Colombia, Where Ancient And Modern Go Hand-In-Hand: NNN Travel

photoedited

Forget Rio: Colombia is the hottest new South American destination, offering secluded white sandy beaches, colonial architecture and amazing nightlife. It’s also one of the most progressive countries south of the border, with same-sex couples beginning to tie the knot in September 2013.

For a taste of what Colombia truly has to offer, we’ve mapped out a 12-day itinerary that hops from Cartagena to Medellin and on to Santa Marta.

Cartagenacartagena_diversedited colombia

Grupo Maximo Agency is a one-stop shop for everything Colombia and specifically Cartagena. Spend a day touring the Old City or if you are the adventurous type, contact Cartagena Divers for some excellent scuba diving out at sea. Jump on a boat and zip out to Baru Island for the day if you’re searching for white sands and aquamarine, Caribbean waters.

Don’t miss a drive up to La Popa Monastery for a bird’s eye view of all of Cartagena. In the walled Old City, stroll through the shops and cafes as you make your way to Plaza Santa Domingo, easily found by locating the reclining female Botero sculpture in the southern corner. Need VIP access to the hottest clubs in town? Grupo Maximo Agency can hook you up with live music at Club Havana or easy access to one of the many discotheques in town like Cinema on Calle Arsenal or Studio 54 on Calle Larga.

tcherassi colombiaFor the fashion set, Tcherassi Hotel + Spa offers a sleek interior off the bustling streets of the Old City of Cartagena. The style of Silvia Tcherassi (the hotel’s Miami-based owner and famous Latin American fashion designer) touches each corner of this gem. Stop by for dinner or a drink but if you can, try to spend a few nights. Escape the tropical humidity on the roof where you’ll find a small pool that’s perfect for a cool dip. The rooms are large with vaulted ceilings and the bathrooms feature walk-in glass showers with fantastic rainfall shower heads.

Casa La Fe is ideally located on Plaza Fernandez de Madrid in the heart of Cartagena, offering a calm and relaxed atmosphere but with the convenience of the town’s antiquities and restaurants on the doorstep. The building dates from the Republican era and was restored to its former elegance by the current owners in 2005.

For the best roof pool in Cartagena, go straight to La Passion. Spend the afternoon lounging on poolside daybeds while sipping piña coladas as sounds of classical piano trickle over the walls from the ballet school next door. Few hotels have such character as La Passion, not to mention such an incredibly friendly staff and a rooftop breakfast to set your day on the right path.

Built within the walls of a former 17th century mansion, Casa Pestagua is a work of art.  The third floor “penthouse” is a1edited luxurious retreat and features a private roof Jacuzzi with ocean views of the sunset.  If you are looking for a great honeymoon, it doesn’t get more romantic than this.  The suite itself is massive with 20-foot exposed beam ceilings. The bathroom is draped in white marble with a walk-in shower recessed into the floor that takes up an entire side of the room. Stand under a deluge of water and feel like a Roman emperor.

karmairai If the city heat gets to you, book a few nights atKarmairi Hotel Spa which is a 20 minutes drive east of the old town. Enjoy the luxuries of being on your own private beach, right outside the city. This boutique hotel features an open air restaurant that spills out to a wide beach.  Recline at the pool before your spa treatment amongst the palm trees then dine at night under the stars with the ocean lapping upon the shore. Karmairi is the perfect escape from the Cartagena scene for a couple of nights. Nothing beats a morning jog along miles of empty beach.


