Best spring getaway: Cartagena, Colombia

by Christina Saratsis (Madewell)

After working hard through the winter months and trudging through miles of NYC snow (well, sort of), I decided to treat myself to a sunny getaway as a reward of sorts. I wanted to find something off the beaten path, so I decided to go into unchartered territory—unchartered by me, that is, but not by numerous socialites, fashion editors and artists. I had heard the buzz about Cartagena, Colombia, for years now and decided to explore it myself.

While Cartagena is technically on the Caribbean sea, it’s a sensory mix of Latin American and Afro-Caribbean culture. Take a stroll down the historic quarter and you’ll be face-to-face with beautiful old mansions, boutique hotels, fusion-y restaurants, galleries and local fashion designers. It’s basically Latin America’s answer to St. Barts.

There was music in the streets, local street vendors selling everything from juice to fried plantains and arepas, flower-filled balconies, remodeled convents turned into hotels and countless plazas where one can spend hours idly watching the scene.

I was feeling pretty inspired by these waterproof, ceviche juice–proof place mats we had at the amazing Anthony Bourdain–approved hole-in-the-wall restaurant La Cevicheria.

While I’m hesitant to give away my “secret” destination, it’s the perfect five-day getaway. Just close enough to be a short jaunt and just far enough to make you feel like a different person when you return.