We begun our second day in Cartagena by exploring Getsemani, the neighborhood our hotel was in.
As I mentioned before, we found Getsemani much more alive & authentic than the city centre. Of course, Gestamni is less renovated, some buildings are old and crumbling, the streets are less clean… But it looked more real.
We marveled at the cute colorful houses & watched people starting their days…
While walking to the port.
To escape the heat, we decided to spend the day at the nearby Rosario islands.
We didn’t book in advance, but when we arrived at the port, there were several tour operators, all offering more or less the same tour: a first stop at Rosario islands for snorkeling, a second stop at Playa Blanca beach & a last stop at Bocachica, where there’s the San Fernando fortress and lunch is served.
We weren’t interested in the last stop in Bocachica, so we searched for a tour that didn’t stop there. We thought we found one, but we actually stopped there anyway.
The things is that in Cartagena there are a lot of tourists & well, tourist operators at the port are after tourists’ money. So they lied about the tour ; they asked us for money for snorkeling even though we had our own mask & fins & we didn’t need to rent equipment (we obviously refused to pay) ; & accordingly to the other people who had lunch in Bocachica, the food was disgusting.
Anyway, once you know that & you’re prepared, we had a very good day!
Waiting for the boat, we had a nice view over the modern city.
We then jumped on the boat & off we went!
At the beginning, we stopped in the suburbs to take a second guide & discovered the real city, the one where usually tourists don’t go.
The difference between the neat & rich old city centre & the suburbs is shocking. But I think it’s important to show also this part of Cartagena, that is so far away from the postcard image everyone has in mind.
We were a little group on a small speed boat, so even the trip to arrive at Rosario islands was fun!
The view when you arrive… well it’s simply stunning.
Just look at this blue water…!!
We had a nice snorkeling session among colorful fishes & corals 🙂
We then continued our way to Playa Blanca, a beautiful, long sandy beach, full of colorful little huts that house bars & restaurants.
The contrast between the white sand & the colorful wooden little houses is super nice, so it’s really not disturbing that there are so many constructions on the beach.
We played for a while in an incredible warm & clear water.
Before resting in the shadow
As local inhabitants use to do…
We enjoyed a yummy meal in front of a wonderful view.
& we had a walk along the beach.
Too soon, it was time to take the boat again to Bocachica.
This was the less nice part of the trip. There’s a fortress to visit, but that’s all.
There’s a beach a bit dirty…
…& a little village not particularly nice.
We finally went back to the boat to go back to Cartagena
We stopped again in Cartagena suburbs & little children jumped in the water to come near the boat & ask for money.
I know there are many cities where there’s a huge gap between rich & poor people, but I really didn’t like Cartagena as I felt like poor people were hidden & a fake, cute city was built for tourists…
We walked from the port to the hotel, discovering new views of Cartagena…
In the evening we decided to stay in Getsemani & not to go back in the city centre.
We started the evening in Trinidad square, which after sunset is full of food & drink stalls & it’s like a meeting point for local people & tourists.
We wandered around to look for a local restaurant, but the majority of the restaurants nearby were Italian, American,…
We were almost giving up, when one of the waiters from a pizza place suggested a nearby Colombian restaurant, La Casa de Socorro, where apparently even the Colombian president goes for dinner when in Cartagena.
That I don’t know if it’s true, but we had a delicious grilled fish & a beautiful last night in Cartagena!
The morning after it was time to go to Salento & the coffee triangle! But that’s for next post!
Btw, I’m going away for NYE, I’ll spend one week sailing the Grenadines islands with hubby & some friends. I’ll probably have poor to inexistent internet connection… so I guess the following Colombian adventure will be in 2017!!
In the meantime, I wish you all wonderful NYE & a happy new year!!
& if you wanna know about the grenadines in direct live, you can follow me on Instagram!