Accommodation: Centro Hotel has a convenient, central location in the Old Town in Cartagena, and within the building walls, is small and peaceful. Nonetheless, rooms are rather poorly equipped with the bare minimum of luxuries, and the shower in our room was without hot water. Thankfully, air conditioning was available amid the humid heat of Cartagena. Approximately 20 GBP/200 HKD per person per night.
Food: Try the Colombian version of ceviche, often served with a tropical twist compared to its Peruvian counterpart. Also try arepas de queso, a staple in Colombian cuisine, preferably from the street-side stalls for the true authentic experience. If this is your only stop in Colombia, definitely visit one of the independent cafes for a delightful cup of coffee. Finally, immerse yourself in the tropical atmosphere by trying plantains, coconut rice, or exotic fruits.
For restaurants, have at least one meal at El Boliche Cebicheria or La Cevicheria, both of which are famous for their takes on Colombian ceviche. If you instead prefer fine dining, make reservations at Carmen or Restaurante 1621, but you may need to dress more formally, a challenge in the sweltering heat. Finally, head to La Cocina de Pepina in Getsemaní for a filling and authentic lunch experience.
With more time: there are numerous other attractions around Cartagena. These include El Totumo, a small mud volcano where you can float and be massaged in the mud (though we heard that this may be a bit of a tourist trap); Playa Blanca, a white sand beach an hour away from Cartagena; Palacio de la Inquisición, the site of the gruesome Spanish inquisition; or Convento de la Popa, a monastery perched on top of the highest hill in Cartagena offering views of Castillo de San Felipe and the whole of Cartagena.