A warm day by the Caribbean.

Cartagena Travel Blog

 › entry 2 of 27 › view all entries
The clock tower over the Puerta del Reloj. This was the main opening through the city wall.
Hello All,
I slept in today, and I feel pretty caught up on sleep.  I used today to familiarize myself with the 'Centro' area of town.  I walked around for about 30 minutes trying to find my hotel last night before finally stumbling upon it.  I grabbed a map from the tourist booth near the clock tower, and then set off exploring.

Cartagena is a beautiful walled city on the shore of the Caribbean Sea.  The views from the top of the city walls are great, and the old city is filled with old churches and atmospheric architecture.  After looking around for a few hours, the heat and humidity drove me back inside to refresh with some A/C and change my sweaty shirt.  This heat will take some getting used to.

In the late afternoon I took a taxi to the upscale Bocagrande tourist area.
A selection of sweets in the Plaza de los Coches.
 This is the area filled with high rise hotels and package tourists.  The city's best beaches are found here as well, although they are not up to 'Caribbean' standards.  As soon as hitting the beach, I was assailed by touts and salesmen.  They were pitching 'fresh' oysters (with a sexual potency pitch), messages (ladies with low-cut tops & massage oil), and beer (mmmm, beer), among other things.

I walked the semi-crowded beach for a while until the weather started getting bad.  The downpour started while I was in a pharmacy getting some anti-malarial drugs, and I was forced to flee while looking for a taxi.  BTW, it's really hard to bargain for a cab when you a drenched head to toe in a deluge.  Thankfully, the taxi took me right to the hotel door, and then I started the drying out process.
One of the nice buildings in the old town.


The rain stopped shortly after, so I went out for some food.  I picked a sidewalk cafe outside the Convento de Santo Domingo.  The plaza contained about six different restaurants.  Each of them aggresively attempts to attract patrons by waving menus about and throwing revved-up sales pitches at everybody walking by.  After checking all of the menus, I picked the cheapest one.  They must've hated me.  How dare I do such a thing.  :)

The exchange rate here has changed quite a bit since February.  And as is the case these days, it was not in the US Dollar's favor.  Because of this things seem really pricey.  Maybe it has more to do with the fact that Cartagena is Colombia's biggest tourist town.  I will find out once I move on to Santa Marta in a few days.
Cartagena's Catedral from down the street.


Dinner was tasty, but it was constantly interupted by sales pitches galore.  I did chose this plaza because it was crowded, I guess I expected it.  It was a very good area for people watching to be sure.  There was also a good Afro-Carib dance performance put on in the plaza, which was followed by a 'pass the hat' collection.

On the way back to the hotel I found a tour guide that sold me a trip tomorrow to the Islas del Rosario.  They are a group of 27 coral islands west of town.  The boat will also stop at an aquarium, and the best beach in the area Playa Blanca de Baru.  I met Paul from the taxi at the local grocery store, and he is keen to come along as well.  It should be a fun day!

Later,
Phil
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The clock tower over the Puerta de…
The clock tower over the Puerta d…
A selection of sweets in the Plaza…
A selection of sweets in the Plaz…
One of the nice buildings in the o…
One of the nice buildings in the …
Cartagenas Catedral from down the…
Cartagena's Catedral from down th…
TV or movie shoot in the Plaza de …
TV or movie shoot in the Plaza de…
Closer picture of the actors.  If …
Closer picture of the actors. If…
Shot from outside the wall near th…
Shot from outside the wall near t…
Looking at the Caribbean from the …
Looking at the Caribbean from the…
The western old city from the wall.
The western old city from the wall.
The beach at Bocagrande.
The beach at Bocagrande.
Another Bocagrande beach shot.  Yo…
Another Bocagrande beach shot. Y…
Plaza with monument to Pedro de He…
Plaza with monument to Pedro de H…
On top of the city wall.
On top of the city wall.
Cartagena
photo by: vulindlela