Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

JUL-AUG 2019

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It took about 45 minutes to get to the Islas de Rosario (Rosario Islands), which included a close look at Pablo Escobar's abandoned secret island mansion. I loved asking the tour guides to tell stories of Escobar; they were all di•erent, •lled with animation and likely embellished details. We snorkeled around the islands before stopping at Acasi. €ere, we were greeted by a host who led us through a short trail to a small restaurant and beachside seats where we spied just one other couple there from our hotel. €e sand was soft and light, and the water was warm, calm, and turquoise-colored. After a swim, we sat down for a typical Colombian lunch with assorted kinds of seafood, plaintains, coconut rice, exotic fruits, and squid served in a coconut shell. We were told the chef stays on the island for a month at a time to prepare for guests. €e next day, we toured the art district of Getsemani, once again "abducting" a local; this time, the hotel's private driver, Roberto. We gave him a list of places to take us with our guide who had greeted us without a car. In Getsemani, there is street after street of colorful walls, ‰owered balconies, mural art, shops, galleries, and eateries. On what would seem like a dangerous street •lled with gra‹ti, a local approached us with a smile saying "Bienvenidos," or "welcome to the area." A famous Salsa singer, a Colombian Pocahontas, and various images of social movements decorate the walls at Plaza de la Trinidad. We stopped in a local gallery to see artists at work; in another, a music video was being filmed. The famed Gertrudis statue by Botero rests back in Old Town in the Plaza de Santo, near a few smaller museums. One of our favorites in that area was a rotating exhibit inside El Claustro Hotel House. We spent the last hours of our vacation shopping for emeralds. While I'm not one to shop and tell, I highly recommend the Caribe Jewelry family for quality jewels. A set of brothers owns the business, and they can make anything you'd like during your stay as well as educate visitors on how to buy emeralds and where in the world to •nd the best ones (Colombia, Zambia, Pakistan, and Russia). The one suggested tourist attraction we did not see? The Totumo Mud Volcano. Google some blogger experiences though, and you might leave it off your list as well. I would highly recommend exploring Cartagena. €e U.S. dollar is strong, the culture is rich, the locals are extremely friendly, and it's beautiful— like a small European city infused with vibrant Caribbean ‰are. We certainly had a great time, and most importantly, our safety was never in question. sl €e wall inside the pool dates back to the 16th century when it functioned as part of an aqueduct. Formerly used as an apartment building, it has been the Casa San Agustin hotel for six years. From tasteful gra‹ti to colorful walls and ‰owered balconies like those in New Orleans every street is worth exploring. Don't forget to watch out for cars and bicyclists zipping down the narrow streets as you look around. A typical local dish served at the private kitchen at Acasi. Sta• live on the island for a month at a time, waiting to delight tourists with cuisine and hospitality. slmag.net 57

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