This morning we caught a short flight to the port city of Cartagena. Immortalized in book and film, the walled city is a delight: multi-hued colonial architecture, bougainvillea-draped streets, peddlers hawking everything from snappy fedoras to leather bags to handmade espadrilles, top-notch restaurants featuring local ingredients. The peal of church bells and the clip-clop of hooves from dozens of horse-drawn carriages compete with the buzz of happy (mostly Colombian) tourists.

Husband and I wandered the narrow alleys until lunchtime. I’d picked a café that featured regional cuisine, including a dish called “cabezas del gato.” To my relief, it turned out not to be cats’ heads, but tasty mounds of mashed yucca and plantains.