Friday, October 10, 2008
Imagine waking up in an 18th century colonial Colombian mansion and looking out from your balcony on the narrow cobblestone streets of Cartagena. You amble on up to the rooftop terrace for a morning yoga class to welcome the sun. After class, you make your way back downstairs to the dining room for a breakfast of fresh fruits, yogurt, granola, fresh juice, including Colombian-style coconut lemonade and Colombian coffee.
Next, it's up to you to decide, do you want to join the group on a power walk on the nearby Caribbean beaches? Or spend the day exploring the plazas, cathedrals, boutiques and cafes of Cartagena? (This is, after all, the hometown of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the inspiration for the magical realism of 100 Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera.) Or you can always just relax by the pool. Other excursions include a trip to the Rosario Islands and the Totumo Mud Volcano, where you can experience a true mud bath.
When evening falls, you can join in a sunset body sculpting class before enjoying a healthy dinner of pumpkin soup, grilled shrimp with a light coconut sauce, arroz con coco and fresh green salad. Interested in learning how to prepare some of the local specialties which includes 6 types of mangoes and 5 types of bananas? Cooking lessons are available for those with a culinary bent. After dinner join in a salsa dancing class.
What is the paradise? Escape to Shape Cartagena, which takes place from Oct. 24- November 30. Each session goes for six nights.
By now, you must be wondering how much this all costs--believe us, we know times are tough. Included in the escape are 6 nights at the private mansion, all meals and snacks, yoga classes, other fitness classes, Spanish, salsa and cooking lessons, one massage and airport transfers. (You're responsible for your own airfare.) So what's the damage? JSG is happy to offer our readers a 20 percent discount on the $3,000 price tag for the week, making the grand total $2,400. Just mention us when you book.
For information on past Escape to Shapes, click here.