Black Meetings and Tourism

May/June 2012

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ing some of the gorgeous old homeswith balconies that feature lush, cascading plants and flowers. During my visit, I toured the Museum of the Inquisition where many of the trials were held to sentence individuals to death, and where one can view examples of the many appara- tuses used for torture in the name of the church. The space today also is used for events, with a large courtyard that can hold up to 300. for up to 200 people. If visiting, be sure to check out the beau- tiful picture of the Madonna that hangs behind the front desk and the roof terrace that offers superb views of the city. The Las Americas Global Hotel features 240 rooms and an international Convention and Exhibition Center with a 2,000 plus person capacity. The resort features incredible views of the Caribbean Sea and a roof top pool area that can be used for private events. Imperial Suite, Hotel Santa Clara Cartagena For meeting planners and incentive groups, Cartagena offers a number of unique spaces perfect for gatherings ranging from 20 to over 3,500. Small dinner parties can be held in venues like private colonial homes (the impressive Casa Pestagua is an example), or the El Santisimo Restaurant, which features Caribbean cuisine named after catholic saints and rituals. Unique events can be held at the Adolfo Mejia Theater, built between the ruins of the LaMerced Church dating from 1625, or at San Felipe Fortress, one of the forts outside the walled city, built for added protection against pirate attacks. Other unique spaces can be found at many of the city's ele- gant hotels, including the Hotel Sofitel Santa Clara, the St. Teresa, and the newly opened Las Americas Global Hotel. The Hotel Sofitel Santa Clara was originally built as a monastery in 1621 and its walls, which acted as a shield in ancient times, wrap around a stunning interior, which blends colonial balconies with lovely, contemporary architecture. The St. Teresa Hotel also once served as a monastery for Carmelite nuns, and its original chapel can be used for events 22 If venturing outside the Old City, you'll find many other options to take advantage of, including shopping for emer- alds on the Bocagrande, or one may take a half day boat ride to explore other unique sites near the Rosario Islands. I boarded the 30 passenger Insistencia and took off to check out Punta Iguana, a private club that can be rented for events. Lunch was buffet-style at the Royal Decameron Baru, an all-inclusive resort located on the island of Baru with white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, protected by multicolor coral reefs. The resort has its own state of the art convention center with a capacity of 700, and 330 rooms, of which 45 offer oceanfront views. I ended my stay in Cartagena with a nighttime tour of the city by horsedrawn carriage, and dining at San Pedro Restaurant, located on San Pedro Square. A trip to two local nightclubs revealed a vibrant, fun nightlife where many dance until the wee hours of the morning. For more information on Cartagena, visit Black Meetings & Tourism May/June 2012:

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