Although Bogota and Medellin tend to be the focus of business travel to Colombia, we always recommend that our guests build a little time into their travel plans for a side trip to Cartagena. This beautiful port city on the Northern Caribbean coast is the perfect place to recover from a hectic corporate schedule and soak up the true flavour and color of Colombia.
There’s no need for an itinerary in Cartagena – your best plan is to just wander the narrow cobbled streets, taking in the proud colonial Spanish architecture, green leafy plazas, and clip-clopping horse-drawn carriages. The walled districts of San Diego and El Centro are good places to get lost – although if you happen to pass the famous Heredia Theatre or the Museo del Arte Moderno, you should definitely take a look inside. The former is a stunning building full of marble, overhead frescos and velvet, while the latter has a great collection of work from native artists.
And when your stomach starts to grumble you will not be disappointed. Located so close to the sea, Cartagena has some of the freshest, most delicious seafood dishes, including tangy ceviche and the traditional Cazuela de Mariscos, a hearty seafood stew. Finish with a sweet coconut flan and a cold glass of Colombian beer, and you’ll find that you never want to leave.
And if you’re ready for a dip in the sea to cool off? Nothing could be simpler. Just an hour’s drive away you’ll find the turquoise waters and white-sand beaches of Islas de Rosario, an archipelago of 27 islands stretching out into the glittering Caribbean. In the high season you’ll find that it is a tourist draw, but get out there when it’s quiet and you can enjoy swimming, snorkelling, and a delicious lunch of lobster, crab and red snapper. Spend the day here and forget you ever came to Colombia with business in mind.