The jewel in Colombia´s crown
Cartagena Travel Blog› entry 79 of 134 › view all entries
Cartegena is everything they say and more! Located on the Caribbean coast it was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in the 90s (They have so many UNESCO sites in Latin America!). The city was founded in 1533 by a Spanish commander and it became a wealthy city and thus attarcted the attention of pirates and bandits. The Spanish therefore built fortes to protect it, the most mpressive being San Felipe where they thought of every possible thing to protect the city, the fortress is a work of genius, if you were the Spanish that is.
The walled part of the city contains the centro, san diego and Getsemani, with the centro being the location of many of the historical sights including Simon Bolivar Plaza, the Inquisition museum where many "witches" were tourtured, tried and killed, the modern art museum and many other beautiful plazas.
Tow of the highlights that the guide books recommend are the city tour and a boat trip out to the Roasario Islands and Playa Blanca. So after joining forces with a great couple from Oz, Bernie and Stuart, we took on Cartegena. The first trip was the chiva city tour ($40,000 COP) which departed from Casa Vienna at 2pm and took us out to meet the chiva (a traditional mode of transport) in Bocogrande, the new part of Cartegena. It was rather difficult to hear the tour guide but what we did hear was interesting and informative.
The next day we took a less than luxury boat ride out to the islands. The boat was crammed full of 150 people and wasnt excatly what i had in mind. Still, it was good to be out on the open sea and enjoying some sunshine again. The first stop was at the Islas del Roasario where for an extra $15,000 you can visit a rather unexciting aquarium. We passed and soaked up some rays. The next stope was the incredible Playa Blanca. A white stretch of tropical paradise where we had our first taste of Patacon (fired plantain), coconut rice and beans. Yummy. My first dip into the Caribbean sea was a good one with the water as warm as bath water, palm tress to stare at and the sun to enjoy. Life is tough.-I can not wait to get back here and stay later in my trip.