Hot & Steamy Cartagena

Have you ever seen the movie “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”? The scene, where the characters portrayed by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt first meet, is supposed to be set in the capital city of Colombia: Bogota.

They’d portrayed Bogota as this hot, steamy city. Let me tell you: Hollywood got it all wrong. Bogota is cold! (i.e. an average temperature of about 19Ā°C year-round) They must’ve mixed up their Colombian cities. Perhaps they meant to use Cartagena instead? Because this place is definitely hot and steamy! This is us simmering in the Caribbean heat.

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Jason and I are on the northern Caribbean coast of Colombia, in the city of Cartagena. I’ve read mixed reviews about this place, but I personally loved it (once I was able to stop scratching long enough to enjoy the Caribbean heat). The palm trees were beautiful, the beaches were plenty, and we had a front row view of the ocean.

View from our apartment (Cartagena, Colombia)

Beautiful ocean view from our Bocagrande apartment

Before we moved closer to the ocean, we stayed for a few days in the old walled city.

Casa Villa Colonial (Cartagena, Colombia)

Our hostel in Getsemani: Casa Villa Colonial. Beautiful, airy, and bright. I would definitely recommend this place to any traveller staying in Cartagena

There are three areas within the walled cIty: the beautiful original part of the walled city called Old City, the newer part called San Diego, and the grittier, sketchier area of Getsmani, where the majority of the hostels were.

Old City (Cartagena, Colombia)

The ramparts that surround the Old City in Cartagena.

We stayed in Getsemani and fell in love with how it best represented local life in Cartagena. The food was authentic and cheap, music was always blaring at night, and old men sat around watching the pedestrian traffic pass by.

Getsemani (Cartagena, Colombia)

Grittier (but no less beautiful) Getsemani.

When we decided to stay in Cartagena for a little longer, we rented an apartment nearby in Bocagrande, a modern area dotted with high-rise hotels and accommodations for Colombian vacationers.

Bocagrande (Cartagena, Colombia)

The pool terrace at the apartment we stayed at in Bocagrande

I loved the attractiveness of Cartagena: the colourful Spanish-colonial architecture; the narrow winding stone-paved streets, and the surprise of turning a corner and happening upon yet another one of the city’s many plazas.

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Speaking of surprises and plazas, check out this strange spectacle in Plaza Fernandez de Madrid:

Street performers (Cartagena, Colombia)

Eye-popping tricks by street performers

We were pretty captivated with him until we figured out how was he doing it. Can you figure it out?

And then after dark, the Old City got even more enchanting. Seriously, this city is like the girls you see roaming the club district in Toronto – gets more beautiful after dark.

Old City (Cartagena, Colombia)

Jason watching people-watching people in the open air cafe

Old City (Cartagena, Colombia)

Old City Cartagena all lit up at night

See? I wasn’t kidding you. She’s pretty gorgeous. Feel free to ask her for her phone number.

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9 thoughts on “Hot & Steamy Cartagena

  1. Hey!
    sounds like an awesome trip! Good for you guys! Isn’t it amazing to be able to say ‘hey, we like it here, let’s rent an apartment and stay longer!’? šŸ™‚

    Keep up the fun blog posts!
    Marc

  2. I do like the pictures… Nice views…The old building remind us the south Bay of Macau 40 years ago. Typical spainish style building with the wood balcony on upper level.

  3. I like this city! I love how unique and interesting the buildings are. So much more interesting than skyscrapers.

    So how did the person do his trick at Plaza Fernandez de Madrid? I can’t think of a single thing…unless he has amazing core and left arm strength! How did you figure it out?!

    • The guy in the plaza was likely sitting on the small platform-type contraption. Here’s our guess: The carpet covered a sturdy base. The pole he was hanging on to is attached to the base and a bar of some sort comes out and is attached to a very small seat. His arm, scarf and costume hides everything well.

      • You guys have got it all wrong: he’s performing a Jedi mind trick on everyone.

        Unlike the girls in TO, you apparently don’t need alcohol to make Cartagena more beautiful in the evening. Oh snap! I kid of course. I kid because I care.

  4. Did you find the city safe? Im thinking of going here (also from TO! found your blog by searching for pics of Cartagena) but I might be going alone. Thanks.

    • Hey MaggieMay,

      Thanks for stopping by šŸ™‚ I found Cartagena to be pretty safe. But that could also be because we came here after Bogota and we felt a little unsafe there. There are a few sketchy streets in Getsemani, so try to avoid those. And in general, stay in well-lit and busier areas at night. The walled old-town felt safe all the time. Just stay aware of your surroundings and listen to your gut if an area feels weird. Cartagena was beautiful, so have fun!

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