Maybe you—much like half of the civilized world it sometimes seems—fell in love with the Netflix series Narcos, which did a deep dive on the life and career of the late drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. Now that he’s no longer wreaking havoc in Colombia, you want to check out this legendary South American country for yourself. Allow us to introduce you to Cartagena, a city on the southern border of the Caribbean that offers beauty, glamour, and the thrill of a not-so-distant dangerous past. Our top pick for food in this city of about a million is the small, nearly hidden La Cevicheria, known for, of course, its ceviche, as well as a homemade hot sauce that could probably fuel a fighter jet. There are also plenty of museums and galleries, as well as the notorious Palacio de la Inquisicion—with its dark and grisly past now laid bare for all to see. But don’t be scared. Cartagena is relatively safe these days, and it’s an adventure you won’t soon forget. The trick with cruising to Colombia is to keep an extra-sharp eye on the weather. The 400-mile trip from Aruba—a common stopoff for South America-bound cruisers—can get pretty nasty. So watch those weather reports. And once you get to Cartagena, head to Club Nautico, with its 11 feet of water, and drop anchor. After that, it’s Viva Colombia!
La Cevicheria, +575-664-5255; lacevicheriacartagena.com;
Club Nautico, +57-5-660-4863; www.clubnauticocartagena.com