Skip to content

Cartagena: colonial buildings, street art and island tours


We woke up inmorally early, so we had more than enough time to work and shower while waiting for breakfast with the other guests, a French family, whose youngest and his colombian girlfriend were our roomies. We were all told that breakfast was from 7 to 10, but when Alex asked the boy who was in reception that day at 7:45, he said it was from 8. Coffee, croissant with fried eggs, and a nice chocolate drink. 

We ruled ot going to Monserrate, since by then we felt rushed (besides the fact that the sun was up, and we were burnt!) and worked, packed, said goodbye to the french family and worked some more until 11:20. We took a bus (the first one we were supposed to take arrived with the next one) to the aiport. We checked our two bags, even if the woman at the counter said Alex's would not have needed, but it was already payed for and I was not sure it would fit if they were mean at the gate... Then walked a bit before security check, and got some chicken pie to nibble on. 
We flew at 14:30 and took 1h to Cartagena, not the scheduled 90min. And we used Moovit (an app that a local recommended us in the bus coming back from Usaquen) to check the buses. Again, we needed another card to pay for it, so we payed the girl behind us for our tickets. We had to change, but it was at a bus station so we don't have to pay twice (noice). 
We arrived in the hostel, Hostal Ocean View, payed, and I saw "bathroom outside" writen on the bill. I told them I had reserved a private bathroom. They said it was outside the room, but still private. And when we went to the room... of course it wasn't. So I asked them to explain to me what the difference was between private and shared, and they confessed they screwed up, said sorry, and that we could change room the next night. But that was all for lying to my face

We walked to the beach, stoped in a tour agency to ask about islas del Rosario, and got to see the sunset on the windiest beach in history. After that, we decided to book the luxury trip for the next day (it was my birthday, after all). The hostel also offered tours, but thanks to our first encounter we decided not to do anything with them. We bought sunscream, breakfast, went back to the room to leave it and went out for dinner. We ended up in a pizza & beer place. There was a guy singing an we tipped him 650 COP. He had to wait for us find the coins, and a couple minutes after he left we realized that was about 0.17 euro, and we felt terrible. On the other hand, the people at the 2 tables next to us were total assholes to the staff, so we felt less bad. And so, we went to the hostel to sleep at 10.

Snacks to go
Cartagena airport
Sunset at the beach


We woke up early again, and I went to buy some water at the 24h store at 7 am, where I had to buy through a small security window. We made breakfast, and at 7:50, 10 minutes early, our pickup arrived. In the rush I forgot my phone and had to come back, and then we went to pick up and waited for some italians that never appeared. Poor people driving us xD. We arrived at the port, and at 9 we got a speed boat to Isla del Encanto. It was a 1 hour trip, and I sat in the back (I left Alex in the middle with some shadow) and got toootally wet, like the couple next to me. When we arrived, we got one of those big beach beds next to them and eventually talked with them: a Colombian and a Russian, living in NY.

We swam, drank cocktails, bought jewelery, did a photoshooting (and bought pics! and then felt bad about it, because it was expensive and they were not even cool... but hey, it was my birthday and we were drunk), ate our bufet and we started the way back. The sea was rough, so we had to take the way south and into the river, with a small chance of standing in mud! A motor broke and we changed boat (free adrenaline rush!) , and overtook all the other boats being faster than us until that moment. 
Once back, we bought a bus card and went to Getsemani since we were just there. Super colorful and nice. Then we took a bus back to Bocagrande to our hostel, where they had changed our room (yay) To be completely honest, it looked worse, but it had a private bathroom! Where we showered before going out. We walked around looking for food, and along the promenade and ended up in a burger shop, drinking some beer with it . And after it, at 10... went back to sleep xD

Suffering in Isla del Encanto
This is the best picture of the photoshooting... man
Walking around Getsemaní
Getsemaní street art


We got up early and had breakfast, but without our yogurt, since according to the working lady, it spilled in the fridge and she had to throw it away... Really with our history with her, we'll never be sure if she was telling the truth. Then we left our clothes in a laundry and looked for a bus to the San Felipe Fortress. Some guys pointed out to us one of the old buses, which we had to pay in cash, had no air conditioning and was very slow, but the guy took us all the way to the door and told us where to go. 

The fortress was great, and we had fun exploring its tunnels. And we had to buy water and lemonade because we forgot the water. Then we went to a Juan Valdez, the "Colombian Starbucks", for some coffee and working a couple of hours. While we were there, we thought that we don't like crowds at all and that were not sure we would like three nights in the Carnaval de Barranquilla anymore, so we spontaneously cancelled a night on our Barranquilla AirBnb. The owner got a little upset, but we explained and said sorry, she was right, but it was not with bad intentions. 
For lunch, we had a menu of the day and some mojitos at Mama Llena and after that, we went to the walled city. Inside the wall we walked, bought a pack of beers and sat on the wall to watch the sunset. A street vendor got mad at me for securing my bag when he came near, and it made me mad too! Sorry for distrusting my surroundings! I wasn't even doing it for him, I didn't even see it coming, it was for my own peace of mind!

After the sunset, we had a beer on a terrace, and then we went to Getsemaní, at Carrera 10, to have some arepas at an arepas stand that we saw closing at lunch time. We had to wait 30 minutes, and they weren't that special, if you ask me. Then I had to go to the bathroom, so I went to Mama Llena, and when I came out, two very young prostitutes were talking to Alex while he didn't seem to understand what they were saying. They were super nice, felt the need to explain to me that they were working and saw Alex looking lonely... hahaha Then they offered a threesome and after we politely refused, they left. We took the bus, which at 9:30 was the last one, back to the hostel.

Exploring tunnels in San Felipe
Smile in Getsemaní!
Colombian building inside the walled city
Sunset from the walls


We woke up very early and went to the beach to swim. After showering, we went to pick up our laundry but it wasn't finished yet, so we had breakfast at a place called the Palacio de la Fruta (super yummy) and went to a Juan Valdez to work and plan/book the next few days. 

We booked a tour to Ciudad Perdida without problems, but the bus to Barranquilla didn't work, and we couldn't find one to continue to Santa Marta. So we picked up our clothes and went to the tourist agency to ask the woman, Gloria. She offered us 2 mini vans for a couple of euros more than the buses would cost, and happily agreed to it! We left our laptops at the hostel and went to the walled city to walk, eat some street food and watch the sunset on the wall again

Then we went to the rooftop of the Hotel Movich, with incredible views, but it was full, so we took a couple of pictures and left. Then, walking around, we saw a very crowded restaurant and decided to go in. It was La Mulata, apparently a pretty famous one. Alex's Mulata Shrimps were to die for. My Camarones Habaneros were also nice, but a little too spicy for my taste. Then we walked around the walls and Getsemaní a little more, and ended up walking home, as Cabify was not working.

When we arrived, the lady at the hostel told me that Gloria would pick us up at 7:15 in the morning, not at noon, as we had agreed! So we called her, told her no, that we would talk the next day. Worried, we tried to book a bus to Barranquilla on the Internet again, and this time it worked, no problem. 

Walled city
Movich Hotel rooftop
Dinner in La Mulata
Published: 30 March 2020, by susana

Do you want to leave a comment?

Two years after the spontaneous change of plans in which we flew to Colombo instead of Colombia because the flights were on sale, we did it. We went to Colombia. As we like to slow travel, we spent about two weeks on its Caribbean coast and another two in the coffee region. The spectacular landscapes and the friendliness of the Colombians captivated me, so I'm looking forward to coming back and seeing many more areas!

Entry 2 out of the 9 from this trip

February 2020
March 2020