's a place to wander in and get inspired.

Walk Around

The Old City is a wonderful place to get lost in and we highly recommend doing so. The little streets are easy to navigate and take you to your next discovery.

Don’t miss the Plaza Santo Domingo, La Torre del Reloj and Las Bovedas where you will find an array of artisans and local crafts.

Soak up the sunset with drinks overlooking the ocean at Cafe Del Mar. This popular spot is located at the top of the wall, which you can walk for a different perspective of the city and its history.

Have A Bite

Alma, located in the beautiful boutique hotel Casa San Agustin, is elegant yet unfussy. Sip on mojitos inside the open-air courtyard for a taste of Colombia’s historic charm and contemporary coastal living. 

La Cevicheria is your go-to place for fresh seafood spot. Their ceviches are out of this world, we promise. There is a reason it was Anthony Bourdain's favorite.

Lastly, Carmen is an exceptional culinary experience,  Husband and wife owners Rob Pevitts and Carmen Angel, both trained at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy in San Francisco, use traditional Colombian ingredients and combine them with Asian, French, and Caribbean cuisines. 

 

Spend The Night

Mansion Tcherassi is located in the heart of the historic city, featuring 7 exclusive bedrooms in a newly renewed whitewashed colonial building with four pools. It has beautiful private balconies and a one-of-a-kind rooftop with a 360-degree view across the city and the Caribbean Sea.

Casa San Agustin is a jewel that mixes elegant old style with bold modern luxury. The tropical plants in the courtyard wrap the space in a unique atmosphere that will help you get lost in the most refreshing rest. The hotel seamlessly blends its history with modern necessities; carefully preserved frescoes, a perfectly shaped pool, and 300-year-old aqueduct slices through the hotel's center.

Treat Yourself

Casa Chiqui  is full of exotic finds from all over the world. With a variety of accessories and furniture, Vogue called it Cartagena’s “most dazzling store.” 

 

St. Dom is Colombia's original concept store and sells a beautiful mix of tropically-inspired women’s and men’s fashion, swimwear, handbags, shoes, jewelry, homewares, and books in a lovely, minimalist space. 

 

 

 

 

 

Accents To Bring With You

Americae must-haves that will keep you cool and photo-ready while exploring the streets of Cartagena:

 

 

 

 

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