My impression of Cartagena was “live by night” because that’s what I did the entire time I was there. Not only because the nightlife is really good, but it’s just too nasty hot during the day to do anything except go to the beach, and the beaches in the city aren’t that nice. When the sun goes down Cartagena really comes to life. Clubs are bursting with hot latino energy and crazy live music, the streets are filled with people socializing in the squares, everyone is dancing and the girls, I gotta say, are looking really good. I didn’t feel bad about forgoing day for night while I was here.
However, I made a special effort just for this blog to go out and take a walk around the city before I left and get some pictures during the day, and I’m really glad that I did because it’s a delightful city to walk around and photograph, albeit muy caliente (hot!)
Cartagena has a lot of things going on. It’s a walled city, a major port city, and an old colonial city. It’s also a wealthy city; the most expensive place I’ve been in Colombia, even rivaling American prices in some places. Though I suppose that is to be expected in a place this elegant.
Old town Cartagena is to die for; I mean your heart will melt when you find yourself amidst all these beautifully preserved old, colorful colonial houses with bright flowers billowing over every balcony. You’re walking around looking upwards marveling at the beautiful architecture when suddenly you hit the old wall, which is also beautifully preserved and inviting you to go up and take a walk around it. From there you’re looking out over the sea, the port and the skyline of modern Cartagena in the distance when you realize: you are smitten. It’s the blend of all these things together that make Cartagena such an alluring city. I know I’m not the only one who got stuck here longer than they planned to be while traveling.
And did I mention that the nightlife is really good?
I used Cartagena as a base for three weeks while I explored all that the surrounding coast has to offer. This is your gateway to the San Bernardo and Rosario Islands, San Andres Islands, Isla Baru, and many other popular Colombian coastal destinations. Since I needed to be in a big city for wifi, I would touch base in Cartagena when I had to work, and then go back out on multi day trips to explore the surrounding destinations. This is ideal since most hostels will hold your bag for you while you go away for a few days so you can travel light (if you’ve seen what I’m currently traveling with you’ll understand what a luxury this is).
At first Cartagena was only going to be a base for me, but I found myself looking forward to returning every time that I did. It was a happy little home for me for 3 weeks. I even had my own little family at the hostel I stayed and worked from, King’s Hostel, in the beautiful neighborhood of Getsemani, next to the always-entertaining Plaza Trinidad. They are lovely people who really took care of me and made me feel at home during my time in Cartagena, and I highly recommend staying here when you go.
Mi familia at “King’s Hostal” in Getsemani, my little home for 3 weeks
What more can I say about Cartagena other than, you won’t get bored! There’s always something going on on the street here. Between the energy of the city itself and all the surrounding area has to offer, it’s easy to lose track of time in Cartagena.