Our final destination in Colombia was the colorful city Cartagena! We took a bus (company Brasilia) from Santa Marta to Cartagena and a taxi from the bus station to our hotel. It took us 6 hours to travel from Santa Marta to Cartagena.
Cartagena is a popular tourist destination in Colombia and is located on the Caribbean coast. The old city, which is an UNESCO world heritage site, is filled with Spanish colonial houses which makes every street picture worthy. On the lively streets, you’ll find fresh fruit stands, street vendors and a lot of cute cafe’s and restaurants. Compared to the other places we visited in Colombia, Cartagena was way more touristic and expensive. It’s also extremely hot in Cartagena, even for us (we live on a Caribbean island!). Therefor, I would recommend to do everything at a slow pace and take a break every now and then at a place with air conditioning.
Where to stay
We stayed just outside the official old town of Cartegana in the neighborhood Gatsemani. I would suggest to stay in this area over staying in the old town, because it’s not in the center of the touristic area (meaning: you’ll not be flooded with street vendors as soon as you leave your hotel). We stayed at Friends 2 Be Hostel, which is a great hotel with huge modern rooms. Th only negative thing was that our room was right in front of the breakfast area, which caused a lot of noise when they prepared the breakfast. Other than that, we had a great stay!
What to do in Cartagena?
Explore the old town
We couldn’t wait to explore the old town. After the first hour of exploring, and walking at a fast pace to the old city, we knew we had to take it down a notch. Every street is characterized by the Spanish colonial architecture and it feels like you’re walking back in time.
Drink a homemade lemonade
This was the best refresher on these hot streets of Cartagena. They make the lemonade with fresh limes!
Shopping in boutique shops
There are so many boutique shops & little markets who also support local designers & artists.
Where to eat?
Cafe stepping stone – breakfast
Thé best breakfast spot in Cartagena! From smoothie bowls to avocado toast, they serve everything your breakfast heart desires. The nicest thing about this spot is that 3 young Australians opened the shop to provide employment to the local disadvantaged youth.
Di Silvio Trattoria
Craving pizza or pasta? This is the place to be! For a second. you almost forget you’re in Cartagena and not in Italy 😉
This restaurant caught our eye when we walked back to our hostel. Dimmed lights, nice decoration, delicious food and friendly staff. A must see!