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Colombia

Cartagena

Here you’ll find travel reports about Cartagena. Discover travel destinations in Colombia of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Day11

    We spent two days here exploring the city. The first day we took a boat trip out to one of the islands outside the city. The boat broke down about 3 times during the trip which the driver seemed to think was perfectly normal. In between these times we would tend to go very fast, either being bounced up and down on our seats or being soaked by the water. We stopped off to watch a dolphin show and had lunch. The next day we explored the city. The inner city is enclosed by a wall so we walked this and then enjoyed a cocktail on the wall.Read more

  • Day177

    First steps on a new land.

    Let me tell you why I'm loving South America so far. Land, for starters, was very well recieved - aside from a very long wait at 'customs'. We never actually saw a customs agent or even a customs sign, but after several hours lying on our bags on the dock, the captain returned our passports with entry stamps valid for 90 days and didn't charge us a dime. No qualms there. Almost instantly after we left, I couldn't help but be overwhelmed by the cleanliness. It was first world; no rubbish, no graffiti, limited dirt and even fewer puddles of stagnant stinking water. After the last few months of dirty cities, it actually came as a bit of a shock that this standard still exists! At least in part of the city...

    None of our crew had bookings for the first night in Cartagena, so we all ended up at the same hostel, dominating the 13 bed dorm. Showers, dinner and an early night were much needed by all. Nonetheless, we made it to the local plaza for dinner and a dose of culture. While you lot have been planning easter and simultaneously battening the hatches, we've almost overlooked it altogether. How foolish. Easter in South America is known as Santa Semana and it is not taken lightly. It's a week long festival where Colombians holiday, fiesta and spend time with their families. We'll be spending the next week hating it, loving it and regularly being blindsided by its extreme and sporadic difference from the norm. This night, luckily was one to enjoy (somewhat wearily) as the square packed out with all kinds of entertainment and vendors creating a very lively scene. It was short lived this time but it won't be our last!

    Again, we're staying near the old part of Cartagena (read: newly refurbished and well maintained). It's absolutely stunning at almost every turn. Brightly coloured and delightfully detailed colonial buildings line the streets, balconies bloom with bougainvilleas and ancient fortifications blend boldy into the hills and headlands. On top of this about a million Columbian (or Cartagenian) flags flutter in the Caribbean breeze which also ripples water in a stunning harbour enveloped by fairly decent beaches (I have a very high standard when it comes to beaches - based on popularity these might be considered 'nice' beaches). It's nudged Antigua off its perch as our most beautiful city to date, hands down.

    On our first morning we tagged along on a free walking tour in the baking heat (it goes without saying now doesn't it?) and explored the old city. It was actually really interesting but I won't bore you with all the detail - just my favourites.
    - Cartagena was established unsurprisingly as a port to trade with the old world. By 'trade' I mean import and export slaves and gold. It's numerous fortifications were (unlike many others we've visited) seriously put to the test, falling numerous times to pirates (including the notorious Francis Drake, after whom the main channel in the BVIs is named) and very nearly to the English - each time being rebuilt bigger and stronger with more firepower and increasing levels of complexity and strategy.
    - Cartagena doesn't have a natural water supply. Water was collected during the rainy season and had to last all of the dry season - or else. Water nowadays is diverted from the nearest fresh water supply via an aquaduct so Cat and I can have hot showers 'til the cows come home.

    After our tour we visited the fort of all forts; Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas. Our lack of spanish let us down on the history of this one (later recovered through wikipedia readings) but it didn't stop us appreciating the scale of fort and it's prime location with 360 degree views of the city.

    We also found time to visit what will be our last beach for a long time - playa Castillo Grande. It included a visit to a distinctively different region. The colonial town turns quickly to skyscrapers (largely hotels or apartments) all of which are curiously painted entirely white. At the base of the towers is everything American including a horrendously busy and touristy playa Bocagrande (do not visit!). Witnessing the local fisherman on form was great entertainment. They hauled in a net out of nowhere, longer than the entire length of the beach. It took half a dozen burly men on each end, followed by much frolicking in the shallows before their catch was revealed: barely enough to feed a couple of familes. As we've come to expect, most of the fish were sold before they reached the beach!

    Another short stop for us, but this time we'd done what we came to do and were happy to move on. We're sad to say goodbye to our boat mates but grateful for their company and advice, hasta luego! We've got our first overnight bus (to Medellín) coming up - not too thrilled about it but chuffed not to lose a precious day on transport!
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  • Day119

    Stepping off the plane in Cartagena was like stepping into a sauna. It was 32 degrees but it felt like 40. So hot and humid.

    The first day we explored Cartagena in the walled city. The buildings are very beautiful, with quaint little cobbled streets and lots of nice bars and restaurants. We also got our stuff ready for Casa en el Agua the next day.

    We arrived at the port at 9am and got a two hour boat over to the San Bernardo Islands. The sea was choppy but it calmed into crystal clear waters when we got to Casa en el Agua. Being there was amazing, it looked even better than it had in the photos and there was such a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

    The Casa is also near to Isolete which is the most densely populated island on earth with over 1,000 inhabitants.

    We spent the day just sunbathing and in the sea, chatting with other people but it was incredible to be in such a beautiful setting. In the night we had dinner and played cards. When we slept there was a big storm and it woke us all up because the house is made of wood and you can hear everything.

    The next day we were meant to leave at midday but we had to leave earlier because the boats from Cartagena were not coming due to the sea being too rough. Instead we got the boat to Rincón, a small little fisherman's village about two and a half hours south of Cartagena, and then had to get the bus back from the mainland. I didn't mind it so much because you got to see what the region around Cartagena was like, although I was pretty gutted to be leaving paradise so soon.

