With a knack to learn newer local cultures and be exposed to an atmosphere vastly different to mine – a visit to Cartagena in Columbia ensured I achieved all this, and more.
As the flight landed, I could immediately feel a certain vibe in the air. With hospitable people, Cartagena seems a treat, as soon as you step foot.
The pathways of Getsemani
My first stop was one of the most ‘instagrammable’ places of Cartagena – the streets of Getsemani. Displaying art and culture in a fusion, a walk down the lanes resulted in picturesque graffiti on the walls greeting me like an old friend. A reminder of how this was a hub of hipsters, and all things ‘cool’ in the past, the area still brimmed with activity.
With cafes lining the streets, and a famous Italian restaurant present to fulfill your cravings – Getsmani touches your heart and soul with its local vibe.
Tip! Go to Plaza de la Santisima for live music at night!
Mercado de Bazurto
As a fan of the local souq in the Middle East, I searched for a similar market in Cartagena. I believe markets are places of local social encounters, and provide a clear view to the culture of a place. I found all such qualities in the local food market of Mercado de Bazurto.
As I roamed the market, I could find everything; from fruit to vegetable to meat to local delicacies – you name it and they have it. Making my way through the maze-like lively market, I could hear loud chants of hawkers, alongside a view of customers with exceptional bargaining skills.
If you are in search of a truly ‘local’ experience, the Bazurto Market is a great place to go. But be vary of your belongings, and avoid wearing evident jewelry.
As one who adores beautiful architecture, and craves all things historic – the fortress n Cartagena was a must-visit on my list. As you approach the area, you are greeted by a huge clock tower gate, which provides entrance to the modern world, within the historic frame. A world within a world, I thought.
In the past, this walled city provided protection to people from incoming natural calamities such as storms. It even proved a mighty fortress in case of pirate encounters. However, today, as you enter the walls, a different sight awaits you.
Brimming with lavish hotels, and shops, this is only the tip of the iceberg. If you are in search of local cuisines, a wide variety of restaurants and bars greets you with open arms. As a food-lover, this was a place I never wished to exit.
A visit to Columbia without visiting any of the beaches seems impossible. As I took the boat from the Cartagena port, and reached the beach in merely 45 minutes, the sight which greeted me was worth the wait.
Beautiful sandy beach, clear, fresh water, and a lovely sun above – I simply had to lay down my picnic basket and umbrella, and was all set for the best time of my life. The local touch to this beach was brought by the fresh food it offered. Catch some fresh fish, and devour it alongside delicious coconut rice – a peculiar combination indeed.
For an up-close view to people and culture in Columbia, the Cartagena is a lovely place to visit. Just learn enough Spanish to go around, and you are set for a great trip.