A few weeks ago my friend Julia hit me up about possibly taking a solo trip to Colombia. Without hesitating I told her, “YES!!! You have to go!” I then proceeded to talk her ear off about the amazing backpacking trip I had with my friend Jamie exploring Colombia’s northern coast. It made me realize I needed to blog about this trip starting with our first (and last) stop — a small Caribbean town called Cartagena.
We actually booked our tickets from Los Angeles just one week before taking off! The search engine we used to find the best deal was Vayama and after connecting through Costa Rica and Colombia’s capital Bogotá we arrived in Cartagena. After exiting the airport, it was easy to hire a taxi to make our way into Cartagena’s Old City.
When thinking about what to do in Cartagena, the best way to experience Cartagena is to get lost wandering the streets! It’s like taking a trip back through time. The Old City itself is surrounded by walls (known as Las Murallas) that took two centuries to build as protection and inside those walls, the city itself is full of colonial history and architecture.
One of my favorite characteristics of Cartagena’s narrow streets are its vibrantly colored colonial buildings.
The town is also full of churches, monuments, statues and plazas that are fun to explore.
When planning what to do in Cartagena, if you want a tropical escape beyond the walls, Cartagena is just an hour away from a beautiful Caribbean beach called Playa Blanca on Baru Island Colombia. It’s easy to book a half, full or overnight trip from your hostel or various vendors. We took a boat in the morning to Playa Blanca and enjoyed spending half a day in paradise.
We stayed at at El Viajero Cartagena Hostel and its location in the Old City is phenomenal! The staff offered a lot of advice on what to do in Cartagena and we were a walking distance from everything. One of my favorite memories actually went down in our hostel. While walking the streets and exploring the shops we bought crazy looking fruit to take back. After cutting them open we dug in and had a blast laughing at tastes we’d never experienced before.
iCerveza Micheladas! During our first meal in Cartagena, we ordered something called a cerveza michelada. Let’s just say these bad boys became the official drink of our entire trip! This lime infused beer concoction with a salted rim is pure deliciousness.