Destination wedding, birthday celebration, girl’s weekend, romantic getaway, multi-generational family vacation, foodie experience…The options are endless when it comes to plunging into a perfect multi-purpose destination like Cartagena!
This significant Colonial City has become a phenomenal trend over the last few years.
I just returned from yet another remarkable destination wedding in Cartagena de Indias, where we celebrated from Thursday through Monday morning without a hitch!
Imagine five days of complete bliss…from the vibrant restaurants to dancing the night away at a spectacular colonial home perfectly fit for a wedding! Or jumping on a high-speed boat for a one-hour glorious ride to the Islas del Rosario and reveling in the beauty of a private beach restaurant, serving fresh-caught fish, with the company of four colorful, chatty parrots.
Imagine walking through the cobblestone streets within the old walled city while listening to Colombian music streaming out from local homes. Or an unscheduled stop by the Plaza de el Reloj and being surprised by the Colombian dance troupe and musicians performing over a massive stage, with lights, sound, incredible costumes, and all for the good of the people.
Not only is Cartagena a unique wedding destination (yes, I can honestly say it is one of the best!), but it is currently one of the most sought after South American colonial cities. Founded in the 16th century, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Why Cartagena? Because this is a city filled with lively energy, a relaxed vibe, deep history and warm, kind, helpful people, who welcome all visitors with open arms and big smiles.
Cartagena is a city bursting with lush plazas, local vendors selling fresh, exotic fruit, and their colorful artisan pieces, each accompanied by their own choice of music. You’ll find yourself dancing down narrow, charming, cobblestone streets listening to the tunes of improv rappers singing by your side. You’ll be tapping your foot while sitting at outside eateries where one can find the absolute best arepas and empanadas (and music!) Local shops are entrenched within gorgeous homes and among the charmingly photogenic neighborhoods (my favorite was the barrio Getsemaní.)
On a hot afternoon, drop into La Paletteria, where a glass case contains dozens of paletas — agua (water), crema (cream), or yogurt ice pops — in flavors like tamarind, coconut, and Milo a famous chocolate drink. Climb the fortified walls and walk the periphery of the Old City, where vendors hawk Cuban cigars and icy cans of Cerveza (beer) Aguila. Numerous fun places host dance parties that go late into the night, with swinging live salsa bands.
The walled city has a plethora of boutique hotels, each offering its distinct look and feel. Can you imagine staying in a hotel that has a 17th-century aqueduct wall inside its structure? Or, perhaps in a hotel with a pool overlooking the city on its rooftop with a trendy bar and restaurant that gives off all the modern eclectic vibes! You can dine al fresco every morning in a home where Gabriel Garcia Marquez spent time writing his novels, soaking in the creative inspiration. From a six-room restored colonial-house, to a 120 renovated convent, no matter where you stay, the warmth of the people, the attention to detail of the rooms, the stylish ways of Colombians, are all reflected in these unique properties.
I will NEVER get tired of Cartagena, the minute I set foot onto the tarmac, I feel the warm air, the vibrant spirit and am always happy to be amid this colonial gem.