The Pampered Escapist-8 nights in Cartagena, Colombia

Beyond the beach bungalow and spa scrub—where to speedboat to secluded isles, commune with the desert, and spot wild horses.

Published Apr 4, 2010

Illustration by Kelly Allen

Eight Nights

Cartagena, Colombia
Splash around the Caribbean’s newly anointed style capital.
If Colombia’s reputation as a nefarious narco-state hasn’t been fully debunked yet, a week in sexy, urbane Cartagena should change that. Hit the hot tub as soon as you land: Rooftop plunges at increasingly swank boutique hotels like the Anandá ( are swarming with models. At sundown, join Latin soap stars over rum-spiked limonadas de coco (coconut lemonade) atop the old stone walls at trendy Café del Mar (575-664-6513). Sample the most popular dishes at two of the city’s best restaurants: the tiradito, raw fish marinated in lime juice and aji pepper, at Peruvian chef Gean Carlo Mayorga Macchiavello’s La Perla, and the risotto pescatore at Vera, headed by Lupa and Otto alum Daniel Castaño. Hire a speedboat at the Muelle de los Pegasos pier ($20 per person) and motor to nearby Islas del Rosario for a few days of doing absolutely nothing. The coralline archipelago of 27 protected islands far outdoes crowded city beaches like Bocagrande. Sleep in a private bungalow at Hotel Agua’s property on Isla Barú (from $299; Back in the walled city, book one of seven suites at Colombian fashion designer Silvia Tcherassi’s new hotel and spa (from $360;, a 250-year-old mansion with an impressive vertical garden of 3,000 plants.

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