Exploring Colorful Cartagena, Colombia

After constantly hearing about how beautiful Cartagena, Colombia is I really wanted to visit. I decided to go as an early birthday trip. My mom in tow we set off to explore colorful Cartagena, Colombia.

Exploring Colorful Cartagena, Colombia www.hollydayz.com ©2016 HollyDayz

Once we arrived to Cartagena we took a taxi to our Airbnb and of course was ripped off. There are no meters in the taxis. Not too big of a deal though we were just happy to arrive at the apartment complex as we were tired. No one spoke English and so I emailed the owner to ask the building manager to get us into the apartment as soon as he could. They were still cleaning it when we arrived.

Living room/Dining Room area leading out to the balcony ©2016 HollyDayz
Living room/Dining Room area leading out to a balcony ©2016 HollyDayz

The apartment was very open, modern, and beautiful. The views from every window made it even better. The balconies on both ends of the apartment made it even more enjoyable. We certainly enjoyed the apartment the entire time we were there and really made it a vacation. The apartment complex had a ton of stores and restaurants so we ate many meals in the area. It was also a couple of blocks from the beach which wasn’t that great up close.

La Gordita in the Walled City www.hollydayz.com ©2016 HollyDayz
La Gordita in the Walled City www.hollydayz.com ©2016 HollyDayz

We visited Centro or The Walled City a few times on this trip. There is plenty to do and see in the area. The first time we explored on our own and had an amazing meal at a restaurant called Pepe Anca. I highly recommend this place as do many guidebooks that we found in our Airbnb. The Walled City is extremely colorful and picturesque.

Grilled Salmon ©2016 HollyDayz
Grilled Salmon from Pepe Anca ©2016 HollyDayz

After walking around a bit we took a horse carriage ride around. The gentleman knew we didn’t speak Spanish fluently, but decided to act as if we did talking about what we were seeing during the ride. One thing we were not expecting to see was a woman standing in the middle of the street naked.

Colorful Cartagena inside the Walled City ©2016 HollyDayz
Colorful Cartagena inside the Walled City ©2016 HollyDayz
Love The Colors Everywhere ©2016 HollyDayz
Love The Colors Everywhere ©2016 HollyDayz

It was pretty hot so we headed back to the apartment and took a little stroll around the beach in Bocagrande. It was unimpressive and looked better from the apartment. We talked (mostly typing on Google translate) with the tour company which was right downstairs from where we were staying and arranged to go on a tour of all the sights.

Bocagrande ©2016 HollyDayz
Bocagrande ©2016 HollyDayz

After a great breakfast we got on this bus that looked like a truck/bus to take a tour and we saw so much. It was really hot so we were glad we brought water. Some of the highlights of what we saw included, a tour of the Emerald Museum in the Walled City, Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, Los Zapatos Viejos (Old Shoes), the highest point in Cartagena, La Popa, and more. Although the truck/bus thing broke down they kept it together and safely moved us to another truck/bus.

Views from La Popa ©2016 HollyDayz
Views from La Popa ©2016 HollyDayz
Los Zapatos Viejos ©2016 HollyDayz
Los Zapatos Viejos ©2016 HollyDayz
Castillo San Felipe de Barajas ©2016 HollyDayz
Castillo San Felipe de Barajas and truck buses ©2016 HollyDayz

That entire day of exploring was tiring and we relaxed and watched Netflix back at the apartment. We had scheduled another tour to go to Isla Rosario, but we decided not to go. Instead we wanted to explore some more and see the barrio, Getsemani. Since we cancelled, the tour agent decided he wanted to set us up with a tour guide.

Cartagena Street Art ©2016 HollyDayz
Cartagena Street Art ©2016 HollyDayz

I most likely wouldn’t have walked around Getsemani alone. It seems safer with a male or group of people. It was a bit sketchy. They were selling toilets on the street corner too. However there are a ton of hostels in the area. The tour guide we had was terrible. I told the man exactly what I wanted to see and where it was several times in English and Spanish and he ended up dragging us all over the place for 2 hours on foot in the horrible heat. He took us no where that the tour agency told him to take us. We went where he wanted to go, he really didn’t care.

Street art in Getsemani ©2016 HollyDayz
Street art in Getsemani ©2016 HollyDayz
Maria Mulata Street Art in Getsemani ©2016 HollyDayz
Maria Mulata Street Art in Getsemani ©2016 HollyDayz

Finally we talked to our driver who took us to see some of the street art around Getsemani. While I didn’t get to see all of what I wanted to see I was happy I did see some of it. I was also able to see where they used to keep the slaves, which are now stores. There is a deep African history in Cartagena I would like to go back and learn more about.

