looking for a boat in paradise
Cartagena Travel Blog› entry 12 of 21 › view all entries
I had read that Cartagena is a fantastic colonial city, but the descriptions do not give the place justice. Cartagena is quite possibly the most beautiful place i have ever visited. Located on the Caribbean coast, Cartagena was a key port town during the Spanish colonial period. You can still see the remains of the fortified exterior walls lined with canons, which once protected the city from invading pirates. There is a walled in city center that has completely retained its colonial architecture, with its narrow streets packed with beautiful wooden and stone terraces. Just a short walk down the coast line from the city center are the beaches and modern sector of Cartagena.
Trey and I checked into Hotel Holiday with our dutch friends. Our hotel was just a couple blocks from the walled-in city center, in an equally amazing, though far less touristy part of town. WE all immediately headed into the city center with a group from our hostel to explore a bit. Unfortunately, since Catagena is extremely touristy, you cannot walk around town without being bothered by people trying sell something. This is the only problem in paradise, though it is a constant reminder of the reality of things in latin america.
The next day we all woke up early to go to the beach in town. As the sun began to rise, we realized quickly how hot it gets in Cartagena. During the day temperatues reach between 35-40C (which is around 100 or more degrees fahrenheit!!) The beach was nice, but probably the best part was when we played beach soccer with a group of Colombians.
The main reason we came to Cartagena is because it is one of the only places you can find a boat to take you to Panama. There are no roads in between Colombia and Panama and the section of jungle is far too dangerous to cross by foot because it is controled by leftist colombian rebels.
After i had a boat lined up, i felt much more at ease. The rest of my days in Cartagena, i spent hanging out in the town center in various cafés reading an amazing book called Pabillon that i picked up. The coffee in incredible here, so i find myself drinking about 3 or 4 cups a day!! i cant help myself. back in the states, some people used to call me Juan Valdez because of my coffee obsession, and now i get to drink it from the source!! Pretty cool.
This morning i bid farewell to our dutch friends who are heading to Santa Marta and the Ciudad Perdida. it was sad to see them go, but thats a part of traveling. We leave tomorrow morning on the boat for Panama, so i am spending today getting the necessary supplies. Im finally leaving South America and i cant help but a bit sad. Its a land that i have come to love immensely. As for Colombia, i encourage everyone to come and see it. In the west, and especially in the US, Colombia has one of the worst images because of the problems with drugs and rebel groups. In reality, if you research a bit and take some precuations, it is a fantastic country to visit. Indeed after Argentina, Colombia has been my favorite part of my time in S. America.
Adios Amérca del Sur.. nos vemos muy pronto! My next entry will be in 5 days from Panama!! (if the pirates of the Caribbean dont snatch us. jaja).