A Travellerspoint blog

August 2015

Music to Our Ears, We Arrived in Cartagena

City full of dance, music and culture with a caribbean flavour.


View The Gap Year on Lewis_E's travel map.

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After exiting the eye of the storm we were in clear sight of Cartagena where we anchored in the marina and had breakfast before going ashore and passing through customs. After five days on the yacht we were sad to leave but we all looked forward to having a nice fresh water shower and some time to relax and explore this magnificent city, we also decided to catch up for dinner later that night with our crew. Our time on the boat had been amazing and we were all a little sad we wouldn’t be hanging out as much as we all continued travelling.

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As with everything we do when we enter a new country we start going through our basic checklist such as withdrawing new currency before we flag a taxi to our accommodation. We were fortunate we planned ahead and booked our hotel when we were in Panama so it saved us time and the stress of having to think on our feet. The location of our hotel was in Getsemani which is just a short walk from the old town in a very convenient location as there are alot of places to eat and was out of the tourist centre. When we arrived at our hotel the first thing we did was have a fresh shower…after five days at sea we felt like a million dollars…The plan to go out and explore was delayed as then the downpour began.. After flash floods on the streets had subsided we set out to explore the nearby streets before meeting the group at an Argentinian steakhouse in real Cartagena where we had delicious steak and the best empanadas we have had yet. It was a great start to Cartagena and a nice send off from the boat.

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During the week we set the goal of relaxing as much as possible as we are spending enough time to slowly explore town. The old town is the best I have seen yet from a Latin American country and can be summed up as traditional architecture with lots of colours and greenery growing all over the buildings. The old city walls still remain pretty much perfectly intact and were used during the times of the Spanish conquest for shipping the gold back to Spain. This city is also a place to study so it had more than the usual tourist attractions to get by. It seems every time we go into the historic area or walk the streets around our hotel we find something new and exciting we missed the time before. There was something at almost every intersection and many carts being dragged around full of supplies, food or fruit. The people were happy and willing to talk to anyone, the weather was hot and the food we ate was delicious.

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We spent a sunset up on the wall looking out to the sea when a trio started playing music, led by the singer guitarist, shaker and bongo drum. This set off a lively scene as passer-by’s stopped and danced to their music performing salsa while photographers used the moment to capture the idea of life in the city. What I found unbelievable was that this was not even staged! This is Cartagena today, soulful, funky, fun, carefree and for anyone much like how life should be. This was the best start to South America anyone could hope for.

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After seeing this and learning a couple of salsa steps from the girls on our boat we decided that it’d be fun (well comical) to take a Intro to Latino Dance class. We had a lot of fun but to be honest it was hilarious how terrible we are…I think we will need a few more classes before we even attempt to dance on the street. When we returned to Cartagena from Medellin we took another dance class with a different teacher, we improved a lot under his guidance learning the basics of salsa so we can progress easier of the class.

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A favourite place to eat lunch here was where we had all vegetarian food that only locals go to eat and the price you pay is amazing for the quality of food you get served. A typical meal consisted of a soup then a full plate with salads, lentil cake and freshly squeezed juice where it was enough to fill you up until dinner. Our time in Cartagena has been amazing and had we stayed longer I’m sure we would have done more salsa classes.

Posted by Lewis_E 16:10 Archived in Colombia Tagged sunset koala culture town house sailing music old wall salsa cartagena vegetarian steak lively Comments (1)

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