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A Birthday Trip Itinerary for Cartagena, Colombia

photo: Liz Banfield

What happens when a group of creatives goes to Cartagena, Colombia for a bucket list birthday trip? Tara Guerard, event designer extraordinaire, recently gathered up her best girl friends for such a trip filled with adventure, food and drinks, and hidden treasure. She's sharing her itinerary and top tips for planning your own girls trip to Cartagena. 

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Where to Stay

Cartagena, Colombia

"For the first part of the trip, we found a great VRBO house, which is what we would definitely suggest if going with a group, whether a birthday or bachelorette celebration. Here are some other great spots where we ate and explored. Inside tip: Make sure to stay in the walled city!

Hotel recommendations: Casa San Agustin, Tcherassi Hotel and Spa, Casa La Factoria, El Marquis Boutique Hotel" - Tara Guerard

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Hotel Sofitel Legend Santa Clara

Cartagena, Colombia
"This was a "bigger than boutique" hotel with a fun bar and live band where we enjoyed dancing one evening and an actual wedding reception was happening (so glad I wasn’t the one in charge!)." - Tara Guerard
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Restaurante Candelaria

Cartagena, Colombia
"Gorgeous interiors and an amazing meal: our server did not speak English so we basically asked him (via Google Translate) to have the chef send out all of his favorite dishes. It was the perfect way to experience this location! We also had them make us a variation on one of their specialty cocktails which was vodka, lime and coconut frozen into a slushy dream." - Tara Guerard
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Walking Tours

Cartagena, Colombia
"We did a walking tour with Brian Munoz of Cartagena Concierge. It was amazing because he was a local who really knew his stuff and was fun to be with. We toured the Monastery which is the highest point in the city, the fort and some of the neighborhoods outside of the walled city like Getsemani (the Brooklyn of Cartagena)." - Tara Guerard
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La Cevichería

Cartagena, Colombia
"Anthony Bourdain featured it on a Parts Unknown. We had a late afternoon snack and enjoyed their casual outdoor dining feel." - Tara Guerard
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Cartagena Coffee Shops

Cartagena, Colombia
"On my morning run, I discovered two lovely little breakfast/coffee shops: Cafe La Manana, and Epoca Espresso Bar." - Tara Guerard
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Rosario Islands

Colombia
"We spent the last half of our trip out in the Rosario Islands. We stayed in a private home once owned by the former president of Colombia – we had a boat take us from Cartagena to the house so we could drop our stuff and then took us on a 2-hour tour of the Rosario Islands and snorkeling. The boat tour was through This Is Cartagena: we got to snorkel near one of Pablo Escobar's old homes and around one of his crashed planes." - Tara Guerard
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Carmen

Cartagena, Colombia
"This is MUST, try to get a reservation as soon as you know you will be traveling, well worth it, one of the best meals I've had anywhere in the world. Service was top notch!" - Tara Guerard
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Shopping

Cartagena, Colombia
"Shopping spots not to be missed are St. Dom (Johanna Ortiz is featured here) and Casa Chiqui (accessories and home decor). There are tons of fabulous linen shops, hat vendors, and places to buy locally made raffia statement jewelry just about everywhere you turn." - Tara Guerard
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Agua de Azul Island

Colombia
"Across the water from our home was an island called Agua de Azul... you pull a boat up and find one of the guys that runs one of the food shacks on the island. Ordering cocktails and food is the only way to get one of the seats on the island. That lunch was probably one of the best meals we had on our entire trip. Families catch fresh shrimp and fish right there off of the island and grill it on one of the charcoal pits. Served hot with a lime wedge and plantains – delicious." - Tara Guerard

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Lobo de Mar

Cartagena, Colombia
"We had drinks at Lobo de Mar which was a great cocktail spot pre- or post-dinner!" - Tara Guerard
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Maria

Cartagena, Colombia
"This restaurant and bar had vibrant interior design and a fun vibe, it made for a great girls night out." - Tara Guerard

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