If you’re looking for a city with soul, one that charms by day and pulses with energy after dark, then look no farther than Cartagena. Colombia’s Caribbean coastal gem, what some consider the most beautiful Spanish Colonial city in the Western Hemisphere, is bewitching. And like many before, I, too, fell under her spell.
Maybe it was the pastel-colored buildings with bougainvillea spilling over iron balconies, so reminiscent of New Orleans. Or the horse-drawn carriages clopping down the narrow cobblestone streets of the El Centro district. Or maybe it was the infectious spirit of the local people whose enthusiasm is seen around every corner – on their faces and in their artwork. There’s much to love in Cartagena!
This walkable city, once the gateway to South America and major player in the gold trade, now shines with a new luster. Renovated hotels, fashionable shops, acclaimed restaurants, and perennial sunshine attract visitors looking for an easy (3-hour direct flights from Atlanta) and stylish getaway. They know what I now know: Cartagena is a real treasure.
A Few Favorite Places and Insider Tips:
Museo del Oro Zenu (the gold museum) offers fascinating and free tours with an indigenous Zenu tribe guide. A must!
Cafe Havana is the place to go for a little late-night salsa action, but take a nap first as the fun doesn’t really begin until 11 pm.
Foodies will fall for Cartagena’s abundance of fresh and inexpensive seafood, especially the incredible ceviche found at nearly every restaurant. El Boliche Cebicheria and Maria are two favorite spots.
Caroline Travels the World…And So Can You.