Cartagena, with its charming colourful crooked streets is arguably the jewel on Colombias Caribbean coast line. The historic old town with its 16th century canon lined stone walls to keep out Johnny Depp (Francis Drake) and his crew back in the day enclose a mixture of run down old mansions (not many) to high end million pound town houses as well as many shops and restaurants.
We opted to stay in the old town (rather than the more backpacker friendly ‘Getsamai’ neighbourhood just outside) and used the ‘El Viajero’ hostel as our base to go to and from Tayrona and Playa Blanca. The hostel provided free luggage storage which meant we could ditch our big bags and go off for a few days (or six) with just a small backpack which was great after lugging around 20kg rucksacks for the last few months.
The old city streets are an instagrammer’s dream come true! Brightly coloured buildings line every street with old fashioned wooden balconies full of all sorts of tropical flowers. The grand architecture with its huge wooden doors and windows meant it was rare to get a few feet without another photo being taken.
On our final return to Cartagena we decided to pretend like we were there on a fancy holiday and had spotted a really cool Argentinian restaurant not far from our hostel. The building was covered with mirrors and lamps on the outside and floor to ceiling Argentinian memorabilia inside including many old football shirts. After eating the cheapest meals we could find for far too long, it was a nice change to have some proper food, George choosing rare steak and I had pork belly. Earlier in the day we also met up with Josh from out Salkantay Trek and went for out first (of many) Crepes & Waffles, a great ice cream parlour.
Georgina was particularly sad to leave Cartagena, I think mainly because she liked matching her outfits to the colourful buildings!
We flew back to Bogota again using Colombia’s low budget airline ‘vivacolombia’ which set us back around £65 each including bags.