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.

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.

Penthouse-Living-in Cartagena Colombia ©HollyDayz
Living room/Dining Room area leading out to the 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.

Exploring Colorful Cartagena, Colombia © 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.

eating at pepe anca in cartagena, colombia ©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.

Exploring Colorful Cartagena, Colombia © 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.

Things-To-Know-Before-You-Go Cartagena Colombia ©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.

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.

Exploring Colorful Cartagena, Colombia © 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 as 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.

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.

Exploring Colorful Cartagena, Colombia © 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? 

exploring color cartagena, colombia