Cartagena's most luxurious and historic hotel is a 400-year-old, five-star converted monastery.

The guest book includes Shakira and Mel Gibson, and the hotel has a resident toucan (who shows up around the same time as your croissant).

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On arrival, order the Santa Clara coconut lemonade - just like sorbet in a glass and even better with a shot of rum.

If you're splashing out, there are two über-suites to choose from: the Fernando Botero, filled with the Colombian artist's work; and the bright white Junior Suite. Both overlook the pool and are stocked with delicious Hermès and Sisley products.

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Santa Clara is perfectly positioned (next to Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez's house) to explore the historic town: take a horse-drawn carriage through the cobbled streets and spend afternoons sipping mojitos by the pool.

The signature restaurant, 1621, is the place to go for fine dining - think octopus carpaccio and risotto followed by Colombian chocolate and coffee.

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WOW FACTOR: The Pearl of Bride spa treatment. It lasts four and a half hours and includes use of the hammam, a scrub, Cleopatra's Bath, full-body massage, facial and mani-pedi - all using pearl extracts.

FLIGHT TIME: 16 hours.

GO: Journey Latin America www.journeylatinamerica.co.uk offers five days at the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara from £1,410 per person, B&B. Includes flights to Cartagena via Bogotá and transfers.