The final two days of the Colombian section of our trip were spent in Cartagena, the colourful port city on the Caribbean coast. Cartagena was founded by the Spanish in 1533 and named after Cartagena in Spain.
We spent a day exploring the crowded narrow streets of the old walled city having arrived on the Berlinas bus from Santa Marta.
Above is the cathedral of Cartagena, located within the historic city walls. According to Lonely Planet the building work began in 1575 but in 1586 it was partly destroyed by Francis Drake.
Every street is lined with colour and flowers!
We had an ‘up market’ lunch in La Vitrola, a restaurant recommended by people we had met earlier in the trip. Prices in Colombia are generally much less than what we are used to in the UK so while this wasn’t the cheapest we did have a fabulous lunch in there!
We had a short walk along the wall which offers views of the Caribbean before making our way to Getsemani and Trinity Square, the ‘cool and edgy’ district of Cartagena.
Laid back bars and casual cafes line the streets of this previously run down neighbourhood with its dark criminal history. Locals and tourists alike blend in the hot pot mix of different nationalities and cultures.
Getsemani is awash with vivid street art and free walking tours are available to show you around.
We had a great day exploring the old city of Cartagena however we stayed for two nights in the modern Bocagrande area along the narrow strip of land with the beach on one side and marina on the other. Above is a view from the roof terrace of the Holiday Inn Express where we stayed.
Getting around Cartagena is incredibly cheap with a taxi from Bocagrande to the Old City for the equivalent of less than £5.00. We found Getsemani and the Old City to be the place for lively and authentic restaurants. We had a fabulous meal in the Rum Box where we were greeted with a hug at the door and given complimentary Colombian rum and chocolate at the beginning of the meal. The food was creative and authentic and we would recommend a visit there!
The following day we headed the short distance to Cartagena airport for our flight back to Fort Lauderdale and then on to Miami.