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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Taste Cartagena’s New Culinary Wave


5. Oddball Day

NH Galeria is the city's leading contemporary-art space.  

Shift your focus from the city's culinary pleasures to its thriving art and design scene. Start out at the NH Galeria (free entry), a gallery with rotating exhibitions that features both Colombian and international artists. (The striking gold textiles of Olga de Amaral are especially captivating.) Next, wind your way through the pastel-colored streets of Cartagena’s old walled city to browse the interior design and jewelry collection at Casa Chiqui (Calle de la Universidad 36-127, 57-5668-5429), a design-focused store with serious souvenir potential. Owner Chiqui de Echavarría is known in Cartagena for her refined taste, sourcing items from her travels in Colombia and beyond. For a light lunch, savor one of Cartagena’s specialties at La Cevicheria (Calle Stuart No. 7-14, 57-5660-1492), a small restaurant known for its basil mojitos and ceviches made with fruit other than the typical lemon and lime. (Try the octopus, or ask about today’s catch.) After lunch, awaken your artistic abilities with a photo tour of Cartagena, led by local Reuters photojournalist Joaquin Sarmiento. During the four-hour tour ($80; bring your own camera), he focuses on the most visually compelling and colorful districts of Cartagena while providing tips on composition and exposure to improve your shots. Wherever the photo tour ends up, it's worth heading back to the edge of the fortified wall in the old center to watch the sunset from Café del Mar, an open-air bar and café with a long list of cocktails and local beers. Return to the cultural district of Getsemaní for dinner at Karib, a stylish restaurant that serves the big flavors of Colombia on small plates. Sample a variety of Colombian staples masterfully prepared, such as fried red snapper. The rooftop pool bar is a lovely spot to spend the night finishing off a bottle of wine while overlooking the bay.

Published on Aug 30, 2013 as a web exclusive.

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