Medellin

Medellin or “The City of Eternal Spring” sits amongst the Andes in a valley surrounded by peaks. Graced with a temperate climate, the city is a wonderful change from the humidity of the coast. Once plagued with crime, Medellin has experienced a renaissance of sorts in recent years and the world is starting to notice. In March of 2013 the city was named the most “Innovative City of the Year” in the Wall Street Journal, beating out both New York City and Tel Aviv. Don’t miss a stroll around Botero Plaza downtown or a vernacular ride up to Parque Arvi. The city’s Metro (or subway system) is clean, convenient and easy to use.

thecharleeNestled on a hillside in the fashionable neighborhood of Poblado, The Charlee Lifestyle Hotel feels like a touch of New York chic in the heart of the Andes. Rooms feature sliding glass walls that open up to huge balconies overlooking the entire city of Medellin. The hotel’s gym takes over the top two floors and membership is free for hotel guests. Check out the scene at the gym around 6p daily for a glance into the world of Medellin’s famed beautiful women and men.  At night, the rooftop turns into the club Envy, one of many all night parties in the neighborhood.

medellin art hotelA few blocks from The Charlee is Art Hotel, also in Poblado. With a dark lobby splashed with vibrant furniture and artwork, this industrial space boasts a stunning décor with a fabulous wine bar and a spa. Being steps from the nightlife and restaurants of Poblado make Art Hotel an excellent option for a few nights in Medellin.

el cielo colombiaFor an evening of fine dining, reserve a table at El Cielo, just a couple blocks from The Charlee Hotel. In an elegant, intimate atmosphere experience the full “quince momentos” menu… 15 Moments that you will be talking about for weeks. This is experiential dining at its best, with each sense teased through dinner starting with the rose scented hand “clay” at the beginning of the meal to the martinis that bubble in a haze of liquid nitrogen fog and the crackle of the explosive dessert.

burrotekAside from nightlife and dining, do not leave Medellin without exploring the nature that surrounds the city.  Burrotek Tours leads day trips into the mountains on horseback as well as trips outside of the city limits to nearby Guatape.

After a couple of hours on a horse, lunch is served overlooking the city and if you’re lucky, it will be homemade pork and chicken tamales!


Santa Marta & Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona

Santa Marta is South America’s oldest surviving city and the second most important colonial city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, after Cartagena.  The seaside town offers fabulous restaurants, historic plazas and tons of bars and cafes.   Though the actual beach in town is not fantastic, Santa Marta is a great jumping off point to reach the famed beaches within Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona as well as Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City).  Right in the heart of Santa Marta there are several high-end boutique hotels that we highly recommend.

casa isabella colombiaCasa Isabella is a stone’s throw from Parque de los Novios in the center of the Old City of Santa Marta.  If you are lucky enough to book the penthouse you’ll enjoy a private roof jacuzzi that is spectacular. Rooms include wifi, complimentary iPads and Apple TV as well as restored furniture and handmade adornments.  Breakfast is served outside, one floor up on an outdoor shaded deck.  The staff is warm and friendly and hugely helpful in setting up any plans around town.

Casa de Leda is located closer to the shopping district and feels like an oasis in the heart of Santa Marta.  The roof features open air dining and the huge, modern rooms feature vaulted ceilings, tons of natural lightcasa de leda and all the amenities of a luxury resort.  First owned by a wealthy family of Santa Marta’s golden age, the original house where Casa de Leda sits dates back to the late 19th century.   Escape the humid Caribbean air inside the hotel where the walls are lined with cascades of green vines and equipped with a cooling mist system.  Historic Santa Marta Cathedral is steps from the hotel’s entrance. Flat screen TVs in every room have media players with music stations and video libraries.

Casa Verde is a small boutique accommodation that was originally built in the 1920s. It has recently been fully restored into a five-room hotel close to the vibrant downtown area that is the home to beautiful parks, restaurants and historic buildings.  Inside the walls of Casa Verde there is a peaceful silence while right outside its walls are the bustling streets of Santa Marta.

There are several great options to dine in Santa Marta.  ouzo-pizzaeditedOn the edge of Parque de los Novios, try Ouzo for what many say is the best dinner in town.  Try the grilled octopus appetizer, a favorite on the menu, or one of the thin crust pizzas cooked in the central brick oven.  For lunch, hit Agave Azul for incredibly Mexican food.  Order a fresh mango margarita and a steak taco that will knock your socks off!

