Member Postcards

A Week in Cartagena

Indagare member Karon Cullenand her husband recently returned from a six-day trip to Cartagena. Here are her impressions from the vacation.

We stayed for almost a week at Casa San Agustin, a beautiful, boutique hotel in Cartagena’s old city. Each morning we enjoyed breakfast of Colombian bread and fresh fruit accompanied by delicious cappuccinos. We were assigned a butler who met us at the airport and oversaw our stay, which was most welcome as we had never been to Cartagena before. From walking us to Juan del Mar for dinner our first night to cancelling and rebooking us on a nicer boat for a trip to the Rosario Islands, he handled everything perfectly.

Our guide made our trip complete. She is a vivacious and deeply knowledgeable Aussie expat who is an expert on Cartagena’s history. Our walking tour of the Old City was the perfect way to start the trip as it gave us a feel for the beautiful and historical city. One afternoon when my husband wanted to explore, I went out with our guide for a shopping tour. I came back with a beautiful silk caftan, two purses, hand-painted espadrilles, a belt and a pair of pareos. Without her I wouldn't have known which of the many boutiques to enter.

The following day we went to the Mercado Barzuto, which is so old-school that most locals don't go, preferring the air conditioned markets with walls and doors. On display were every animal part imaginable, including cows' eyes, calves' legs, whole pigs and lambs' heads. It was smelly and hot but nevertheless fascinating. This particular tour is not for everyone, but it offered a chance to see a different lifestyle than we had been exposed to thus far.

Favorite Restaurants:

  • La Vitrola: spectacular seafood
  • Juan del Mar: romantic setting, excellent seafood
  • Marea: sea views, seafood including their signature fried fish (
  • Alma: the restaurant at Casa San Agustin, traditional Colombian cuisine
  • Maria: hip, innovative, fresh cuisine (
  • El Barón: speakeasy-style bar with craft cocktails (
Favorite Shops
  • Dom: the Colette of Cartagena (Calle Santo Domingo 33-70; 57-5-6640197)
  • Kia: unique home furnishings (Plaza Santo Domingo Local 2; 57-5-6640226)
  • Loto des Sur: cosmetics and bath products (
  • Abaco: bookstore-cum-coffee shop, great for hanging out
Favorite Activities:

Published onMay 12, 2015

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