Stores that used to be where slaves were kept ©2016 HollyDayz
Stores that used to be where slaves were kept ©2016 HollyDayz

All in all it was a great trip. I would recommend visiting as it is a fun colorful city and your money goes a long way. Definitely know some Spanish. They aren’t really ready for tourist as so many people don’t speak English. There is a good amount of things to know before you go. If you are looking for some beach life then I suggest going to Playa Blanca or Isla Rosario. Other than that you will enjoy exploring colorful Cartagena, Colombia. I would go back and take some day trips to other areas.

Have you ever been to Cartagena, Colombia? 

58 thoughts on “Exploring Colorful Cartagena, Colombia

  • June 23, 2016 at 8:47 pm
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    Maybe the naked lady was working lmao

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    • June 27, 2016 at 7:12 pm
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      Who knows what she was doing lol..

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  • June 23, 2016 at 8:56 pm
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    Who would buy a toilet seat on a tour and how would they carry it home? Things they didn’t think about. Hahaha. Sounds like a crazy fun time with eventful memories lol. the street artwork is beautiful

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    • June 27, 2016 at 7:12 pm
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      I have no idea. The tour guide was like “if you want to buy a toilet…” Why on earth would I want to do that?

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  • June 24, 2016 at 9:27 am
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    Your pictures are beautiful! I love how colorful this city is. Loving that statue too.

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    • June 27, 2016 at 7:13 pm
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      Thank you. It is a very vibrant city.

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  • June 24, 2016 at 11:26 am
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    I love all the colors! Sorry about getting ripped off by the cab driver. It happens everywhere. Glad you had a good time on the whole and the food looks like it was delicious 🙂

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    • June 27, 2016 at 7:13 pm
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      I do too. Oh no biggie. In American money it wasn’t much lol, but still no bueno.

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    • June 27, 2016 at 7:14 pm
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      It is I loved seeing it all. Definitely brush up on your Spanish!

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  • June 24, 2016 at 8:10 pm
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    I’m loving all of the bold vibrant colors. The Art is a lot of fun, I would have had a full on photo shoot. That apartment is nice and fancy, you totally lucked up with that.

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    • June 27, 2016 at 7:15 pm
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      Me too. The city is filled with colors. I loved the apartment.

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  • June 24, 2016 at 10:00 pm
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    Cartagena looks beautiful. I love the colors of the buildings. I hate unmetered taxis in foreign countries for that same reason. It looks like you had a great time!

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    • June 27, 2016 at 7:15 pm
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      I loved the colors too. I had a good time. A mix of relaxation and exploring.

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  • June 25, 2016 at 9:36 am
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    Thank you for allowing us to experience the beauty through your eyes.

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    • June 27, 2016 at 7:16 pm
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      So glad you enjoyed.

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  • June 25, 2016 at 10:45 am
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    Looks like you found an awesome Airbnb in your trip. It’s always tricky though with language barriers. In countries that have taxi’s without meters I usually ask someone how much the taxi ride should cost and then negotiate prior to getting in the taxi.

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    • June 27, 2016 at 7:17 pm
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      I got the opportunity to ask later on. That is how I found out lol. The Airbnb was amazing!

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  • June 25, 2016 at 2:50 pm
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    Love the colors! Thinking we should head there soon 🙂

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    • June 27, 2016 at 7:17 pm
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      You should. I think you would enjoy.

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  • June 25, 2016 at 3:53 pm
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    I love all the colorful buildings–so pretty! The apartment looks amazing too! The are always so fun to stay in. And the Grilled Salmon from Pepe Anca looks delicious–I’d like to give that a try!

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    • June 27, 2016 at 7:19 pm
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      I loved seeing all the colors. I loved the apartment. It felt so good to come back to it after a long day. The food was delicious at Pepe Anca.

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  • June 25, 2016 at 5:11 pm
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    I cannot wait to get to Cartegena for myself. Its such a vibrant and lively place it seems.

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    • June 27, 2016 at 7:20 pm
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      It is a nice city. You will enjoy how vibrant it is. There is much to see and do.

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  • June 26, 2016 at 3:02 am
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    Great travel tips and photos, the street art looks great and match with all the colourful surrounds!
    Colombia is high on my travel list, planning to visit the country next year, so really appreciate the tips!
    Happy Travels,

    Nat

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    • June 27, 2016 at 7:20 pm
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      Oh awesome glad it will come in handy for your trip. I hope you enjoy!

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  • June 26, 2016 at 3:46 am
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    There is such a contrast between your super modern accommodation and the streets of Cartegena! The rustic multi-colored buildings make me think of a bygone times and the street art is just incredible!

