On The Road

Cross Cartagena Off Your Travel Bucket List

Cuyana co-founder Karla Gallardo shares the Colombian city’s secret spots.

By: Hannah Baxter

Getting lost in the winding, cobblestone streets of a new city is one of our absolute favorite parts of traveling. Couple that with easy access to a beach, a handful of delicious meals, and plenty of live music and you’ve pretty much found our ultimate dream vacation. Leave it to Karla Gallardo, co-founder of global lifestyle brand Cuyana, to turn us on to Cartagena, Colombia, the next must-see destination on our getaway checklist. Luckily, the seasoned world traveler was more than willing to let us in on some BTS action in the South American city, where everything seems tailor-made for Instagram envy—the buildings are every color of the rainbow!

Gallardo, who grew up in Ecuador, had no problem discovering the best spots in the city that inspired Cuyana’s latest collection. After seeing all the pictures from her trip, we had absolutely no problem falling in love as well. Prepare to book a flight ASAP!

“When I arrive in a new place, I like to spend my time there as if I were a local. Immersing myself in a new culture accesses that free spirit that seems to fade during the busy day-to-day of modern life. My life in San Francisco is so fast paced, taking time to slow down while getting away is essential to shutting off and relaxing. When I arrived in Cartagena, I fell in love with the romantic corners, vibrant colors, and sultry streets. Whether it be musing over the Spanish Colonial architecture, or laying on the beach for extended periods, it allows me to tap out for a moment.”

“Our summer campaign is inspired by self-discovery through traveling to new destinations, and the beautifully vibrant city of Cartagena, Colombia was one of our musings.”

“Escape, for me, is rooted in quality time with my family. We enjoy long meals, get lost in off- the-beaten-path neighborhoods and explore local celebrations. Asking the locals for their recommendations is a great starting point. Right when we arrived they led us to La Paletteria for paletas—the perfect indulgence on a hot day.”

“I love concluding days by the sea with a long meal. The best are accompanied by close friends and family, with delicious local food and glowing sun-kissed skin. One evening, after a long day of shooting, we spent hours at Restaurante Alma, which has a mix of outdoor and indoor space, and amazing live music that reminds you of the vibrant city that surrounds you.”

“Everything in Cartagena is so bold and bright. From the colors that dance on the streets to the tastes and sounds. It’s an energizing experience for the senses.”

“Casa Pombo has unassuming doors in front that hide the most beautiful entrance with a shallow pool and citrus trees. I was totally smitten just by the entry. The historic mansion houses only five rooms, which makes it feel really special.”

“Cartagena is a summer destination for Latin Americans. I felt so close to my home in Ecuador.”

“Playa Blanca is a beautiful rustic beach that’s well worth the journey from the city. You can also get a small boat to take you to a more secluded island if you want to avoid the crowds that often come with the main beach. The colors of the sunset were unreal.”

“The light was just right, the humidity strong, and the energy always high. I wanted to see every part of the old town, and was mesmerized by the beautiful textures on every corner.”

“Every shoot needs music and mood!”

“We traveled with photographer and friend of the brand, Alice Gao. She captured the organic moments behind the scenes, and all of the stunning details throughout the city.”

“Miss Universe was doing a parade in Cartagena on the day of our summer campaign shoot. The streets were closed and we had to figure out ways of getting around to the locations we had scouted the day before. Our driver paid a lot of workers to get us through the streets that were closed. We were continually stopped by the locals who asked if our model was one of the ‘Misses’.”

“It wouldn’t be a trip to South America without a straw hat, and nobody does them quite like Cuyana.”

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