I’ve been sent to Colombia to work, and as I already knew Bogota from a previous business trip, I decided to pass the week-end in Cartagena de las Indias. I had time to enjoy the historic center, a bit around, and to go on the coast to Playa Blanca!
The historic center
Cartagena is a little colorful treasure! I arrived in the airport early in the morning, went to the hostel in taxi to leave my bag, and had all the day to visit the center full of colonial houses, palaces with gorgeous inside patios, and streets full of culture mixed.
– To stay: El Viajero Cartagena Hostel, Cartagena
– To drink: La Marzola (nice deco)
– To dance: La Botica rooftop!
– To see the sunset: Cafe del Mar on the fortifications!
At noun I made a stop on a place, and met Jorge, a old columbian who offered me to walk around with me. We visited together the gold museum, the Plaza del Reloj – Clock place, the Parque Centenario full of iguanas and monkeys, and the Baluarte (bastion) San Miguel Chambacu.
Then I took a Free walking tour to know a bit more about the story of the city at 4pm (from Plaza Santa Teresa, starting also at 10am). I finished the day having dinner on Plaza Santo Domingo and seing a caribbean street show, went back to the hostel and met two crazy americans (Ben & Nick) in the bar. We went out all together with other travelers, a night we’ll remember!
San Pedro Claver
On this place you will enjoy a quiet ambience in the feet of the San Pedro Claver church (originally known as the church of San Juan de Dios).
Plaza San Diego
You will find some markets on this place, an red church really lovely, and you NEED to take a look inside the Hotel Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena in the corner (expensive place but with an amazing patio).
This small parc beyond the historic wall is full of sloths, marmosets, squirrels and iguanas! It’s also a green place where you can take a break from the warm weather.
Plaza Santa Teresa
Start point of the free walking tour, you will find there a naval museum with an interesting map of the original city, and you can also climb here on the old town’s wall!
San Felipe de Barajas Castle
I didn’t have time to fully visit this fort, but you surely should take time to visit it! It looks to offer a really nice view of the city, and give you more informations about how Cartagena were built since the spanish invasion.
Museo de oro
If you don’t know the gold museum of Bogota, you may like this small museum full of treasures of the Zenú culture! It’s situated on Plaza de Bolívar, and closed on sunday and monday!
Plaza Santo Domingo
The day after I had a tour booked from the hostel to Playa Blanca (1h from the center). I met two argentinian guys and a columbian from Cali in the mini bus, and we had all day to enjoy together the sun and the warm water. It was far from a empty beach I was used to in Panama, but it stays a paradise on earth…
When I came back I had time to visit the Getsemaní area, full of street art and finished the day walking on the old city wall.
Playa blanca wasn’t maybe the best choice to make, it was a too touristic. I think if you have time you should go to islas del Rosario, isla Grande, or if you have time go to Barranquilla (perfect place also for the Carnival).