Cuyana x Artifact Uprising

Cuyana x Artifact Uprising
Cartagena, Colombia

Cuyana x Artifact Uprising
Cartagena, Colombia

There’s nothing more nostalgic or enthralling than returning home from a remote destination and reflecting on your experiences. The act can be transformative among the fast-paced days of modern life. Exploring the world with mindfulness is a constant reminder to slow down, take a deep breath, and savor the defining moments in life.
This summer, we partnered with Artifact Uprising and photographer Alice Gao to celebrate our shared philosophy of intentional travel. Journeying to Cartagena, Colombia, we explored its winding cobbled streets and rustic beaches, while Alice Gao captured all of its charming corners and details through her distinctive lens. Upon return, our experiences were brought to life by our partners at Artifact Uprising in the form of a Layflat Album.
We sat down with Gao to reflect on her experiences in Cartagena, and discuss what inspires her to explore the new destinations that be.

How does photography inspire your explorations?
“Much of my life is GO-GO-GO at top speeds, but when I am exploring and I stop to take a photo, I feel like everything around me freezes a bit, and I am fully focused on that photo for that moment.”

Why do you explore?
“I explore for the chance to discover and experience new cultures and scenery, and for the challenge of navigating unfamiliar lands. I never want to sit where I am and be complacent.”

“Much of my life is GO-GO-GO at top speeds, but when I am exploring and I stop to take a photo, I feel like everything around me freezes a bit.” - Photographer, Alice Gao

What stood out about Cartagena?
“I have been to my fair share of colorful old towns, but none have been nearly as vibrant as Cartagena. The colors were exquisite. The light was fantastic, the humidity high, and the energy was like a steady buzz all day and night. I tried my best to walk through every street in the old town, and was delighted by the colors and textures on every corner.”

What is your must-do in Cartagena?
“The paletas at La Paletteria are a must! There were so many flavors I wish I could have gone back a dozen times (and I probably would have if time allowed). I ended up trying a pistachio one and the texture was incredible. So creamy and full of nutty flavor.”

A memorable meal?
“I had a great time at Restaurante Alma, which has a mix of outdoor and indoor space, and had live music at night. I had the Lomo Saltado which is one of my favorite Peruvian dishes.”

Where to stay?
“Casa Pombo has unassuming doors in front that hide the most glorious entry with a shallow pool and citrus trees. I was totally smitten just by the entry. The historic mansion houses only five rooms, which makes it feel particularly special.”

The best beach?
“Playa Blanca. It’s a bit of a trek in a car, but well worth it for the colors of the sunset! You can also get a small boat to take you to a more secluded island if you want to avoid the crowds that often come with the main beach.”

A vivid memory?
“I was at Café del Mar on my last night, which has a bit of a clubby vibe to it later in the evening. There was a stage with crazy smoke machines and a guy dressed up in a War Machine costume dancing the night away!”

"The colors were exquisite. The light was fantastic, the humidity high, and the energy was like a steady buzz all day and night.” - Photographer, Alice Gao
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