So it seems that everyone and their mother has been traveling to Cartagena recently. Over sixty of my friends descended upon the city at once. Some were traveling with tour groups from Jetquest, Nomadness and Wind Collective (If you've never heard of these travel companies... you need to check them out ASAP). And others were there for birthdays or just because.... f.o.m.o. If you are one of the few people that missed the memo about Cartagena... now you know. And before you go... here are a few tips to make the most of your tip.
My top 10
1. Visit Palenque
This historic town was founded by Benkos Biohó, a runway slave, in the 1600's as a safe haven for other runaways. The inhabitants hid in the forest and swamps and fought off their oppressors for years until they finally reached a truce and were left the hell alone. The town still preserves their African culture, traditions and languages. To book a tour, click here.
2. Visit Bomba Beach
This is by far the best beach in Cartagena. It's only a 10 minute boat ride from Bocagrande. For around $50 usd, you get transportation, lunch, a hammock and your own little slice of the beach. The beach is a local hangout, so you won't get harassed by vendors. Book your tour here.
3. Visit Cholon Beach
This is the party beach. If you are looking for a turn up, jet skis, boozy beach day... head here. You won't be disappointed.
4. Go Snorkeling
Before you land at Cholon Beach, make sure to hit up the Rosario Islands for a little snorkeling. And after you swim make sure to try the lobster, fresh from the ocean, grilled and delivered straight to your boat.
5. Take a Graffiti Tour of Getsamani
If you like street art then you'll love Getsamani. There are several murals that are the size of entire buildings.
6. Eat Your Heart out
Cartagena is known for having some of the best food. You really can't go wrong with any of the restaurants in the old city. Some of my favourite restaurants are Carmen Cartagena, Harry Sasson, & Epoca.
7. Party at Eivissa
There are several places to party in Cartagena but Eivissa is my favorite by far. There have two floors with separate DJ. The main floor plays hip-hop and Colombian music. The rooftop plays EDM and European Music. So you have the best selection no matter what your music tastes are. This is the perfect bar if you like dancing.
8. Shop at Cassa Abba
Cassa Abba is a quaint boutique with a multitude of shops inside. Their main focus are accessories. If you are looking for jewelry, this is the place to go.
9. Get Popsicles at La Platteria
These popsicles are so good that they should go by another name. They are the tastiest popsicles that I've ever had. My favourite flavour is mixed berry with flakes of dark chocolate.... yummmm.
10. Shop the Street Vendors
The vendors that line the streets of the walled city have the best prices for handbags and souvenirs. Cartagena is known for their Panama hats... which actually originated in Colombia, NOT Panama. Whatever you buy, make sure that you bargain. Your final price should be around 2/3 to 1/2 of the vendors original asking price. Ex. The vendor says a purse is 30 Pesos. So you should pay around 15-20 pesos.
I hope that you love Cartagena as much as I do!
Thanks for Reading!