“Travel not to find yourself, but to remember who you’ve been all along” – Anon
Top 10 things to do in Cartagena
- Sunset at Cafe Del Mar. It is way more about the atmosphere and relaxing music than the cocktails. In fact, the cocktails are pretty poor considering what you pay, but the views are great. For those on a budget, buy a beer from the local store and sit up on the wall next door. Same atmosphere, half the price.
- Try passionfruit and ginger gin at Laboratorio Bar. This cool bar makes their own gin! They have all sorts of quirky flavours to choose from and have designed some great cocktails to compliment them.
- For salsa lovers – head to Havana Bar. I didn’t do this, we preferred the bar scene here however heard from a few people that it was a very fun night out! Only open Thursday/Friday and Saturday.
- Listen to live music at Plaza Trinidad. Regular buskers head down here to play anything from salsa music to rumba to DJ sets depending on time and atmosphere. The square comfortably allows seating on the walled edge and a local bottle shop is across the road so you can sit with a $1 beer and enjoy the music. Bliss.
- Walk around the top of the old town walls. This is probably only do-able in the early morning or evening as the cement literally soaks up the heat from the sun throughout the day making it very uncomfortably hot. I got up early one morning and went for a run with my iPod and exploring the wall without the crowds. Definitely recommended.
Visit Playa Blanca. Hands down one of the nicest beaches I have ever seen. You can stay overnight in a gorgeous cabana or just do a day trip. 45 minutes by car (50,000 pesos) or go by boat which takes longer (16,000 pesos). Clean beautiful sand, crystal clear water, cold beer, fresh grilled fish, music, reading and best of all – an old man comes along the beach every hour serving fresh pina coladas out of his wheelbarrow. 15,000 pesos gets you a huge pineapple skin filled with icy cold rum and coconut. This was paradise.
- Try an arejpa at Bar El Sur. We stumbled across the cute French bar one night and were hungry. We were really surprised at how good the food was! An arepa is a fried corn bread stuffed with cheese, avocado and meat. t is served hot so they all melt together. Yum!
- Eat ice-cream.
- Eat fresh fruit from the street carts. Pineapples, mangos, watermelons and papaya. Some geniuses also cut it all up for you to make an easy to eat fruit salad. Perfect!
- Cool down at Bocagrande beach. Definitely no where as beautiful as Playa Blanca, but close enough to visit for an hour or 2 without it taking up your whole day. Pools are limited in the old town, and the heat from the cobblestone streets is very intense! Taxis there will take 10 minutes and should cost 6,000 pesos. You can hire a shady tent for 10,000 pesos. I enjoyed watching the sellers with tanning oil, snow cones, fresh fish, beer, sarongs etc. It can get annoying after awhile but good enough for a short break from the city.