• Cartagena
  • Susan Lyons


Written and Travelled by Susan Lyons

The warmth of Cartagena extends well beyond the weather to friendly people, small streets draped by flower filled balconies and vibrant facades ranging in color from earthy spice tones to lazuli blue.
A variety of accommodations and delicious dining options suit the budget conscious or high end traveler. We relied on a high end property rental in the old city sourced by Cartagena native, Martha Hampton.
Thanks to Martha’s local partner, Maria José, all our ground details were taken care of – airport transfers, sightseeing guides, dining reservations and additional perks required for an all-girls escape – yoga lessons and massages at the house.

Our five days provided an ideal balance between touring and down time. We checked off the main attractions including the hill-top monastery, the 16th century fortress, the Gold Museum and Inquisition Palace. We had plenty of time to shop and meander the quaint streets constructed purposefully to confuse pirates. We savored leisurely meals and replenished our sleep and vitamin D banks.

Notable architectural details include dramatic doors, hidden courtyards, and expansive, luxurious rooftop spaces. So, always keep walking up to enjoy some of the city’s best views!

For an unforgettable walking tour of the old city and bustling local market, a great option is Kristy of Cartagena Connections. She will weave interesting stories into the city’s history and show you sections where few pampered tourist dare venture.

For a special mid-day excursion consider taking a boat across the harbor to El Pescador de Colores, an open air sea lounge restaurant in Barú opened recently by two female entrepreneurs -- Lina, who returned home to apply her luxe marketing training to the burgeoning local jet-set, and Portia, her English partner.

Recommended Restaurants: Vera at the boutique hotel Tcherassi, La Vitrola, El Santisimo, Brujas de Cartagena and Cande.

Necessities – large-brimmed hat, sunscreen, bug spray , and comfortable walking shoes. The warm breezy climate and fashion conscious culture suggests sundresses and sandals for evening with a shawl for air conditioned interiors.