Friday, 5 October 2012

Cartagena era muy caliente!

After our long hike to La Ciudad Perdida, we thought some down-time by the coast was necessary. Cartagena was by far the most beautiful town in Colombia. It`s wonderful colonial architecture was enclosed in a city wall that was built to keep out "pirates in the Caribbean"... very cool! Be warned though, Cartegena was soooo hot!

From the "other side of the wall"

We got picked up at our hostel, Candela y Chocolate, in Santa Marta using the Puerta a Puerta (door to door) MarSol service, which cost a bit more than public buses but saved us so much time. It took about 4h to get to Cartagena and on our way in we drove around the city wall that was formally used to prevent enemy attacks from when the Spanish occupied here and they used Cartagena as their main port.



Courtyard in El Viajero
We stayed at El Viajero (dorm $12pp) which was a socialble hostel with air conditioning! This was a must after Santa Marta where we had 8 people crammed under 2 ceiling fans (no bueno!). However, the AC was set far too high and we spent the night freezing in the dorms! There was just no chance of getting a good nights sleep wherever we went!


Cartagena was a pleasure to walk around and explore. Most building had glorios balconies with impressive flower displays and many Plazas to sit and have a refreshing drink. 

This city is famously known as Colombians most romantic city and most of the restaurants have special "meals for two" offers. Only problem was it was fairly pricy as this was Colombia´s main tourist destination. I plan to return when I have more money!

Yummy thin crust pizza from Pizza en el Parque
Although, not all food was expensive here. Our top recommendation was a small pizza place called Pizza en el Parque which was located in Plaza Fernandez de Madrid. It was about $5 for a small pizza (photo) and we had the choice to sitting inside (upstairs has a great balcony view of the park) or sit in the park itself and they will bring you your pizza on a stool. The second option was ideal as most people brought their own wine or beer; genius! 

The city wall nearly wraps entirely around the city, with ocassional cannons facing out towards the sea. We walked on top of most of the wall, which was also a great spot to watch the sunset on a clear evening.


We also checked out the other side of town, Getsemani, totally avoidable! It is pretty run down and we saw no reason to hang around. Although, we found it hard to do much during the day because it was just so hot and humid! After an hour we were dying for an ice cold drink. Make sure to carry water!

The `not-so-beachy´ beach of Cartagena
If you are planning on going to Cratagena for its beach, forget it! It was rather disappointing with the typical skyscapers along the shore. 

Most people head to Playa Blanca for beach time but you have to buy a guy with a boat to reach it.

We found most people here were very friendly and spoke a lot clearer for us than the rest of Colombia (probably because they were used to tourists). 

Cartagena is a must-see town in Colombia. Definitely worth spending a few days here.










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