Cartagena, Colombia (named after Cartagena, Spain) is a quick 4.5 hour flight from New York City. The best part of Cartagena is the colorful colonial
walled portion which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. You can either walk or ride a bike on top of the walls around the city. Stop by at Cafe Del Mar to watch the sunset. Stay in one of the many 6 to 10 room boutique hotels where the architecture has been preserved on the outside but all the comforts of the modern world (wifi!!!) have been added on the inside. Although it is on the Caribbean Coast of South America, the beaches near the city are a waste of time. For beautiful beaches, take a day trip out to Rosario Islands (https://vacayhack.com/2015/09/05/pablo-escobar-was-here/).
We took a lancha 1.5 hours from Cartagena to the Rosario Islands, an archipelago off the coast of Colombia. Some of the islands are tiny and have just one house on them. The largest
in the archipelago is La Isla Grande. You can take any boat (una lancha) out to the cluster of islands from Cartagena- but then find a local guide on La Isla Grande. A speedboat can efficiently take you around the perimeter to get a close up view of the now empty and insanely vast vacation / party complex of drug lord Pablo Escobar. Our guide, Marcelo, also took us to a nearby reef to snorkel 😎 with some really colorful fish. This area was founded as a National Park in the late 1980’s to protect the beautiful coral reefs of this region. This area offers some of the best snorkeling in the caribbean sea. After a long day in the sun here, return to colorful Cartagena for dinner in the walled city.