WHERE MY COLOMBIA TRIP STARTED: CARTAGENA!

Colombia, maybe the best travel I did so far in my life. Go back in my memories is really a nice way to think again what I did there and what I visited. First, My thoughts went back to Cartagena.

Although I knew nothing about the city before arriving there, I had such an amazing experience exploring and going on a new adventure each day.

I sincerely believe that what I saw is only a small piece of all that the city has to offer. So many other things I want to experience in my next trip to Colombia, because of course I will go back in this beautiful country! Feel free to drop a comment with your recommendations!

The Walled City

Cartagena was founded in the 16th century, and is a port city located on Colombia's Caribbean coast known for its plentiful colonial architecture, its cobblestone streets, and its effortless lifestyle. In the past, Gold and emeralds brought people to Cartagena, today the jewels of the city are the contemporary riches - a vibrant culinary scene, and beautiful beaches are the main attractions.

In the center of Cartagena, you can visit the old city surrounded by ancient stone walls and full of vibrant culture. Beautiful buildings and potent colors all around… what’s better than this to relax? The old city is so bright and I thought definitely to plan on staying inside the walls next time I will visit Cartagena.

Have a walk during the morning and after sit down in a small restaurant enjoying the city life and his flow.

The food is amazing. You can choose meat or fish, equally delicious! If you want to close your lunch with a sweet try the coconut pie that still haunts my dreams.

Another advice… If you want to eat fresh fish you need to search a “cevicheria”. For a nice dinner, after getting semi-lost in the old city, just take a good decision, choose a cevicheria with seats on the sidewalk and enjoy all of the evening activities happening around you! Sometimes you find amazing guitarists playing or small shows around the streets…

Other attractions

Out of the old city you can walk on the city's historic walls. Better during the sunset for the hot weather during the day.

The Colonial wall was built to keep the pirates (of the Caribbean!) out in the 16th century.

I started my walk at Cafe del Mar, then walked south along the wall to Santa Teresa Square and I ended close to the Castillo de San Felipe.

From the top you can see the “Castillo San Felipe”, the 16th century fortress overlooking the city and coast. You can visit it or just take some pictures going below it.

I love to shop. As with most cities abroad, flea markets are a major tourist attraction but I really love it. Cartagena had local vendors selling little things throughout the streets in the walled city but if you want a real market there is a little flea market in an old courtyard. Unlike most of the vendors that carried the same set of items (fedoras, ankle bracelets, etc.), this flea market in particular has a ton of cool  things that I would have loved to bring home with me. It is fun to explore the city’s culture through the local lens and check out some of the things they cherish on a day-to-day.

Getsemani for nightlife

Cartagena is full of square where you can pass a really nice evening/night with live music. You don’t need to be into clubs and partying to enjoy the nightlife, just go to the Getsemani neighborhood.  This area is well known for its lively atmosphere during the hot nights in Cartagena.

There are great bars in the area where you can drink something or you can take a beer and drink it chilling a the Getsemani square, Holy Trinity Square, where I passed my nights enjoying local people and artists playing guitar, singing or just talking each other. I remember a guy that was amazing… He did the imitation of Michael Jackson but wow, He was incredible!! I saw also a dance class for women and some teen’s break dancing. It’s really a nice place to hang out and people-watch.

You can also go to a salsa club if you want to dance, such as Cafe Havana or Bazurto Social Club. You should expect a cover charge and that the salsa dancing starts late.

Last info, if you search for the streetart Getsemani is the perfect corner to visit to search it!

Cartagena surrounding

The one common thing you kept hearing before leaving was that the beaches in the city were not great but if you go a little bit outside you can find beautiful ones. Islas del Rosarios or Playa Blanca (Isla Baru)  are not so far and there you see crystal clear waters and white sand beaches. A paradise where there is almost anything, you will really enjoy the peace you find in this quite place. I passed 3 days in playa Blanca after Cartagena and I prepared myself for the “Ciudad perdida” trekking.

 

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