Cartagena used to be one of south america’s most important en richest ports. For those who love old, colorful and colonial towns, Cartagena is a perfect city to stroll around for a day (or 2). It’s a populair stop for cruise ships so the city gets overflown by big groups of cruisers when a boat has entered the harbor. As soon as you step through the gates, the Torre del Reloj, to the city you understand why. The city is vibrant, very colorful not only because of the houses but the flowers on the balconies play a big part in this as well. And even though there are a lot of street vendors, they aren’t annoying. There are plenty of lovely shops where you can buy all your souvenirs.
Our casa in Taganga arranged a minivan including pick up at 10 am (50.000 Pesos p.p.). We prefer a minivan over the regular bus because it picks you up where you want and drops you of at the doorstep of your new place. The ride takes about 5 hours.
We booked ourself a great place on Airbnb which was walking distance to the city centre, in a great and safe neigbhourhood and had everything we needed. The room had good working aircon (which was really pleasant cause it was so damn hot in Cartagena), we had our own bathroom and the wifi was the best which was pleasant since we had some important Skype calls. There is a washing machine that you can use and an equipped kitchen. So we did not go out for diner but prepared some nice meals ourselves. The area does have lots of nice little restaurants, same for the city. The owner is extremely friendly and helpful and we definitely recommend staying here.
As said, Cartagena is a nice place to explore for those who love old, colorful and colonial towns. We, however, have seen quite some of these towns the last couple of months and are getting spoiled! We did enjoy walking around the centre.
We walked thought the city on our own and started at the Plaza de los Coches, directly after the city gates. This lively square was used for slave trade back in the days. Nowadays it's heaven for sweet tooths cause at the Portal de los Dulces you'll find all sorts for different sweets. Walking through the streets, we passed several churches/cathedrals with nice squares where you can sit down, eat an ice-cream and just watch all the different people passing by. We ended up at the murallas (city walls), where the nice breeze cooled us down a bit. Following the murallas we found las Bovédas. These bows used to be military warehouses. After the independence they were used as prisons. These days lots of souvenirshops can be found here.
THINGS WE MISSED
The Teatro Adolfo Mejia looked great on the pictures we saw. Unfortunately it was closed when we wanted to visited. We also ‘missed out’ on the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas and Monastery de la Popa wich offers a beautiful view over Cartagena. Our initial plan was to visit one of the beaches but after spending time at the great Tayrona National Park, they didn’t look that appealing to us anymore.