Saturday, December 8, 2012

Travel Dream List: Cartagena, Colombia

The folks at Hike Bike Travel are planning a trip to Colombia and were checking in for travel advice. While a visit to Colombia was a spontaneous decision for them, it has been on my list for a while now, primarily because of Cartagena.

In my mind, Cartagena has always epitomized Caribbean tropical glamor and adventure – a city that harkens back to the Miami or Havana of the 1950s.

While Cartagena escaped the violence of Colombia’s drug culture, it has long been avoided by Americans due to the danger in the rest of the country. With Colombia becoming increasingly safe, it’s time to start planning a visit!
Juan Camilo Maya, via Wikimedia Commons

The old city is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a wealth of Spanish Colonial buildings surrounded by a 400 year old wall. A stroll along the wall provides views of the Caribbean to one side and of the old city on the other. It is a city perfect for strolling.

More history can be found at the Spanish Castillo de San Felipe fortress, which presides over the city from high above. It sounds like a good place to explore and to take in the view.

Kamilokardona via Wikimedia Commons
poirpom (Flickr: Ravage) via Wikimedia Commons
Of course, Cartagena is a large, modern city too, with high rises and business districts like other cities. But there are other neighborhoods worth exploring and good food and music are found throughout the city.

This seaside city is also famous for its beaches and there seems to be a beach for every mood and occasion.

Despite the wealth of beaches in and around the city, the best beaches are a relatively short boat ride away in the Rosario Islands.

(However, the most pristine Colombian island is probably Providencia (Old Providence) which is far to the north near Nicaragua. The island and surrounding waters have been designated as the Sea Flower Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in recognition of the area’s biodiversity.  I might have to make this a side trip or maybe part of a trip to Nicaragua or Costa Rica.)

Resources
This is Cartagena is a comprehensive travel site, including current art and entertainment
Discover Colombia: Cartagena 
Colombia Information
Daviddavid00 via Wikimedia Commons


The Travel Dream List

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