Cartagena de Indias
Friday July 3: El Gitano del Mar arrived safely into Cartagena around 9am after making great time from the Rosario Islands. We all disembarked and the majority of the group all headed to the same place to find rooms, hostel Mamallena. It is located in the Getsemani district and very close walk back into the historic city center area. After successfully getting a dorm bed I headed out to explore the city with some of my new friends. We started out by heading over to the fort overlooking Cartagena. I had done this back in 2012 when I visited so it wasn’t a new experience for me but still a cool vantage point to look out over the city. After spending time there we headed towards the historic city center to explore the sites and colors that make Cartagena so wonderful. We spent a few hours wandering the streets getting lost and just enjoying the architecture.
At night we headed out again as a group. The plan was to meet Cesar and Luis at Caponera later in the evening so before that we wandered over to a local square to grab a bite to eat and see what was going on. The street food was simple but delicious and affordable which is always a winning combination. While enjoying our food a street performer showed up, a bit of a clown but the crowd found him entertaining. Eventually Tobias and myself got pulled into the act to help hold a rope as he performed a balancing act.
Once we finished our performance we headed over to Caponera. Things were fairly quite there and not to entertaining, I decided I wanted to head to cafe del mar to take in some live music. I started walking and no more then 30 seconds later came across the couple from Miami I had met earlier in the day. They were heading over to Mister Babilla to go salsa dancing. I figured that sounded like an excellent idea and joined them. It was a great decision and I had a excellent time. I ended up meeting a group of Colombians and danced the night away until the place shut down at 4am.
Saturday July 4: Independence Day, good to be able to travel! I did not see any fireworks or get to enjoy a classic American barbecue but still had a great 4th of July! The day was spent again wondering the city, it’s nice at times not really having to have a plan and just get lost. Since I have been to Cartagena before there are not a ton of must see sights to cross of the list, this allows the flexibility of seeing where your feet take you. The colors and architecture are real nice to soak in and thanks to Stuart’s Puertas de Cartagena post I wanted to really appreciate them this time!
It was a relaxing day and it was capped off by taking in the sunset on the city wall next to Cafe del Mar. A little tip if your looking to save a few bucks is to purchase beer from a street vendor for a $1 and sit on the wall outside the restaurant as prices are 5x if you sit in the chairs at Cafe del Mar.
After sunset we headed back to the square near out hostel but needed to stop for a photo on the way at the statue spot from the last trip with Auerlio and the Stanford group! We eventually went back to Mister Babilla with the group. This evening was a bit more relaxed with an early time to bed and not nearly as much salsa dancing!
Sunday July 5 & Monday July 6: Two days which included much of the same, more exploring streets of Cartagena for the majority of the day with my Canadian friends from the boat. I am a big fan of their warning system while walking, common courtesy in the group is to call out any walking obstacle or hole encountered as a tip to the trailing walker to avoid injury. I find this very helpful and practical as I’m prone to injury! Sunday included an activity of heading to a mud volcano outside of Cartagena. It was a long activity travel wise and not particularly enjoyable, it would not get an endorsement from me. In the evening on Sunday we checked out a cool rooftop art gallery in a hotel overlooking the entrance to the historic part of the city. We explored this with our new English and Australian friends who were in our hostel room when we arrived back from the mud volcano.
Monday was the final day in Cartagena and another enjoyable relaxing day capped off with a final sunset on the city walls and an early night to sleep so that I will be well rested when I get to Medellin on Tuesday.