The Magic of Cartagena, Colombia
Updated: Feb 19
Never in my life did I plan to visit Colombia. It was one of those places I always associated with drug dealers and getting kidnapped. But, my husband’s little brother invited us to go, because he was getting engaged, and he swore the days of drug dealing and Americans getting kidnapped was long over. It was now a tourist paradise, and we would thoroughly enjoy ourselves! Boy, was he right!
Usually, we avoid places the typical touristy-type vacation place, but because of the pending engagement, we were happy to book the tickets and pack for five days in sunny Colombia, especially since it was 20F when we left New York, and 85F when we arrived in Cartagena. It was raining and humid, but no complaints here, especially when we were greeted by such lovely #Delta airline employees.
One of the things I had been looking forward to was the coffee in #Colombia, and boy, it did not disappoint! I believe I drank coffee at every stop, every port, with every meal, and I was thankful there was a #JuanValdez #coffee shop (similar to Starbucks on every corner in the U.S.) right around the corner from our #AirBnB.
Speaking of our AirBnB, this is the view from our 25th floor balcony, overlooking the ocean. It was in a condo, which is the norm for this part of #Cartagena on the beach.
The food consisted of fish, rice and plantain, or some form thereof, which we ate daily. I usually didn’t deviate, and was perfectly happy, since we can’t get fresh fish where we’re located in New York. We literally watched the fishermen bringing the fish in from the ocean and bought fresh fish in the market. You can tell fish is fresh because it doesn’t have a fish smell, at all. We ate out usually once a day at various amazing restaurants, but also cooked in our room or at a friend’s house, and it was always fish and rice. I lost 8 lbs while I was on vacation because of such a healthy diet. I wish I could eat this way every day!
The first tour day we went to the Old City and walked around. There were so many things to see and do, I was overwhelmed. We got to see the difference between how the upper and lower class lived, went to a chocolate factory (and yes, got to have samples…yum!), an emerald shop, where I bought a small ring as the one token of my trip, and saw many of the historical sites in the Old City. I fell in love immediately. We also went to Castillo de San Felipe, a historical fort that was haunted. We didn’t get to see any paranormal activity, but we hoped we would. The entire day was spent on an old, rickety tour bus which we had to climb up and down out of using a wooden ladder, and by the end of the day, we were all exhausted. But, it was so fun, and they turned on lights and music to end our day’s tour, and we ended with a party vibe!
The next day, we took a tour of some of the islands around Cartagena, one being Isla de Rosario. One thing on my bucket list was to go snorkeling, something I got to check off! What a wonder! If you ever get the chance, make sure to do it! The fish weren’t scared, even coming close enough to nibble food out of my fingers. I got to feel the fish nibble ON my fingers as a matter of fact. I didn’t realize how strong the current would be, so I stayed close to the life preservers. Every time I took my hand off it, the current took me too far away, quickly, and it was so strong I couldn’t swim back, even though I’m a good swimmer in a pool. It was actually quite scary. No wonder people get lost in the ocean so quickly.
We also had massages and margaritas next to the ocean after lunch. I felt so pampered and indulgent. This is not how I usually live, and probably won’t ever do anything like that again in my life, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it! Like I said, I don’t usually go where the tourists go, but I loved every minute of it, and will certainly do it again in a heartbeat!
Cartagena is beautiful, with a rich history, and definitely worth a trip!