A quick 45 minute taxi ride east from Santa Marta and you will find yourself outside one of the main entrances of Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona.  Book a couple nights at Villa Maria vlla mariafor a room overlooking the mountains to the southwest and the ocean to the northeast.  Walk through the hotel’s garden where the owners grow pineapples, avocados, oranges and bananas.  If you cross the street and walk down a path through some palm trees you’ll find yourself on miles of untouched white sand.  Be careful in the surf as these beaches are known to be quite treacherous at certain times of year.  But definitely enjoy the solitude.  For a $35 (US) entrance fee, spend a day inside Tayrona Park.  By horseback you can reach secluded beaches that are only accessible by foot or horse path.  Be warned that the trails are somewhat rocky so if you are not an experienced rider, consider walking. 

cartagena_diversedited colombia

Source: NewNowNext

Starbucks se lanzaría a competirle al tradicional Juan Valdez

El presidente mundial de la compañía revelará los pormenores de una eventual incursión en Colombia.

A pesar del hermetismo con que se ha manejado la noticia, todo indica que Juan Valdez y otras marcas fuertes del país tendrán que abrirle espacio a un competidor de mucho peso: el gigante Starbucks. Los rumores de los últimos días sobre la llegada de estas tiendas a Colombia se confirmarán hoy, en una rueda de prensa que ofrecerá en Bogotá el presidente mundial de la compañía, Howard Shultz.

El interés de Starbucks en Colombia no es nuevo y la empresa estadounidense lo demostró el año pasado con la apertura de un laboratorio de calidad de café en Manizales.

“A esto hay que sumarle que un porcentaje del café que vende es producido en Nariño y que su relación con nuestro país cada vez es más cercana”, dijo un vocero de la Federación Nacional de Cafeteros, quien afirmó que la noticia de este desembarco no asusta al sector. “Por el contrario, la llegada de esta compañía sería un dinamizador para un mercado cada vez más activo”, afirmó.

Fernando Casas, director de franquicia maestra y marketing de Alsea, la empresa que maneja la marca Starbucks en varios países de la región, se abstuvo de confirmar o desmentir la incursión en Colombia y reiteró que “solo el presidente mundial ahondará en detalles sobre el tema”.

Cabe recordar que, recientemente, este operador de establecimientos de comida rápida, cafeterías y platos casuales en América Latina llegó a un acuerdo para adquirir el ciento por ciento de Starbucks Chile y Argentina. Además, opera las 492 tiendas que tiene en estos países y en México.

REDACCIÓN ECONOMÍA Y NEGOCIOS
Fuente: El Tiempo

¿Cuáles son tus 5 productos más colombianos del mercado? #LaRespuestaEsCOlombia

En respuesta a Toya Viudes de @ColombiaDeUna presentamos algunos de nuestros Productos Favoritos de #Colombia.

Nuestra Riqueza es Inmensa.

#LaRespuestaEsCOlombia

Esperamos a todos les guste este mostrario disponible en nuestra:

Red de Pinterest.com/RedesColombia
~ Galería Virtual de Colombia al Mundo

El romance de nuestro café con el expreso

El romance de nuestro café con el expreso

La variedad arábiga de Colombia se ha convertido en la pareja perfecta de la bebida italiana.

La variedad arábiga de Colombia se ha convertido en la pareja perfecta de la bebida italiana.

Alguna vez en el mundo del café se creyó que el suave y célebre grano colombiano no servía para hacer expreso. Se asociaba como óptimo, con toda su fama y calidad, para elaborar solo bebidas de café filtrado.

Sin embargo, la ruptura de ese paradigma, que se cultivó por décadas en el siglo XX, ya es un hecho. El reciente Campeonato Mundial de Baristas –de expertos preparadores de café– lo demostró, cuando el estadounidense Pete Licata ganó en Melbourne (Australia) el máximo trofeo al preparar un expreso, un capuchino y una bebida de su autoría con un café del Huila cultivado por el campesino Arnulfo Leguízamo.

La primera bandera

No es la única pista de este reciente romance entre el expreso –originario de Italia– y nuestro grano, que es en su totalidad de variedad arábiga. La primera bandera la puso William Davis, campeón mundial de barismo en el 2009, que usó un café venido del Huila, sin mezcla.

