Camilla’s Lowdown: “Cartagena de Indias, a shopaholic’s paradise”

Literally a paradise – not just the sparkling ocean and nearby white sandy islands, or the elegant plazas, colonial houses and clip-clopping horse and carriages. Cartagena is the place to indulge in some retail therapy – and with the Colombian Peso at a record low against the Dollar, you can grab yourself a bargain or three. From small boutiques, local artisans, chic designers and larger concept stores – Cartagena has ‘todos’ – everything!

Paradizia Swimwear

Look glam, sipping a cocktail by the pool or at the beach in a swimsuit from Paradizia. Fun and flirtatious designs with beautiful handmade embroidery. This Colombian brand has collections in Europe, Latin America and the USA. Don’t forget to sneak a peek at the funky accessories in store to jazz up your beachwear. Printed bikinis are in rich, tropical colors. Embellished one-pieces are stylish and unique.

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Galería Cano

There’s no better place than Galería Cano for indulgent and sumptuous souvenirs and gifts. Find jaw dropping reproductions of the Eldorado pre-columbian treasures in 18k and 24k gold – from the ‘Museo del Oro’ and other private collections. Choose a precious or semi-precious stone for that special someone. Dazzling gems are of the highest quality and set in intricate designs. Of course, you can’t fly home without taking a Colombian emerald with you. Avoid the unscrupulous street sellers and let knowledgable and highly trained experts at Galeria Cano pick you out the perfect stone or gift.

Plaza Bolívar No. 33-20. 575-664-7078, www.galeriacano.com

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Beatriz Camacho

Think tribal prints, Caribbean colours, chiffon and silk. Internationally renowned, Colombia’s leading fashion forward designer, Beatriz Camacho dresses Cartagena’s most elegant ladies and celebrities alike. Attentive staff in the boutique will help choose the ultimate outfit to suit you, or have Beatriz Camacho herself design your very own, bespoke, made-to-measure garment. You won’t have to sacrifice style for anything else –  rest assured that this fashion house remains committed to worker-development programs, fair pay, local sourcing and local manufacturing. Be the belle of the ball in a Beatriz Camacho dress.

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Ábaco, Libros y Café

No need to sit and twiddle your thumbs while your nearest-and-dearest is trying on every single shoe and dress in the city. Head to Ábaco, Libros y Café – bookshop, stroke, café – to reenergise with a frothy-white cappuccino. Literary buffs will be delighted by the range of titles in Spanish and English. Delve into a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novela, peruse local photography books and find your perfect beach read.

Calle de la Iglesia 3-86, Cartagena de Indias, 575-664-83-38, http://www.abacolibros.com

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Camilla Harrison-Allen

Instagram: @charrisonallen

Twitter: @charrisonallen

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