My friend Gabe was traveling around South America and in January 2006 I met him in Cartagena, Colombia for a week. It was a place I never would have had on my travel list, but after going there it probably ranks as one of my favorite travel destinations so far! What an amazing and unique city! We stayed in a $20 a night hostel (Hotel El Viajero), where I joke that you could shower (cold water only), use the toilet and sink at the same time it was so tiny! But for some reason, it fit the atmosphere of the trip perfectly and I couldn’t have seen it any other way. It was incredibly hot in Cartagena, so the cold shower at the end of a long day was great!
We saw so much in 5 days, it’s hard to remember it all. One of our favorite things to do almost every day was walk on top of the city wall around Cartagena. And then in the evening we would grab a cerveza and enjoy some of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen over the Pacific Ocean from either the city wall or the Café del Mar Restaurant!
We walked around the Plaza Boliver and Plaza Santo Domingo, saw some museums and explored the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas (which was a highlight) in the city.
We took a boat ride out to Rosario Island to snorkel and relax on the beach. We also toured the Castle of San Fernando de Bocachica, featured in the ending of the movie Romancing the Stone.
On another day we took a taxi up to the Convento La Popa de la Galera.
Lastly another highlight was floating in a mud volcano (Volcan de Lodo El Totumo)! Now that was an amazing experience!! After getting out of the mud the village kids would take you to the beach nearby and they literally just dunked you in the water, took off your swimsuit under water and scrubbed all the mud all of you. It was hilarious!
Another highlight, which unfortunately I was too nervous to try until the last day was the fruit stands along the street. Oh man - the fresh mango off the cart, fresh squeezed orange juice…I can still taste it!
The first feet picture is one of the many sunsets we watched over the Pacific Ocean. Next one is laughing at my lovely flip flop tan. And the third one is relaxing on Rosario Island after our snorkeling tour.
I’m writing this blog entry 7 years later, and Colombia still ranks up there as one of my favorite destinations. I would love to return one day…but I have such fond memories from the first trip, I’m not sure if I want to take a chance on ruining any of those!
Check out some of my photos from this trip - Cartagena Photos