El uso de la variedad arábiga era casi inconcebible en la preparación del expreso. Para explicarlo, el barista y exportador de cafés especiales Luis Fernando Vélez, de la compañía Amor Perfecto, se remonta al origen de esta bebida, “que nació de un sistema de preparación que buscaba preparar café al momento”, por lo que fue desarrollada la máquina de expreso, a comienzos del siglo pasado.

Sigue leyendo

Where to Stay, Eat, Shop and Sightsee in Bogotá: Your Essential Travel Guide

20130703-181527.jpg

Lodging

Bogotá isn’t as chockablock with hotels as some other capitals, but both the number and the quality of accommodations are steadily rising, with some notable additions over the last two years. Splashiest among them is the 1 B.O.G. Hotel, which was included on this year’s Hot List. It’s a sleek, slender tower with 55 rooms and a rooftop pool and lounge in a prime shopping and dining neighborhood (639-9990; doubles from $312). Farther north and less expensive, the relatively new 2 Hotel Cabrera Imperial has 39 beautifully furnished, light-filled rooms (636-0699; doubles from $243). For a much different experience, the 3 Hotel de la Ópera is a sumptuous early-nineteenth-century oasis in the historic center, La Candelaria, which oozes character but feels less comfortable at night than during the day (336-2066; doubles from $172).
Sigue leyendo

Bravo Bogotá ~ Colombia’s Culinary comeback

Move over, Buenos Aires: South America’s newest culinary darling is Colombia’s comeback capital.

Crime is down, business is booming, and the restaurant scene is so hot that the food world’s biggest names are flying in for a taste.
Frank Bruni follows the buzz.

One of the culinary pioneers of the now-trendy Usaquén neighborhood, Abasto is part charming restaurant, part grocery store that stocks mostly local produce, grains, and meat.

Dinnertime is upon us, stars are all around us, and what’s before us on this blissfully balmy night in Colombia is no mere restaurant. It’s a whirling, twinkling dream, a wonderland of colored lights—on the steadily rotating blades of the decorative windmills that line the street in front of the place; on the gently swaying branches of the trees skirting it; alongside the paths that lattice the parking lot, which is as vast as any amusement park’s. As we shimmy into a spot, I catch my reflection in one of the car’s windows. When do I ever smile this widely?

I was prepped. I was stoked. At least half a dozen globe-trotting friends, savvy diners all, told me that Andrés Carne de Res, this steak house cum fun house about forty minutes (without traffic) from the center of Bogotá, was unlike anywhere they’d ever eaten, and that they couldn’t fathom why it wasn’t known and chattered about the world over. Already I can’t fathom that either.
Sigue leyendo

‘Sí hay recursos contra el fallo de La Haya’: Rafael Nieto Navia

20130702-115607.jpg

Miembro de la comisión asesora habla de las relaciones con firma que construirá canal interoceánico.

¿Usted sabía que la compañía gringa McLarty, de la que su yerno es gerente y socio, asesora al chino Wang Jing, contratado para construir el canal de Nicaragua?

No sabía.

Le creo. ¿Pero ahí no hay una cruzada de cables? Usted es asesor de Colombia en su defensa contra Nicaragua…

Aparentemente, pero no. Según me dijo mi yerno, Stephen Donehoo, el contrato de asesoría no es con ningún gobierno, sino con la compañía del chino. Ahí no hay manera de cruzar nada. Le di al periodista de Semana el teléfono de mi yerno para que hablara con él y lo verificara. No solo no lo llamaron, sino que, cuando escribió el artículo, puso un link a la lista de regalos de boda de mi hija. Eso fue con mala intención.

La coincidencia de que su yerno asesore a los constructores del canal sí amerita unas preguntas…

Está bien. Me hicieron las preguntas no solo en Semana sino por la radio, y las contesté. Pero yo no podía declararme impedido por un hecho que desconocía.

Sigue leyendo

A %d blogueros les gusta esto: