Dreamy Beaches & Bustling Cities in Cartagena & Medellin

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Parker White

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  • Colombia

  • Beaches

  • Boutique Travel

  • City Travel

  • International Travel

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Local Culture

  • Outdoors

  • Local Food

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Curator’s statement

Cartagena—Colombia’s historic Caribbean beach town—and Medellin—a trendy hub for the city dweller—are the perfect places to visit for your next Colombia trip. The vibrant culture, trendy restaurants and stunning landscapes will make Colombia your next favorite destination.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay in Colombia

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Casa San Agustín

If you are looking for luxury, Cartagena has no better hotel than Casa San Agustin to unwind and pamper yourself.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena

Reinvented and innovative hotel, which recreates a tropical palace where the walls and ceilings retain the historical magic of this 17th Century Colombian building. 

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

The Click Clack Hotel Medellín

Contemporary hotel with colorful rooms and a laid-back vibe.

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Things to do in Colombia

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El Totumo Mud Volcano - Climb inside the Totumo Volcano right outside Cartagena and enjoy a dip in the warm volcanic mud. The mud is known to have therapeutic and healing benefits including detoxing the body, cleaning skin and treating joint inflammations. Visit the nearby lagoon after to rinse off and enjoy a refreshing swim.

Beach day in Cartagena - Visit one of the many nearby beaches in Cartagena. My personal favorite is Playa Blanca on the nearby island of Isla Barú, with its white sand beach and clear blue water, this one is not to be missed.

Coffee tasting - As Colombia is known as one of the coffee capitals of the world, coffee tasting in Medellin will give you access to some of the best. Whether it is at a local coffee shop or a full day coffee plantation tour, this activity will leave you with knowledge on how to up your coffee game at home.

Custom design shoes - Head to Misha Mujer in Medellin to get customizable leather footwear. All products are handmade and you get to design your own shoes!

Places to eat & drink in Colombia

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Alquímico Rooftop Bar - This three level bar in Cartagena a vibrant experience with each level creating a different experience. Visit the rooftop bar for tropical Tiki drinks. They even offer cocktail making classes if you want to make your visit more unique.

La Cevichería - A local restaurant known for having some of the best ceviche in Cartagena.

ALMA Restaurante - Sit in the open-air courtyard to enjoy traditional Cartagena food. The upscale ambiance is perfect for a date night or special occasion celebration.

Dona Lola - This Cartagena restaurant has an incredible ambiance with interesting artwork and creative elements, in addition to the delicious traditional food.

Urbania Cafe - This stylish cafe in the heart of Medellin is a perfect place to enjoy an afternoon coffee. Surrounded by lush plants, this indoor outdoor cafe is not to be missed.

Restaurante el Cielo - Known for their tasting menu, Restaurant el Cielo is a unique experience with creative dishes and perfect presentation.

Mondongos Medellin - One of the most famous spots in Medellin, this traditional Colombian restaurant is visited by celebrities, locals and tourists alike.

OCI.mde - This Medellin restaurant is known for its intense flavors and contemporary style cuisine. With its industrial and tropical decor, this spot makes for a picturesque experience.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out my guide to Argentina: Best Things to do in Buenos Aires & Northern Argentina.

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