Hit the Beach before Breakfast
Cartagena’s fitness fanatics start early to beat the heat so if you’re worried about the calorie intake you are better off joining the body beautiful on a dawn stroll along Bocagrande.
Take in the 17th century Spanish ramparts en route, walking along the old city walls to grab a beautiful view of the Caribbean.
If you're not an early bird and have been clocking up too many late finishes then grab another hour in bed before heading straight to a delicately fresh breakfast at Hotel Casa San Agustin.
Bask in the early-morning sunshine in Alma Resturant's alfresco open air courtyard, tucking in to delicious local fruits and renowned signature pastries.
San Felipe Castle
Before it gets too hot, head to San Felipe Castle, a short walk outside the city walls or a COP$6,000 (US$3.00) taxi ride. Soak up the secrets of Cartagena’s troubled colonial past and learn of the city's place at the heart of the battle between the Spanish and British empires for the gold of the New World.
Take plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. If you don't suffer from claustrophobia explore the network of tunnels throughout the 17th century fortifications that defended Spanish loot from the best efforts of British buccaneers to expropriate the riches in the name of the Queen.
Stop! Refreshments Time
Grab a taxi back into the Old Town and make a beeline for Ábaco, a laid-back cafe-cum-bookstore which offers refreshingly cool lemonade frappes and great coffees to keep your caffeine levels topped up.
If you're in the mood you can delve straight into a chapter of Gabriel 'Gabo' Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera, one of his most famous books based in Cartagena while enjoying one of the city's most generous interior spaces.
If you've worked up an appetite for something sweet - you're on holiday so what the heck - head for Gelateria Paradiso for deliciously decadent icecream. Try the chocolate for a sinfully rich treat or Mora for something lighter.
Lunch at La Perla
After all that walking, reward your appetite with this Pearl of the Caribbean, known among gourmands for fantastic Peruvian food at great prices.
Famed for its tiraditos - thin strips of fresh tuna or sea bass cured intiger milk (Peruvian marinades with a Capiscum or yellow chilli kick) or Nikkei variations that incorporate Peru's strong Asian gastronomic ties - La Perla has managed to stay one step ahead of the Andean pack by freshening up its menu at least once a year.
For the classic favourites, try the classic Ceviche Corvina (sea bass ceviche) or the Lomo La Perla, a sirloin steak served with a Roquefort-laced sauce served on a bed of creamy mushroom rice.
The owner's passion for cocktails comes through in La Perla's impressive selection of Caribbean creations. Standout tragos include the Mojito Mango Biche made with green mango or a Pisco Sour Maracuya, given a little extra zip with lashings of Passion Fruit citric goodness.
Gifts To Remember
As the sun sinks lower, slip back into the cobbled alleyways of the Old Town to discover some exquisite emerald beauties at Lucy Jewelry, just a hop skip and a jump from La Perla.
With hundreds of emeralds of differing qualities and tones, Lucy and her affable team pride themselves on being able to find visitors 'the right emerald for the right price'.
Her bilingual staff also help cut through the mystery and pitfalls of selecting that special stone for that special someone.
Located a precious stone's throw from Plaza Santo Domingo, Lucy's luxurious store is every bit as eye-catching as her glittering merchandise.
Our favourites include the intricate filigree works by nimble-fingered masters from Mompos and the emerald and diamond encrusted chokes that will leave your peers feeling green with envy.
For this evening's threads, you can head to Italian yachting, polo and designer sportswear label Paul & Shark.
Cocktails at Sunset
Head towards the cool sea breeze for Cartagena's golden hour at Marea by Rausch, the perfect place to soak up a stellar view and sip a cocktail.
Late afternoon is the best time of the day in Cartagena and it's to be savoured - the hour as the sun plunges into the sea illuminating the sky into a hazy blush pink.
Head to Marea by Rausch at the Convention Centre just near the Muelle de Los Pegasos - an exceptional seafood restaurants that not only boasts a sensational sea view, but also deliciously refreshing cocktails. Enjoy afternoon snack made from the finest ingredients - French bread with sun-dried tomatoes and costeño cheese, as well as divine French desserts - pretty much everything on the dessert menu will satisfy sweet-toothed visitors.
Dinner at Don Juan
Feeling peckish? Grab a table at the atmospheric Don Juan in Cartagena’s Old Town. Featuring a seafood-centric menu and an eponymous chef, Juan Felipe Camacho, who chalked up his culinary credentials in two Spanish Michelin-starred enclaves.
This superior haunt for lovers of fine dining and fine design is a must for any visiting gourmand. Go with the grilled Octopus or the seafood risotto, just two of the killer dishes picked up by this Don Juan in an apprenticeship very well spent in Spain's Basque region.
Dance the Night Away at Cachao
Get ready to savour the decadent abandon of pre-revolution Cuba with a salsa-licious evening at Cachao. You'll find this exclusive club close to the historic city walls in the stylish disctrict of San Diego.
Kick off your evening with one of 17 different types of mojitos (the Corozo is a must) and get your "juma" on to the sounds of the bar's namesake, Israel 'Cachao' López.
Lovingly restored to revive the grand colonial-style mansions of Cuba's pre-Castro sugar barons, Cachao's walls pay tribute to the guarachero greats whilst the traditional red and white parquet-tiled courtyard is the perfect place to get into a spin or just kick back with a Cohiba and admire the view.