To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 57 (country code for Colombia) and the local number.
WHERE TO STAY:
Hotel Caribe Cartagena, 2 87 Bocagrande Carera 1a, 5-665-0155, http://www.hotelcaribe.com . Beautiful gardens and beachside location are big pluses. Poolside restaurant with live music many nights. Standards with king bed or twin doubles begin at $134.
Hotel Charleston Cartagena, Plaza Santa Teresa, Plaza Santa Teresa, 31--23 Carera 3a; 5-664-9494, http://www.hoteles-charleston.com . The former Convento de Santa Teresa is built around two historic courtyards in the old colonial center. Standard $203.
Hotel Tres Banderas, 38-66 Calle Cochera del Hobo; 5-660-0160, http://www.hotel3banderas.com , Clean, pleasant family-run hotel in a central location. Doubles from $48. No children.
WHERE TO EAT:
La Bodeguita del Medio, 33-81 Calle Santo Domingo; 5-660-1993. Authentic and modestly priced Cuban fare, including garlicky pork and good mojitos. Entrees $8-$15.
Café del Santísimo, 8-19 Calle del Santísimo; 5-664-3316. Excellent seafood entrees, inventive salads and luscious desserts served in a beautiful candlelighted courtyard. Pricey and worth it. Entrees from about $15.
El Mar de Juan, El Mar de Juan Centro, Plaza San Diego, Calle del Torno; 5-664-2782. Atmospheric, reasonably priced seafood restaurant with live music. Entrees $10-$19.
TO LEARN MORE:
Consulate of Colombia, 8383 Wilshire, Suite 420, Beverly Hills, CA 90211; (323) 653-9863, http://www.colombiaemb.org .
— Reed Johnson