Cartagena is beautiful port city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, with stunning colourful colonial buildings and cobblestone streets within the walls of the Old Town, dating back to the 16th century. It’s super touristy and a big cruise ship destination but it is indeed very pretty.
The city’s claim to fame was that the 1980s Michael Douglas film ‘Romancing the Stone’ was set there, although none of it was actually filmed in Colombia they just recreated it in Mexico. It’s funny watching it now, after spending time in both Colombia and Mexico, you can tell that all of the actors have a really strong Mexican accent!
Seth’s birthday happened to fall when we were in Cartagena so we dropped the budget and went for some seafood. La Cevicheria featured on an Anthony Bourdain programme a few years ago and we ordered a traditional mixed ceviche and some mango shrimp. It was fantastic and the best we’ve had since Peru.
Most people stay within the walls of the Old Town, but there is also the more local district of Getsemani where a lot of hostels are located. A few years ago this was a bit of a no go area, but it’s having a revival and is now a perfectly safe place to stay. It’s a bit more grungy with lots of cool street art and local food. In the centre of Getsemani is Plaza de la Trinidad just outside a small church, where people gather in the evening with their families to eat and drink and the kids play football in the square. We really liked this part of Cartagena and would recommend it as a more authentic local place to stay.
Our time in Colombia had come to an end. Five fantastic weeks, from the gritty streets of Bogota to the beautiful Salento in the coffee region. From hip Medellín to the colourful zocalos of Guatapé. From the mountains of Minca to the Caribbean coast. An incredible country with the friendliest, most welcoming people we’ve ever met.
We’re not sure any country will ever top it. Gracias por todo y viva Colombia!