When I thought of Cartagena I always pictured colorful facades and narrow alleyways. Much to my comfort, this is exactly what awaited us when landing in this caribbean gem...
If you read my travel list at the very beginning of this year you know Cartagena has been top of mind for a while. It all sort of started with a customer and her gorgeous panama hat. I was deeply captivated by the shape of said hat and the way it so perfectly hugged her head. With determination to get my hands on a similar pair I approached her and asked her where it was from. The conversation went from "oh it's from Cartagena" to scrolling down iPhone photos of her recent trip in no time, and ever since this destination has been engraved in my travel-bitten heart. So when the opportunity presented itself to finally visit I jumped at it!
My sister, a couple of friends and I took this mini escapade around Labor Day weekend. We unanimously decided it'd be best to rent a centric Airbnb to cut down costs while still feeling safe and connected. We all agreed on this gorgeous pad which I 200% recommend to anyone who's planning a visit. After dropping our bags and settling in we hit up the town to finally see for ourselves this gorgeous place we had heard nothing but wonders about. Keep on scrolling for the top places you absolutely cannot miss when in Cartagena!
This is where you'll find those colorful alleyways I mentioned before! Also where most of the tourism and attractions are found and the shopping is done. Make sure you practice your bargaining skills before attempting!
In the heart of the city center, this little square is perfect for photo opps and taking break from all the walking. Note that many vendors will approach you here. Learn to master the art of "no thanks" before hitting the town;)
Also the city's most narrow street is on the left side of the church (when facing it) here!
When you're just about ready to faint from the blistering sun, this is a great (free) hideaway, which happens to double as a learning experience. Make sure you pop into Cafe Juan Valdez right after for some caffeinated refreshments.
This is the symbolic city center entrance that greeted us every morning. Make sure you stop and snap a tres touristy photo here!
Advertised as "la esquina del movimiento" or the corner of movement, you will never sweat/dance so much in your life like you will in this place. With no windows and a weak ventilation system, the bartenders make sure they make your drinks extra strong to keep you nice and refreshed;)
Live music and endless salsa dancing, what else could one want from life?
One of the prettiest beaches in Cartagena. You have to get here by car so if you're not planning on renting one I recommend local tour options. We took one with food included to avoid any kind of hassle when enjoying our little slice of paradise.
*Important to note that there are many vendors here as well and they will impose their services onto you. Make sure you give a firm no from the start if you're not interested!
Though it sounds like a froyo spot (which it is) they also serve regular ice creams and the infamous paletas! (pictured above)
Here I had Arequipe and Chocolate y Avellana cone and it was TDF.
This is the place you'll see all over social media. Here they're known for their unique paletas like the delicious Lulo offering, although personally I think the service was way better at GoYurt;)
Seems a little odd being that I was in Colombia not Peru but I promise this place won't dissapoint! Go here for an intimate dinner with live music and the most gorgeous atmosphere.
Also note that restaurants close significantly early in Cartagena. Most kitchens close around 8:00PM on Sundays! Not very New Yorker friendly but we managed.
Go here for the most delicious, traditional Colombian breakfast!
Another Cartagena staple, this sea-side bar has the prettiest view of the new and old cities. Make sure you go after the sun has set (or as it's setting) as you'll be directly exposed to that Caribbean sun!
They claim they have "the best ceviche and seafood in Cartagena". They're not lying. We went for seconds before we even finished the first batch- that should say it all!
Another breakfast must visit, here you'll find the best, home-made mango and maracuya jams you will taste. Like, ever. Also, Carolina (the owner/our server) was incredibly attentive and sweet. 10 out of 10 for this place!
That is all for now my lovelies. If you have any questions or are planning to visit this dreamy place, make sure you drop a line in the comments!