After waking up at 3am to leave the beautiful bustling city of Rio and our fav apartment in Copacabana, we sleepily hopped in a taxi to head to the Airport as the time had come to jet set to Colombia. A destination that is rapidly becoming more and more popular we felt we had to check it out to see what all the fuss was about. However, as we arrived at the Airport, we were informed that our flight had been delayed for 6 hours and we would miss our connection…C’MON AVIANCA! You were my fav airline until this nonsense!!
Long story short after a variety of taxis, back and forwards, flights and being awake for 24 hours we finally made it to Cartagena... and our accommodation – ''Cartagena friends’ hostel''. I won't even bother posting the link on the off chance you wanted to book it, as unless you are happy to book based on good reviews and nice photos but be delivered the complete opposite. It is painfully average at best, but is only costing $25NZD for a double with private bathroom so we can’t complain too much (even though in the taxi on the way here we were warned how unsafe it is…GREAT)
Then the next disaster of the day happened, getting out the taxi and into our shit hole of accommo Leo then started freaking out as he had left his phone in the taxi! Instant panic struck and he hopped in the first taxi he could hail and speeded off towards the Airport again to hopefully find our previous driver. Out of the 3 million cab drivers in Colombia, he managed to track this one down and find his phone… all while I stayed in the hostel having a full blown panic attack, scared shitless that it was the last time I would ever see him again. I did tell you it was a nightmare day, right?
Excited this day was over was an understatement.
Lonely Planet describes Cartagena as ‘ the undisputed queen of the Caribbean coast, a historic city of superbly preserved beauty lying within an impressive 13km of centuries-old colonial stone walls. Cartagena's Old Town is a Unesco World Heritage Site – a maze of cobbled alleys, balconies covered in bougainvillea, and massive churches that cast their shadows across leafy plazas.’ So after an average nights sleep in our cheap prison we could not wait to get out and explore this ancient city, and for once Lonely planet was correct – the old city of Cartagena is wonderful.
We walked and walked and walked, taking pictures at every turn of the incredible architecture that surrounded us with beautiful colored buildings and bright flowers. Really, we were impressed, despite the hundreds of locals pestering us every second trying to sell tours, hats, bags, jewelry, food, juice and 'big ass ants', which are a great aphrodisiac apparently – actually anything and everything you can imagine, you can buy it here. We stopped for chocolate brownie and ice-cream at one of the best little café’s we have ever been ‘Gelaterio Paradiso’ ( if you are in Cartagena I urge you to go!) It was so good, (well, their coffee was average but nice enough) Leo even pinned it on his Google maps…the first time he has ever done that!
After a small afternoon pass out due to it being so bloody hot, In the evening we went to ‘Café del Mar’ - probably the most famous bar and restaurant in Cartagena situated on top of the ancient city walls overlooking the sea, making it a perfect spot to watch the sunset with an albeit, very expensive cocktail. (around $15NZD) I guess it’s a once in a lifetime kinda experience.
I didn't get a single photo as the sunset was actually non existent due to the clouds when we went but the company was excellent, DJ was fab and I can imagine if the weather was good then it would be spectacular. We finished the evening at ‘Quero Arepa’ one of the best spots in town for great, cheap food, full of flavour while watching the Copa America game on TV. Walking back to our accommodation we were both knackered so fell asleep instantly after an amazing first day.
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Hey! I'm Ally. I left the UK in 2011 to move overseas and ended up in New Zealand - my new home. This year we are taking a gap year to loop the world stopping in some AMAZING destinations - and I'm passionate about sharing these adventures with you!