Meeting Pablo Escobar’s Brother and Sleeping in Hammocks in Colombia | Travel Diary

Our series about wanderlust-worthy vacation hotspots, with local picks (and gorgeous pics) from our intrepid Nordstrom crew.

Travel Diary, Colombia

Who: Lauren Adey

Title: Regional Marketing & PR Specialist, Nordstrom Canada

Where: Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia

Why did you choose this destination?

At the time of my trip, Colombia still felt underexposed in terms of tourism in comparison to other South American destinations. I also admired the country’s diverse culture, history and beaches.

Cartagena, Colombia

What did you wear there?

As with any South American country, the temperatures were very high at all times. Shorts, sleeveless tops and lots of sundresses.

Was there anything you wish you had brought but didn’t?

More time. Oh, and the ability to speak Spanish.

Medellin, Colombia

Recommended shoes:

It truly depends on the activity. Adventures required sneakers, sandals for the beach and when exploring The Old City in Cartagena, you absolutely must wear the brightest shoes you own. It’s a sure way you’ll get the best photo in front of the beautiful and vibrant-colored stone buildings.

Cartagena, Colombia

Favorite place to eat:

La Cevichera in The Old City in Cartagena. We managed to somehow sneak in without much of a wait, while we heard other guests would stand around for up to two hours to dine, but let me tell you, it was worth it. La Mulata was also very tasty in The Old City. In Santa Marta, an absolute must visit is Lulo, located in a small alley, decorated with festive lights and filled with live local music. This experience was nothing less than euphoric. Of course, you can’t forget to try fresh fruit and empanadas from local street vendors; they’re also very delicious.

Favorite nightlife venue:

Happy Buddha Boutique Hostel in Medellin.


Where did you visit?

The Old City in Cartagena, Playa Blanca of the Rosario Islands, Medellin, Santa Marta and El Yunque National Park.


Favorite activity:

It’s a tie between paragliding in Medellin and while visiting the house in which Pablo Escobar lived, meeting his brother and bookkeeper, Roberto Escobar.

What’s something cool that you learned? 

It is possible to cry uncontrollably over stray animals and sacrifice your own meal in order to feed them. Oh, and paragliding can cause awful motion sickness after the act.

Playa Blanca, Colombia

Favorite memory:

Sleeping in hammocks on the beach in Playa Blanca and waking up 20 feet from the Caribbean Sea.

Tyron National Park, Santa Marta

Where do locals go?

In Cartagena, Islas del Rosario.
In Medellin, El Poblado (Comuna 14).
In Santa Marta, Taganga Beach.

Did you meet any interesting locals?

We met Pablo Escobar’s brother, Roberto, on a guided tour in Medellin. We also met an American who had lived in Medellin for 10 years. He owned property there, which he rented to other like-minded Americans. He loves the Colombian culture, so much in fact that he almost convinced us to stay.

Cartegna, Colombia

If you were to move there, what do you think you’d do for a living?

If working for Nordstrom weren’t an option, I’d probably want to open an inn in a small town. It would be in an historic building and I’d pick up pieces over time in order to perfectly furnish it. There would be hammocks everywhere and the property would have the most breathtaking landscape you’ve ever imaged and of course, it would absolutely have to be within a five-minute walk from the beach.

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