Updated: Mar 10, 2019
12th - 15th September 2018
Possibly the most photogenic city I've ever been to. Cartagena is beautiful.
The atmosphere is wonderful and the streets come to life (even more) at night when the horse-drawn carriages are serenaded by musicians and singers. The city is dripping with music and colour.
We stayed at El Viajero Hostel. Pricey, but average. Cartagena is expensive in comparison to the rest of Colombia (we spoiled ourselves with a double, ensuite in Santa Marta for less than what we paid for a 6-bed, female dorm at Viajero. Whuuuuut!).
Viajero was clean and comfortable, but can't make up its mind if it's a party hostel or not. It can get loud in the evenings but is generally quite sleepy, with a huge mix of backpacker types. The atmosphere was great and we met some excellent chaps who were doing our route in reverse. They gave us insider info on places to go, eat and stay in Minca and Medellin. Winninggggg!
We did a free walking tour around Cartagena (donations suggested at the end). This was good to get our bearings (I say that…) and learn some of the city's history, but every plaza and every building is ‘the most important and amazing plaza/building in the whole of Cartagena’!
Our favourite place to visit was the Getsemani District. Just outside the city walls, it's rich colours, graffitied walls and the distinct lack of tourists made it a glorious warren to explore. (We did this during the day, and spent evenings inside the walls to be safe.)
The Parque del Centenario was also ridiculously brilliant. We saw a sloth, monkeys, iguanas, a hummingbird and other glorious birdlife within 10 minutes of being there. I nearly cried.
In total, we spent 2 full days in Cartagena which was perfect. It was stiflingly hot and would have started to feel claustrophobic if we'd stayed longer… But it was the best place we could have asked for to start us off on our 3-month, South American adventure.
Thank you for having us Cartagena. You absolute beauty.
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