Cartagena de Indias

Cartagena Travel Blog

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Entering into the walled city
Sorry, more gripes about the air-conditioning on buses. 14 hour journey, no sleep at all, freezing despite bringing and wearing extra layers.

Anyways, Cartagena is a beautiful city on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, with a history of being sacked by "pirates" for its great wealth. It was captured first by Sir Francis Drake, then by the french corsair Baron de Pointis, and then another british sailor Vernon. To defend against this, although largely unsuccessful, Cartagena was made into a walled city and surrounded by forts along the coast. The historic centre is very beautiful, with flower decked balconies overlooking narrow cobbled streets. Outside of the centre is Getsemani, a slightly more chaotic area but good for nightlife when the weekend comes round.
Then to the south of the centre is Bocagrande and El Laguito, where the beachside apartment blocks rule the roost and the expensive hotels.

I spent most of my time either pottering around the old town, or sitting on the beaches. After two days I moved to a couchsurf in El Laguito, with two of the fellow couchsurfing friends I met in Cali, plus one of their brothers. The host was a nice french/tahitian lady who does translation and her main love which is scuba diving. She is a Divemaster with PADI. She took us to a salsa club on thursday night, with a live salsa band, and today we went on the Chiva bus, a party with unlimited rum and coke and an MC trying to make us all have fun on the bus. It also included a party on the walls of the old city with all the Chiva revellers joining in one place. Great fun!

An odd thing I did on Thursday was to visit a mud volcano, about 45 minutes drive from Cartagena, on the road north to Barranquilla. The volcano surges forth from the ground to a height of about 30m, but apparently the depth of the mud chamber is 2500m. Fortunately the density of the mud is such that you can't really sink. There are plenty of locals on hand to offer services such as taking photos with your camera (they're not very compatible with mud), giving you a massage inside the volcano and finally, an army of old ladies ready to wash the mud off in the neighbouring lagoon. The mud is supposed to have qualities beneficial to your skin.
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Entering into the walled city
Entering into the walled city
Attempts to fortify the city often…
Attempts to fortify the city ofte…
The mud volcano
The mud volcano
Manzanillo beach, outside of Carta…
Manzanillo beach, outside of Cart…
My bed. What a view when I woke up!
My bed. What a view when I woke up!
Cartagena
photo by: vulindlela