A Day in Cartagena
Cartagena looks like it is straight out of a colourful children book.
Lonely Planet’s description of the city is spot on:
Cartagena is the undisputed queen of the Caribbean coast, a fairy-tale city of romance, legends and superbly preserved beauty lying within an impressive 13km of centuries-old colonial stone walls.
It is no surprise that Cartagena is a Unesco World Heritage site. The combination of cobbled alleys, balconies covered in bougainvillea, and massive churches that cast their shadows across plazas make the city a work of art.
Cartagena is best visited with no plans and no map. It is a city that you should do you best to get lost in. Nothing beats strolling through the winded alleys with no idea what beautiful architecture and colourful scene you will stumble upon next.
The old town is crowded with fruit vendors and street art sellers on every corner. The city has a sensual atmosphere that begs you to forget any worries and enjoy the plazas, bars and cafe’s that every corner of the city is home to.
Apparently this vibrant city is the favourite for Colombians – and it is easy to understand why. “Every time I walk out of my house, everything I see—every corner, every moment—is so cinematic,” says Bogotá-born painter Valentino Cortázar, who moved to the heart of the Old City from Miami 14 years ago. “Cartagena has so much history, fantastic light and wonderful energy,” he sys. “That’s why great painters like Alejandro Obregón and Darío Morales lived here. And Gabriel García Márquez, too. For an artist, this is paradise.”
Located on Colombia’s northern coast and facing the Caribbean Sea, Cartagena is not only popular with Colombians – it is also the most visited city in the country by tourists.
The city also holds some nice historic value as it was the first Spanish colony on the American continent and one of the first sanctuaries of freed African slaves in the Americas.
Although Colombia has a ‘dangerous’ reputation I have been told the only main concern in Cartagena is the same as most bustling cities – pickpocketing. I personally did not feel unsafe at all in my time in the city.
I am yet to explore other parts of Colombia but Cartagena sure left me with a craving to return to Colombia.