Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombian novelist and writer of Love in the Times of Cholera, said his life changed completely when first visiting Cartagena. The city stole his heart and became a basis of inspiration for his work.
It is not difficult to understand why.
The old town has intact architecture from the sixteenth century, flowers are blooming on overhanging balconies, and vines are beautifully covering the city walls.
Its people and music give the city a fun personality. No matter day or night, this city is always vibrant and full of life. Despite it being touristy, many locals still live here and keep the Colombian culture alive.
Live salsa plays everywhere at night and the plazas are filled with people enjoying food and drinks. Wander the streets of Cartagena and absorb the beauty of the street life and architecture all around you.
Tips & Recommendations for Cartagena
- It gets very hot in Cartagena. Always have a water bottle with you and dress light. I love warm weather and never complain about it, but it was too hot even for me.
- Have a medium to high budget when visiting. Besides wandering the beautiful streets, the beauty of Cartagena also lies within its hotels, restaurants, clubs, and local markets. Go there to treat yourself to these things.
- Book a hotel or apartment in Getsemani. It is walking distance to the old town and is also a very beautiful and safe neighborhood.
- Three to four days is enough for Cartagena. Besides the old town, there is not much to do. Leaving the old town and neighboring areas is not recommended for tourists.
- Meet some locals. Colombians are extremely kind and friendly people.
- To read more about other locations in Colombia you can read this blog post about Medellin.