One of Colombia’s most incredible destinations, Cartagena de Indias is a city full of color, history and colonial style architecture. A flight that is just about an hour away from Bogota, this city is must if you want a true Caribbean experience in South America.
As soon as you get off the plane, you can feel the warmness of this place. The airport has an interesting taxi system in which you tell a cashier your destination and they give the driver a receipt with the amount that has to be charged to the passenger.
The hostel that Brittany and I chose was Casa Del Pozo Boutique, surrounded by cool restaurants and a short walk to Ciudad Amurrallada. The rooms are comfortable and breakfast is included (oh and as a new guest, you get a free beer at the hostel’s bar!). We started our day by having lunch at Bonche Gastrobar. A great place if you love a good greasy burger (it comes with lots of cheese inside of it!).
As you walk around this city, you’ll find many awesome murals on the walls that you can just stare for a while. We were lucky to see a work in progress artwork and at the end of our trip, it was completed. Our first stop was at Iglesia de la Trinidad. Around this church, there is a small plaza that gets pretty crowded at night while street performers do their thing. Then, we headed to the museum of modern art, located inside of Ciudad Amurrallada. Its relatively small, but contains good artwork from local artists as well as artists around the country.
The next day, we went to Tierra Bomba Island. We were told to take the small boats that go to the island and depart from the hospital (turned out to be a bad idea). As soon as our taxi got there, we were surrounded by 10 men, trying to get us to go on their boat. It was kind of overwhelming so we told our cab driver to just drive away. We ended up going to a beach close by, which wasn’t too nice but at least we were able to breathe. We rented a beach tent and the person that sold us some beers told us that he could get us to the island with a friend. It was about 40k pesos for both of us and it seemed like a reasonable price.
When we got to Tierra Bomba, there were some small cabañas and food places. It was nice that it wasn’t too crowded but expect to be approached by some locals trying to sell you all kinds of things. The day was nice and clear and we had cool views of the Cartagena skyline.
For lunch, we went for tacos at Maria Bonita. Since it was kind of late, there were not too many people and our tacos were served quickly. If you eat a lot, I recommend ordering 2 portions of tacos. The chicken tacos with aji + a corona made the visit worth it.
Afterwards, we visited Castillo San Felipe de Barajas. One of the most touristy places in the city but for a reason. The castle was built in the 1500s and used as a fortress against invaders and enemies. It has been renovated since then, but it’s still amazing to see such an old construction still standing on this day. You can see that canons they used as a defense mechanism and even walk under the castle.
If you love a good steak, pay a visit to Morzola Parrilla Argentina. You won’t be disappointed by their bife de chorizo with some good Argentinian wine. Ciudad Amurallada is not only full of colors and beautiful buildings and architecture. It also has some interesting bars like the KGB bar. It almost looks like a museum with all the cool items that they have. We wrapped up the day at Alquimico, a modern bar with good electronic music and atmosphere but most of all with 10/10 drinks that will make you want to come back to this place.
Anyways, Cartagena is a city that is well worth the visit. Tons of things to do to keep you entertained and amazed for days. You’ll have to come and experience the colors of the streets and buildings on your own!