    When we got back to Cartagena we walked round the walled city again and then in the evening met Andy and Lucy for some drinks! It was so nice having Josh meet them and we had a good night.

    The next day we chilled until it was time to get the us to Santa Marta. Overall, we had a short but sweet time in Cartagena. Visiting Casa en el Agua has got to be a definite highlight of my trip - it was honestly one of the nicest/ coolest/ serenest places I've ever stayed in my whole entire life.
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  • Day71

    Wasn't able to get to much time out in port because I spend the morning in medical but the hour and a half I spent off the ship was worth it. There were monkeys, peacocks, flamingos and so much more all over the place. It was just a 3 minute shuttle ride from the ship. One odd looking bird decided it was my friend and followed me around for a while. There however was a parrot who wasn't a big fan of my camera and decided to try and attach my lens. Then when that didn't work he went for me feet instead. I got some good pictures of him though. I wasn't the only one who made an enemy however. A monkey was on a railing near my friend Jackson and he did not like him very much. Trying to grab him then eventually running away.Read more

  • Day126

    Die Stadt Cartagena im Norden Kolumbiens ist das karibische Tor nach Südamerika. Sie ist berühmt für ihre Altstadt und ihre riesige Wehranlage San Felipe.
    Endlich haben wir es geschafft. In über vier Monaten sind wir nun von Feuerland bis in die Karibik gereist. Nach dem schon sehr warmen Medellin ist es in Cartagena... heiß. Verdammt heiß, aber auch ziemlich schön.
    Wir haben uns auf Grund der hohen Preise etwas außerhalb der Altstadt in einem Airbnb Zimmer eingenistet, nur zwei Gehminuten vom Castillo de San Felipe entfernt. Diese Festung ist ein beeindruckendes Relikt des goldenen Zeitalters der Piraterie, und umgeben von Palmen versetzt sie einen schnell in eine Szenerie, wie man sie aus Piratenfilmen kennt. Sie ist sehr gut erhalten und auf jeden Fall ein Besuch wert. Wir haben uns ein wenig zu weit in die dunklen Eingeweide vorgewagt und sind dabei auf Tunnel gestoßen, die eigentlich nicht für die Öffentlichkeit zugänglich sind. Aber Sicherheit und Organisation sind hier in Kolumbien doch etwas anders als wir sie aus Deutschland kennen.
    Die Altstadt von Cartagena ist ein Paradebeispiel einer karibischen Stadt im Kolonialstil und einfach wunderschön. Viele kleine Gassen mit hölzernen Balkonen und bunten Blumen, Kopfsteinpflaster und bunten Fassaden, umgeben von monströs dicken Wehrmauern, direkt am strahlend blauen Wasser des karibischen Meeres. Die Schönheit lässt sich kaum beschreiben.
    Doch unsere Zeit hier ist knapp bemessen, unser Flug nach Vietnam (17.05) rückt immer näher und so haben wir leider nur knapp fünf Tage an diesem Ort. Und einen dieser Tage müssen wir auch noch auf der Isla Rosario verbringen. Ja wir MÜSSEN, unser Vermieter drängt uns förmlich dazu diesen Tagesausflug zu unternehmen, zurecht wie wir sehen werden...
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  • Day12

    Nach einem Seetag mit viel Wind und Seegang heute in cartagena einen herrlichen Tag verbracht..Die Altstadt von cartagena ist einfach schön obwohl bei gefühlten 40grad auch sehr anstrengend. Die anschließende kanufahrt durch die mangroven war ein unvergessliches Erlebnis. Jetzt Leinen los auf geht's nach colon /Panama weiterer Abenteuer entgegen..

  • Day11

    Durante años había querido pasear por la joya de la colonia en Nueva Granada (así se llamaba Colombia durante el imperio). En la costa Caribe, esta ciudad continua teniendo un sabor de ciudad portera donde cualquier cosa es posible. La arquitectura castellana pintada con los colores caribeños y adaptada a los grandes espacios soleados de la ciudad, le da ese carácter, habitual por otro lado, de una Castilla a ritmo de bachata!
    Buscando, como voy, tras los pasos de Garcia Márquez, ayer hice el tour literario por la ciudad. Cartagena ha sido el marco de varias de sus historias, las más conocidas El amor en los tiempos del colera y De amor y otros demonios. Claro que cuando estaba aquí Gabo lo ciudad no tenía la pátina de seguridad y pintura nueva que tiene ahora, pero sin duda esta perla del Caribe le inspiró esos entrañables personajes como Fermina Ariza, su amante eterno Florentino y su esposo Juvenal.
    Hoy es nuestro última día aquí y tal y me viene a la cabeza el último diálogo en el Amor... : ¿ hasta cuando cree usted que podemos seguir en este ir y venir del carajo?, pregunta Fermina en el barco a lo que le responde Florentino: toda la vida. Pues eso, a continuar viaje....
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Cartagena, قرطاجنة, Картахена, Cartagena de Indias, Kartageno, کارتاگنا, Carthagène des Indes, Cartaxena de Indias, קרטחנה, カルタヘナ, კარტახენა, 카르타헤나, Kartachena, Caratagena de Indias, Cartagena i Colombia, کارتاجینا, Cartagena das Índias, Картахена де Индијас, การ์ตาเคนา, Картагена, کارتاخینا، کولمبیا, 卡塔赫纳

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