Cartagena, Colombia: wandering the old city

Cartagena, Colombia

After a quite long bus ride from Minca, we arrived in Cartagena early afternoon.

We heard so many beautiful things about this colorful, colonial city, that we were impatient to discover more with our own eyes. Ignoring the tempting – in the overwhelming heat – hotel’s swimming pool, we made a beeline to the historical old town.

Cartagena, Colombia

The old town is surrounded by the city wall & the main entrance is the clock tower.

As you step inside, you’ll find yourself in a colorful (touristy) market.

Market in Cartagena, Colombia

Market in Cartagena, Colombia

Market in Cartagena, Colombia

&, if you’re as lucky as we were, you’ll be welcomed by a funny parade!

Parade in Cartagena, Colombia

Parade in Cartagena, Colombia

Parade in Cartagena, Colombia

We wandered the colorful, little streets…

Cartagena old town

Cartagena historical centre

…in search of something to eat!

Which wasn’t a difficult task, as Cartagena is full of food stalls…

Fruit stall in Cartagena old town, Colombia

Arepa in Cartagena old town, Colombia

Fruit stall in Cartagena old town, Colombia

The most famous of all being, undoubtedly, Miss Maria in plaza Santo Domingo!

Maria in front of Santo Domingo church in Cartagena, Colombia

Maria in front of Santo Domingo church in Cartagena, Colombia

With our arepas & our mangos in our hands, we continued wandering around.

Botero statue in Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena old town

Cartagena old town

Colroful house in Cartagena old town

Colroful house in Cartagena old town

Colroful house in Cartagena old town

The old city is really cute, everything is neat & well restored, but maybe a little too much: I felt a bit like at Disney village. I personally find other south-american colonial cities that are not so well preserved, much more charming…

The heat & humidity begun to really put us down, so we went to Café del Mar to rest with a fresh drink.

Café del Mar, Cartagena, Colombia

Café del Mar is a bar & restaurant that sits directly on the city wall. From is terrace you can enjoy a beautiful view over the sea & the new city of Cartagena. Moreover, there’s music, a nice atmosphere & a little breeze 😉

Café del Mar, Cartagena, Colombia

Café del Mar, Cartagena, Colombia

Café del Mar, Cartagena, Colombia

As the sun begun to go down on the horizon, we went to Las Bovedas, an arcade structure that was once used as a prison & now houses several art & craft shops.

Las Bovedas, Cartagena, Colombia

Las Bovedas, Cartagena, Colombia

Back in the centre, we realized how music & dancing were really everywhere!

We watched dancers in the beautiful Bolivar square.

Dancers in Bolivar square in Cartagena, Colombia

Dancers in Bolivar square in Cartagena, Colombia

Dancers in Bolivar square in Cartagena, Colombia

Dancers in Bolivar square in Cartagena, Colombia

Where we saw that beauty is truly another very important thing in South-America: on a side of Bolivar square there’s the beauty queens’ avenue, where all Colombian beauty misses are represented!

Portal de la Reinas, Cartagena, Colombia

Portal de la Reinas, Cartagena, Colombia

Portal de la Reinas, Cartagena, Colombia

Continuing our tour, we came across a band playing & listened to some music too!

Band playing music in Cartagena, Colombia

Band playing music in Cartagena, Colombia

To have a walk after sunset in Cartagena really is a pleasure!!

Sunset in Cartagena, Colombia

Sunset walk in Cartagena city centre, Colombia

Colorful house in Cartagena old city, Colombia

Colorful house in Cartagena old city, Colombia

Alcohol stall in Cartagena Colombia

After having eaten ceviche in Bogota, we were eager to have it again, so we naturally went for dinner at La Cevicheria. It was a mistake.

La Cevicheria restaurant in Cartagena, Colombia

Ceviches were not well seasoned & portions were too big (we couldn’t even finish it!), moreover plates were not even well presented, they served ceviches with a packet of crackers, like if we were at the college cafeteria! Look for yourself…

La Cevicheria restaurant in Cartagena, Colombia

Disappointed by our dinner, we went to Pasteleria Mila for pudding.

Pasteleria Mila, tea room in Cartagena, Colombia

The reputation of this tearoom is well established & cakes were delicious indeed!

Pasteleria Mila, tea room in Cartagena, Colombia

Pasteleria Mila, tea room in Cartagena, Colombia

Happy again – there’s hardly any problem that chocolate can’t solve! – we walk back to our hotel.

The hotel I chose, Hotel Boutique La Artilleria, was in Getsemani neighborhood, just outside the historical centre.

The Tower Clock in Cartagena, Colombia, at night

As we discovered the morning after, Getsemani was a much nicer place than the historical centre, in our opinion. It surely is much less preserved, but it’s also much more real! There are less tourists & more local people, the streets are alive & it doesn’t look like a museum city!

I’ll show you more tomorrow! 🙂

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16 Comments

  1. Was it Carnivale? Do they have Carnivale? I really want to know what that parade was all about now! Beautiful colours, but I can understand what you mean about less-well preserved towns being your favourites. #CityTripping

    1. Hi Kta, it wasn’t carnival – although they do have carnival in Colombia – & sorry I really don’t know what the parade was about… but it was a nice way to be introduced to the city! ;))

  2. Oh Cartagena is definitely my kind of place because of its vibrant colours and festive atmosphere 🙂 I came across another post which had photo essays of the colours of Cartagena and I was quite intrigued by it. I live in Asia, so making a trip to South America might be a faraway dream but who knows, maybe one day I make my way there. Cheers! #citytripping

    1. Hi Kat 🙂 well Asia has some wonderful places as well! But if one day you can visit south america you should definitely go! 😉 Not only Cartagena or Colombia, but most all the places I visited were colorful & there’s always music & dancing everywhere!!

  3. I’ve heard such great things about Cartagena and the colours in your photos are just stunning. I love the way it comes alive at night too. I’m intrigued by the contrast with the less preserved areas though. #citytripping

    1. We heard great things about Cartagena too before going there. And it’s really nice, but we eventually found that the area where usually tourist don’t go was much better! It’s colorful as well but real!
      The contrast between the rural area & the renewed city centre was difficult though, but it’s often the case in south-america cities, although i found in Cartagena was particularly strong..

  4. Really interesting to hear your thoughts about the different sides of the city. I must say, the vibrancy of the colours really pop out at you but understand how some areas which cater more for the tourists can feel less authentic. Thanks for linking #citytripping

    1. Thank you Tam! Yup Cafe Mila is such a perfect place! & btw, you’re right to really appreciate Cartagena one needs to explore it early morning! 🙂

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