Before this trip, the little knowledge I had of Cartagena all involved secret service members, their “members”, and prostitutes. Needless to say, I was a little disappointed that I never even had a prostitute so much as look my way. Thanks a lot Obama.
In all seriousness, many reviews made it sound as if drugs, and sex were pushed constantly. We never saw any shady dealings. I think most of those reviews came from people who stayed in the city near the beach.
We stayed in the historic center of the city, sealed away behind battlement walls, overlooking the bay on one side, and the ocean on the other. I highly recommend staying in the historic district rather than the beach for a few reasons. First, most of the recommended tourist spots are inside the battlement walls.
Second, the beaches in Cartagena are nothing to write home about. Let me contradict myself and write home about it anyways. The beaches were small and filled with vendors. For good beaches I would go to Santa Marta, but that’s another blog post.
The historic zone is vibrant, and bursting with life. Horse drawn carriages clack down streets, while street performers showcase everything from breakdancing to mapalé.
Balconies enlaced with flowers and vines jut from houses painted in muted pastels, turned into patchwork from the salty air. Some might say the houses are in need of a fresh coat, but I think it only adds to their beauty.
The historic zone has something for everyone. They have bars, restaurants, site seeing, art and shopping. Wherever you choose to eat, get some Arroz con Coco , and a Coco Lemonade to wash it all down.
No matter where you stay, make sure you take a trip to the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas.
You will feel like you have entered Casterly Rock. I am now even more pumped for the season premiere of Game of Thrones. NERD ALERT. Walk through the tunnels that wind their way around the castle or hike to the top for a tremendous view of the surrounding city. Cartagena has a lot to offer, I only wish we had more time to soak up it’s history.