The Colonial Charm of Cartagena

Our final stop of our journey through South America was Cartagena, in the Caribbean region of Colombia. We spent four days in this city, characterized by its colonial architecture as it once was an important city for the Spanish invaders. The narrow cobblestone streets, colorful buildings with balconies, and many small squares make it a charming and walkable city.

Cartagena is a very lively city and music can be heard from many corners, especially at nighttime with Wednesday surprisingly being the most busiest night. Even though the upscale neighborhood of Bocagrande has a beach, if you are looking for the best beach around, you have to head one hour south to Playa Blanca.

Playa Blanca

Getting to Playa Blanca is hard, as it involves taking a boat across potentially rough waters, and enduring a stop at an aquarium before heading to the beach. Luckily, our hostel offered a direct shuttle bus for 20$ round trip (a bit cheaper than the boat as one must pay “harbor tax”, and much cheaper than a taxi), so we could enjoy the beach for much longer.

Once you get to the beach we went to the north side, which is less crowded. This also means less vendors walking up to you trying to sell anything from necklaces to massages to food. We negotiated down to 8$ for a cabana, which gave us some protection from the sun. This, in combination with a light breeze coming from the sea made it quite comfortable. The beer helped too.

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We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.

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