Travel Diary | Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena is located on the Northern coast of Colombia and it is most known for its beaches and El Centro. One of its nicknames is "La Ciudad Amurallada" or the Walled City. My family is from Cartagena so we tend to go often to visit them and vacation in general. We spent the holidays in Cartagena and it was absolutely beautiful, the new governor put a lot of holiday lights in the city this year. There was more tourism this year than 2 years ago when I last went and I have noticed a lot more construction going on. Cartagena is truly growing at a rapid pace.

Without further ado this is Cartagena.

El Castillo San Felipe de Barajas
It is a fortress and it was built in the 1500s during the colonial era by the Spanish.
I visited this castle in 2006 and inside there is a series of tunnels and you have to be guided by a tour guide because you can easily get lost. 

La Torre del Reloj
The Clock Tower

Hard Rock Cafe de Cartagena

 Gift shop downstairs.

 I ordered Chicken Marsala.
 On the second floor you can go out on the balcony and get a great view of la Torre del Reloj and la Plaza de la Aduana.

El Centro

Iglesia de San Pedro
San Pedro's Church

 El Centro at night

 In El Centro you can take carriage rides throughout El Centro for really cheap, 60,000 pesos (roughly 30 dollars) and they give you a nice tour. I had no idea that Simon Bolivar lived in Cartagena!

It's located past El Centro and it has the city's beaches and it is basically considered the upscale downtown where the richer people shop and reside. Its called Bocagrande because of the entrance of the city. Bocagrande literally means Big Mouth.

Fast food places here are nice lol.

In Bocagrande there is a new mall and it is pretty cool. The first floor is the parking garage but most cars park on the 8th and 9th floor, to reach those floors there are elevators for the cars. Its so cool, you drive into it and it takes you to those floors. The view from there is wonderful as well.

El Laguito
There's more beaches here and hotels.

Eating tip:
Things in El Centro can get pretty expensive and if you find yourself short on cash and you want something good to eat then head to Restaurant Espiritu Santo located on Calle Del Porvenir. It is really clean and the food is great. The dishes are around 10,000-15,000 pesos which is roughly around 5-8 dollars. You get your main dish and a soup.

You can also go to the restaurants that are located in the Plaza Santo Domingo. You eat outside and get to people watch and see some live shows. The dishes are not as expensive as the other nicer restaurants in the area. They can start from 20,000 pesos (roughly 10 dollars) and up.
Cartagena is a large city with rich history. I basically only showed you the more touristy parts because most tourists don't go out of El Centro, Bocagrande and El Laguito into the barrios (neighborhoods) because of safety reasons. Oh, and if its your first time coming here and you're thinking about renting a car then don't. It's really hard to drive here because taxi drivers are very aggressive and finding parking in El Centro is not pleasant. There are a few other tourist attractions such as La Popa and las Islas del Rosario. Unfortunately, I couldn't visit those because I didn't have enough time. I spent most of my time in the city during the day visiting family and running errands while at night I went to El Centro. El Centro is really fun and you can spend days walking around.

Cartagena really impressed me this year with these lights, it honestly felt so magical and put me in the holiday mood. I cant wait to go back this year.

What are your thoughts?


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