NEW KID ON THE ROMANTIC BLOCK
Colombia is a romantic's dream and fast emerging as the 'it' destination. The country's energy and colourful character, boutique retreats and design hotels, offer stylish accommodation options a plenty. The very name Cartagena conjures romance and Galavanta's knowledge of Colombia's beautiful, chic cities is unmatched. But there is also much more to Colombia - romance flourishes on white sandy Caribbean beaches, in secret rainforest pockets, on mountain ridges, in cloud forests, on open savannahs and coastal deserts. Colombia truly has something for every romantic.
The cobbled streets and upmarket restaurants of the iconic Caribbean city of Cartagena, have long drawn couples seeking a romantic retreat. Santa Clara, which once served as a convent, sits on the picture-perfect Plaza San Diego Square. The hotel's finely renovated Amaral suite is ideal for couples, with its beautiful private terrace and sea views, whirlpool bath and personal butler. Casa San Augustin, an authentic boutique hotel reimagined to keep the colonial heritage intact, provide roses, aromatherapy sets and candles in all rooms to set the romantic mood. Private dinners, salsa lessons and rum tasting sessions with fascinating mixologists are all on offer. Twenty miles from the city lies the Rosario Islands, a dreamy Caribbean archipelago and tropical paradise, best experienced by private speedboat or yacht.
Let's leave the cities behind (for now) and set out by hot air balloon over the lush rolling hills of the coffee region, champagne in hand, the cares of the world quickly floating away. On landing, jump aboard a jeep and ride (standing up on the back of course) to the stunning Cocora Valley, to discover a romantic picnic set amongst the soaring 60-meter wax palms. Ride by helicopter into the cloud forest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Casa Galavanta, a stunning exclusive-use retreat where gentle days include nature treks, yoga, massage, learning the secrets of the regions cuisine and the secrets of your loved one. Known as 'the most beautiful town' in Colombia, Barichara is paradise personified, with its laid-back vibes, striking canyons and perfect weather all year-round. Clients can experience white-water rafting, coffee plantations and local artisans, all surrounded by dramatic landscapes. Galavanta offer beautiful private villas staffed by attentive teams. From here, adventurous lovers can paraglide over Chicamocha Canyon to a romantic sunset picnic.
Corocora Camp in Los Llanos is a fully staffed safari-inspired camp surrounded by the Orinoco savannah. Ride out on horseback to see jaguars, anacondas and over 200 species of birds, or spend the day learning the culture of Colombian llanero cowboys. For those seeking sand between their toes, Tayrona National Park is a jungle reserve of plunging waterfalls and deserted beaches. Palomino is Colombia's ultimate tropical paradise with lush jungles, surfing beaches and river paddleboarding. Nestled on the Palomino riverbank, One Love offers charming palapa-thatched huts inspired by the architecture of local indigenous cultures. Couples can doze off together with the jungle chorus as their backdrop.
Finally, the enigmatic magic of the tiny Colombian island of Providencia is fast gaining recognition. The ultimate retreat and the last untouched island in the Caribbean, it is surrounded by the world's third largest reef and golden-sand beaches. Adventurous romantics can kayak round the Island or dive with reef sharks in Providencia's crystal clear waters. Hidden in the East Coast of the Island, the rustic beach villa of Monasterio del Viento, set on a ridge above the ocean, provides a welcome idyll for couples to kick back and spend time together in uncompromised privacy.