Located in Hotel Casa Sana Agustin, a beautiful colonial house turned hotel, on one of the prettiest street corners in the old city; Alma’s speaks to the true colonial past of this wonderful city.
The menu shares many favorite Peruvian classics, with a mild influence of Colombian & Asian cuisines. Peruvian cuisine is quite in vogue throughout Colombia, thankfully.
The restaurant is open pretty much all the time, features courtyard dining and a lovely bar that opens during the evenings. Add in excellent service, cool AirCon and good wifi speed, and Alma quickly becomes the place to hide during the heat of the day. A great place to have a good coffee, bite of lunch and get some work done while visiting Cartagena.
Aji Miso marinated Chilean sea bass, grilled sweet chili shrimp, seaweed, and coconut miso sauce
Salmon tiradito with pink peppercorns, scallions, sea salt and Spanish olive oil
Asian tuna tar-tar tossed with ginger, onions and soy sauce served with avocado mash, papaya mole and yucca chips
Entering the Suite #1 at the Hotel Agua Baru is crossing into a separate reality. Your world shrinks and its horizons expand. Cross the threshold and let your clothes fall to the floor, you will not need them again till you leave. The entire Hotel was created by interior designer Gustavo Pinto four years ago.
Reaching the island brings you out the bay of Cartagena, past the old Spanish guard towers with their ancient chain winches, and past miles of mangroves. You can take a public boat to the town of Baru and then local transport, or you can spring for James Bond Speed Boat. There is nothing quite like relaxing on the padded bow and speeding across the blue waters with the sun shining high, the wind in your hair, and the world slipping past. At 250,000 per person, it is not in-expensive; but then if you are heading here saving money is not your priority.
Yes you can leave the room … but why? The bedroom and veranda give stunning views to the Caribbean down the long slope leading up to the top of the island where the cabaña is located. It is a good 10 min walk up a wooden staircase that winds through a garden. The private infinity pool is constantly refreshing and totally secluded from view. As the sun bakes your naked body, you find yourself plunging in many times a day.
If you wish to put on clothes and dunk in salt-water, Agua Baru offers free boat trips to a private, but not exclusive, beach across the bay. There you can play in the crystalline waters, but you will have bathers from other hotels and the ever-present beach vendors to share it with. You can also hire the hotel boat for a tour of the islands or a visit to the town of Baru.
If there is a weak point in the whole experience, it is the restaurant. It is pretty much your only option, you have to set your menu prior to arrival (as your ingredients travel via the same boat) and the quality is not the finest. The breakfast is a nice continental spread, and then the suggestion is to stick to local fare: Seafood, Ceviches, etc. Have all your meals brought up to the room, while the dining room is stunningly designed in bamboo and decorated by the owner of the Hotel, interior designer XXXX Pinto; you can marvel at it on your way in and out of the hotel. Dining on the veranda overlooking the sea in your robe is a much nicer experience!
We highly recommend the suite #1 due to its superior privacy and high altitude views (a seating area is built on the top of the room to give you a 360º view at the highest point on the surround isles). This just may be the best hotel room in the entire country of Colombia!
Case Blanca is an adorable guest house created by interior decorator Carlos Cubillos. Who’s loving touch can be seen in all aspects of the design. His ambiance gives you the feeling that you live there; One doesn’t feel like a guest, so much as a part of a larger family. The family of whomever is there at the time- be they staff, patrons or Carlos himself.
The building resides in the ‘San Diego’ district of the old city. Just outside the tourist path, but close enough to be a short walk from everything. It consists of 4 guest rooms, a small pool and roof deck. Adorned with paintings and works by the superbly talented and poignant artist Pedro Ruiz, Casa Blanca becomes a refuge from the heat and bustle that is Cartagena. There are many days that we forwent the outside world and whiled away the day in a hammock- just being.
The key to this family is the staff. They take care of you and give the feeling of welcome with their ever-present positiveness. The day starts with the included breakfast, some warm sun, lounging by the pool — just writing about it now, I pine for that feeling of purity.
Reataurant – Healthfood Store (57) 5 – 664 5239 (57) 5 – 660 2625 Calle de los Puntales No 37-01, San Diego Cartagena, Colombia
OPEN HOURS: 7:00 am – 6:30 pm Everyday
Girasoles is a moderately priced vegetarian Restaurant and health food store.
Girasoles offers complete lunch specials, but you have to arrive early as they run out of food starting about 1:30 PM.
It is also a good place to buy groceries, including free range eggs, whole wheat bread and the must delicious sesame seed horchata! If you bring an empty bottle, they will fill it with the horchata, with or without sugar, and the same goes for the daily juice.