Published: June 9th 2012May 29th 2012
Arriving mid afternoon on a lonely dock in the Cartagena harbor, my task was to secure a taxi to our hostel in the Getsemeni district of Cartagena. Prior taxi rides in Central American required repeated questions as to the fare, for at times drivers tended to be less than fair inflating cost without warning. Waiving the first taxi to pass, a well groomed middle aged man with pressed pants and shirts and of all things a neck tie, greeted us with a welcome. We easily came to a reasonable price, without suspicious deliberations and debate. What a pleasant surprise, but only the first of many surprises that Cartagena as well as Colombia reveal.
On the way to our hostel, our taxi driver briefed us on Cartagena's history, pointed out important city sites and had us really feeling relaxed and comfortable. We were surprised to see a city with clean streets, balcony's adorned with flowers and vines, colorfully restored homes and bustling busy activity in numerous stores and restaurants. Just from inside the taxi, Cartagena was seducing us to get out and explore.
The city is easily walkable, safe, and fun to wander through its many
plazas and side streets. Its a historic city with massive walls built to guard against those ever menacing pirates. There are cannon lined forts, old chapels , beautiful courtyards and Catholic churches. Happily, there are no touts, guys hassling with con jobs or any sense that you are a marked tourist to be taken advantage of. In fact, Cartagenians smile easily, never pressure, are generous with their directions, time and pleasantly proper. The people and town have a confidence about them, a proud but polite bearing that instills respect and enjoyment for the visitor. It didn't take us long to decide that Cartagena as well as Colombia became our favorite stop throughout our travels. This was a place you would remember to come back to way into the future.
There are more photos below