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    • June 27, 2016 at 7:21 pm
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      Your so very right! The outside of the building would never imagine you to think the inside looked like that either.

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    • June 27, 2016 at 7:23 pm
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      That was the trip too. Relaxing inside crazy outside.

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  • June 26, 2016 at 8:19 am
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    Beautiful place. Looks so very inviting. Good looked amazing and I loved the art!

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    • June 27, 2016 at 7:24 pm
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      The art was amazing.

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  • June 26, 2016 at 11:10 am
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    Love your photos! Such a beautiful and colorful place. Also, what a pretty AirBnB. What made you choose Cartagena? Is it fairly inexpensive?

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    • July 2, 2016 at 9:47 pm
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      Thank you so much. It was a very colorful place. I enjoyed the place we stay. I choose it because it seemed so photogenic with much to see. It is inexpensive.

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  • June 26, 2016 at 3:23 pm
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    Well, now I know where to buy a toilet in Cartagenga! This truly sounds like a fabulous trip – it’s a place I’d love love love to see. Great that you scored a comfortable apartment. The Emerald Museum in the Walled City sounds so exotic.

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    • July 2, 2016 at 9:48 pm
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      Right! Me too lol. It was a nice trip I enjoyed myself. I really loved the apartment and wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again. The Museum was a nice tour. Learned a bunch.

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  • June 26, 2016 at 8:19 pm
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    Looks like a beautiful city! We would love to explore Cartagena one of these days and your Airbnb looks amazing!!

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    • July 2, 2016 at 10:38 pm
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      It was so beautiful. I hope you get there soon.

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  • June 27, 2016 at 12:16 am
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    Nice post and thanks for sharing.
    The apartment was really nice! esp. seeing it from the video.
    Besides, the city has quite a lot of things to see and do – which I believe it would be a great vacation like you did.

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    • July 2, 2016 at 10:39 pm
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      Yes it was very nice. I especially enjoyed the views. There is much to see and do for sure!

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  • June 27, 2016 at 1:40 am
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    I’m sorry your tour guide wasn’t good, that must have been quite frustrating. Although your apartment looks lovely! What an interesting trip to enjoy with your mum 🙂

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    • July 2, 2016 at 10:40 pm
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      That guy was a trip! It was very frustrating, especially for my mother.

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    • July 2, 2016 at 10:40 pm
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      It is so pretty and colorful. It has its own personality.

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  • June 27, 2016 at 6:17 am
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    After the toilet street sales and naked lady (sales?) and the two hour mystery tour, I may have ended up spending quality time with that gorgeous Airbnb… LOL

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    • July 2, 2016 at 10:41 pm
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      lmao that is exactly what we did.

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  • June 27, 2016 at 11:40 am
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    I really liked walking around Cartagena. Most of my pictures are of the architecture. I loved the statues also. I just wish I got better food when I went.

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    • July 2, 2016 at 10:42 pm
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      The architecture and colors were so beautiful. Funny you say that, the food was good, but it wasn’t like oh my God I need to eat this every day that I am here.

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  • June 27, 2016 at 11:50 am
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    I love the bright colors and street art all over the city, whether it is murals or the fun and creative ol’ shoe that makes a really cool photo opp for tourists. I would love to go to Colombia and explore the culture and country!

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    • July 2, 2016 at 10:43 pm
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      I do too. Every single time I walked around I found something new I hadn’t seen before.

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  • June 27, 2016 at 4:37 pm
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    It certainly is a colorful city! I’m glad you were able to enjoy it, even if your tour guides weren’t that great. And your apartment looked really nice too!

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    • July 2, 2016 at 10:43 pm
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      The first tour we took was awesome, but that walking tour…ehhhhhh.

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  • June 29, 2016 at 11:09 am
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    What a colorful place! I had no idea. Your pictures did a marvelous job of capturing everything, and making it a place I’d love to visit.

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    • July 2, 2016 at 10:45 pm
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      Thank you so much! I took so many I think I went overboard but there was so much there.

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  • July 1, 2016 at 9:10 pm
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    It is definitely colorful!! Good info to know especially about the Spanish. I love anywhere with good food and a good beach lol And that penthouse is fabulous!

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    • July 2, 2016 at 10:46 pm
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      Yea, they barely speak English even with all the tourist. The beach nearby is eh ya gotta go a bit out for a good beach.

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  • July 3, 2016 at 11:29 pm
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    Love your honesty, Holly. Not all tours are created equal but I’d love to see Cartegena guide or no.

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    • July 9, 2016 at 9:31 pm
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      Thank you. They are definitely not. The first tour was great the second was not. Still an overall good time.

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