For the ultimate cup or cone of handmade, artisan ice cream in Cartagena, look no further than the homemade thrills and frills of Maria Nevett's glorious gelato parlour, Gelataria Paradiso.
Address: Calle del Cuartel Esq with Calle de la Estrella, Cartagena, Colombia
Rating: TIC User Rating
Rating: Trip Advisor
Step inside the glamorous Venezuelan owner's oh-so-pretty, white-wickered, floral-patterned parlour and be transported to a tropical oasis where the humble helado is elevated heavenward thanks to an unwavering dedication to using only the very best, 100% natural ingredients.
Following the tried and tested techniques learned from master Italian gelato makers, Nevett has wrapped up the iced sugar rush market in her musical corner of Cartagena, just a couple of blocks from the Plaza Santo Domingo.
Favoured by the famous—Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos won't scoop anywhere else and president Barack Obama declared the ice cream version of the Cartagena afternoon life-saver, the limonada de coco, the highlight of the Summit of the Americas—Cartagena's most exclusive hotels have taken the hint. Hilary Clinton has even stopped over for a scrummy scoop as well as acting legend, Susan Sarandon, who swooped by during her FICCI film festival stay. Need we name-drop some more?
Cartagena's hottest hotel restaurants have stopped making their own ice cream and now ship creamy batches of Nevett's airy gelato made daily from a colourful kaleidoscope of Caribbean fruits including zapote, corozo, cereza costeña, maracuya and lulo in to cool down their guests.
Recently, they've added some original national flavours into their ice cream mix, including Cartagena's cherry-cola brand, Kola Roman, Milo chocolate and the strange and wonderful basil.
The ever-changing ice cream cabinet is complimented by an enticing list of menu items including decadent chocolate brownies, cookies, milkshakes, Illy coffee, teas and juices.
And whoever said you can't enjoy your ice cream warm, hasn't checked out Paradiso's innovatve magic machine which wraps a delicious home-made brioche bun around your favourite scoop of ice cream. Hot on the outside, cold on the inside, it's hands down the best sandwich we have ever tried.
Before the early afternoon sugar rush hour, the place is relatively quiet and works as a great place for working remotely. The macchiato is one of the best in town and a great selection of herbal teas make it a great spot to catch up with some emails.
No wonder it's become a regular fixture on the recommended lists of worldly guides such as Condé Nast Traveller.
For sinfully sweet indulgences, this gelato Garden of Eden is the perfect paradise.
Cartagena's nerve centre serves up breathtaking colonial architecture, the city's top attractions, finest hotels, eateries and drinking dens as well as being the administrative and cultural heart of the city.
Constructed on one of three islands that are now connected to the Colombian mainland, the historic walled city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
Ever since UNESCO made the announcement the money has poured into restoring the incredible architecture contained inside its historic walls. Wandering aimlessly through Cartagena's historic center is without question it's one of the highlights of any trip to Colombia.
Centro has lost none of its importance over the last three centuries, thanks to the universal allure of its colonial pomp and the concentration of government buildings, hotels, tourist attractions, bars and restaurants in the area.
While the riches of the region no longer flow through Cartagena on their way from Colombia, Peru and Ecuador to Spain, the city has maintained its position as the colonial gem in Colombia's Caribbean crown.
Cartagena's best hotels and restaurants have taken over the uber-casas built by slave traders and Spanish plunderers in the 17th century.
The richest residents knocked up stunning two and three-storey mansions by the westernmost tip of the walled city, where they bagged the sea breeze, added security, papal pardons and the chance to get an early first whiff of pirates.
While it was home to the slave traders of yesteryear, today not much has changed with only those at the very top of Colombia's rich list able to afford to maintain these opulent houses in their original residential state.
As well as hosting the most opulent churches and principal tourist landmarks, Centro is home to the best bars and restaurants in Cartagena.
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