See local chefs during their morning trips to the Bazurto Market (Plaza de Mercado, Chino), a colorful and chaotic market just outside the walled city. Join a market tour ($50/person, four people maximum) to explore what was once a gritty, locals-only marketplace that has been cleaned up in recent years. A local expert will lead you beneath the brightly colored umbrellas to talk with vendors and explain the contents of stalls piled high with fish and tropical produce. For lunch, follow in the footsteps of Anthony Bourdain as the guide leads you to Ceci, a cook known for her aromatic seafood rice dishes.
Learn about South American wines at Restaurante 1621, where in-house sommelier Oscar Santos leads a weekly wine class (from $45). This restaurant, the recent winner of a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, is located in a historic space with soaring ceilings, exposed beams, and soft chandeliers where nuns used to eat during the building’s convent days. The tastings take place in the adjacent wine room, where the sommelier pours everything from wine to rum and whiskey while answering all of your questions.
Get your hands dirty with a cooking class at Donjuán, one of Cartagena’s most beloved restaurants. Chef Juan Felipe Camacho leads the class (price varies; schedule based on availability) in excellent English, and you can customize classes to match your interests, whether you want to learn how to cook the basics of a three-course Colombian feast or re-create a favorite dish off his menu.