Cartagena Colombia: The Country’s Crown Jewel

Hola todos from Cartagena Colombia their Caribbean coastal city.  I arrived here after a 45 minute flight from Medellin on Sunday night.  One of the beautiful things about living in Medellin is how many amazing places are reasonably close.  A $90 flight, and 45 minutes later and I’m on the Caribbean coast in one of the world’s great colonial cities.  I’m OK with that.

Cartagena’s Antigua Ciudad (Old City) is an Unesco World Heritage site.  From the following pictures I’m sure you’ll see why it was given this honour.  It’s one of the best preserved colonial cities in South America, and the most visited city by foreigners, and Colombians in Colombia.  The above picture is the Torre del Reloj or Clock Tower entrance to the old city.

The entire old city is surrounded by a fortified wall that protected the city from all kinds of invaders.  From the Spaniards to pirates the city has seen all kinds of attacks.  Amazingly it not only stands, but shines.

The streets of Cartagena remind me of New Orleans.  The architectural stylings of the buildings, the narrow streets, and the bright colours all resemble the fabulous Crescent City of the Mississippi.  Unfortunately it doesn’t have the same music scene that New Orleans has, but in reality, what city does.  In many ways it resembles the history of New Orleans, as well for it was a major New World port that was widely contested by the powers of the Old World.

One funny thing about Cartagena is that everyone walks on one side of the street, and the other side is essentially empty.  The reasoning for this?  The strong sun beating down, so everyone tries to walk in the shade.  It makes for a very crowded narrow sidewalk.  It’s a good thing there aren’t a lot of cars in the old city, so you can walk in the street much of the time.

I’m currently reading the book “El Amor en los Tiempos de Colera” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  It’s set here in Cartagena, and walking the streets here has given me a better understanding of the setting of the book.  It clarifies my mind’s eye on some of the scenes.  The colours, heat, and streets are now more alive for me.


A replica pirate ship that you take for a night tour on weekends.

Statues of Los Pegasos with the clock tower in the background.  Perfect time of day for pictures.

This is a picture of Bocagrande, which is the area where most of the rich Colombians, and foreigners reside.  Yes, it looks slightly different than the Old City.  Walking through these towers feels like you’re in a completely different city.


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