Hot Spots

The 2006 It List

by Charles Runnette

Cartagena, Colombia

The last time you heard about Cartagena, Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas were flirting wildly with each other in Romancing the Stone. Remarkably, more than 20 years later, neither Cartagena nor Mr. Douglas seems to have aged at all. Call it the silver lining of the ongoing civil strife that plagues Colombia's countryside: scant development and virtually no American tourists. The lack of attention has left this walled city—and its cobbled streets, ornate churches, impressive battlements, and historic charm—entirely intact. Europeans, especially from the Iberian Peninsula, know all about Cartagena's UNESCO–honored buildings, its terrific beaches and snorkeling, and its historical allure. (So do passengers on Holland America's Panama Canal cruises, which call here.) They haven't let the guerillas stop them from coming: Most of the violence takes place in the deep jungle, hundreds of miles from here. Indeed, the State Department's blanket warning against traveling to Colombia glosses over the fact that many parts of the country, Cartagena included, have never been directly involved in the civil war. As you lay on the beach at the recently refurbished Hilton Cartagena, just outside of the city's walls on the tip of El Laguito Peninsula, peace and quiet is all you'll care about.

Hilton Cartagena
Tel: 575 665 0666
Tel: 800 445 8667
Email: reservations_cartagena@hilton.com

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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