Blogs from Cartagena, Colombia, South America


South America » Colombia » Cartagena December 7th 2022

A relatively short flight took us to Santa Marta, the first Spanish settlement in Columbia and the second oldest in South America, where we were met by our guide for the hour plus drive to our next stop, a lodge just outside Tayrona National Park. Colombia has some 59 national parks, which makes up about 14% of the total area in this diverse country, which is impressive. Of course, you are going to need a fair amount of space to support all the flora and fauna this country has to offer. We arrived after dark and after checking in, made our way across a small pedestrian suspension bridge to our room. Luckily, we had someone take our luggage as the first time you traverse the swinging bridge, it can challenge your sense of balance. The lodge ... read more
View of Tayrona National Park
Vibrant birds all around
Locals wanting tips for posing

South America » Colombia » Cartagena September 24th 2022

(Day 86 on the road) Not further accelerating climate change can be hard. Faced with the choice between a 16-hours bus-ride for 20€ or a 50-minute flight for 35€, I admit that I opted for the plane. Thus, leaving Bucaramanga in Central Colombia, I soon found myself in the northern, somewhat shady city of Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast. It felt like being in a different country. For one, compared to the central parts of Colombia, the northern coastal area seemed poorer and less developed. Power cuts were frequent – if there was electricity at all. A number of places I visited relied entirely on diesel generators. Maybe counter-intuitively, prices for most things - especially accommodation & food - were higher (not just in some remote areas, but also in the bigger cities). The culture ... read more
Ciudad Perdida
Lightning on the beach
Amazing sunset in Cabo de la Vela

South America » Colombia » Cartagena February 27th 2021 27th February - Getsemaní: Culture, History, and Street Art Usually on these virtual trips you can connect with the guide around 10 minutes before the start time, that’s when people are logging in, saying hi to one another, stating where they are from and gives the opportunity for the guide to introduc themselves. Today the start time had passed & no sign of Jorge, our guide. These are live tours so anything can happen! Eventually Jorge arrived, all very apologetic because for some reason his phone was unable to connect to the VT App. Whilst trying to sort the problem a passerby offered to help and landed up lending Jorge his phone to enable the tour to continue. The guy then enjoyed our tour too, as I said all these tours are live & ... read more

South America » Colombia » Cartagena March 8th 2020

Colombia is an enigma. Named after a man who never set foot in the country, it contains a greater wealth of biodiversity than any other country on the planet apart from Brazil, which is seven times larger. With coastlines fronting both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, it also boasts over a thousand kilometres of the Andes mountains (which split into three parallel ranges on the way north into Venezuela) as well as a separate mountain range in the north, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, that rises straight out of the sea to heights of over 5700 metres – making it the highest coastal mountain range on Earth. Add to that an enormous expanse of grasslands, known as Los Llanos, and a significant portion of the Amazon rainforest, and you end up with a natural ... read more
Gateway to a city's historic heart
El Libertador
Atmospheric streets

South America » Colombia » Cartagena January 26th 2020

I did finally figure out how to add photos on my last blog, and spent an hour downloading and writing captions...only to find out that I could not re-post! Arrrgggghhhh! But, think I’ve got it nailed (thank you Lynn, for your guidance and patience) and hopefully you’ll be able to fully enjoy this blog on COLOMBIA Part 2. MAGICAL COLOMBIA After leaving the densely packed resort town of Rodadero, we drove about 1/2 hour over a mountain to the beautiful town of Santa Marta. Upon arriving at our Air B&B, the BOUTIQUE HOTEL CACTUS SUITES, we realized we had forgotten to take our passports and cash from the safe in Rodadero! Drove like a bat-out-of-Hell (or, like a local) back over the mountain to get them, stopped on way back to Santa Marta at cute local ... read more
Santa Marta Church
Waiting for lemonade with coco, my new favorite

South America » Colombia » Cartagena January 19th 2020

SECOND OF SEVEN COUNTRY TOUR OF SOUTH AMERICA My first (and last) blog ended upon our arrival in Cartagena from 10 days in Mexico City. Cartagena, the old town, is bright, alive and a magical step back in time. Horse drawn carriages on cobblestone streets, colorful colonial buildings with balconies dripping with bougainvillea and Passion flower, smell of Creole spice and coffee lingering in the air...and local women in traditional garb selling fruit from baskets they carry on their heads. Added to this mix are world class restaurants, luxury brand stores, little yellow taxis everywhere...people...lots and lots of people! It’s all a bit overwhelming upon arrival and it didn’t help that several cruise ships had brought hundreds of people ashore the next day. And, of course, with the arrival of cruise ships came the hordes of ... read more
Rodadero Beach - view from 9th floor apartment
Rodadero Beach - first night’s dinner, great creole shrimp
Rodadero Beach - Walter’s fantastic black squid ink paella

South America » Colombia » Cartagena December 5th 2019

Now it’s time to go back to the sea side and there is a reason to do it, the reason it’s called Cartagena, and because this reason is far from Bogota’ we took a flight there. Arriving at the airport we had a thermal shock, from the “cold” city of Bogota (also called “La Nevera” by some Colombian people) to the humid tropical 33 degrees - all in 60 minutes. The sensation is similar to landing in Rome in the summer from London, the first couple of breaths when you step out of the plane is feeling that you can’t actually breathe at all, but then just after you feel a warm heat inside your chest that in my case make me feel happy. Daria is functioning better with the heat so she got happy and ... read more
Old Colonial Style
walk on the wild side
Outside the centre

South America » Colombia » Cartagena November 13th 2019

Heute war voraussichtlich unser letzter Tag in Cartagena. Ich verbrachte einen guten Teil des Tages damit, endlich diesen Blog hier weiterzuschreiben um endlich wieder auf dem aktuellen Stand zu sein - seit Minka war ich stets ca. eine Woche, teils fast zwei, hinten gewesen. Inzwischen ist der Blog insgesamt schon über 24.500 Wörter lang und beinhaltet über 700 Fotos - alleine der Text wäre formatiert und in klassischem Romanformat gedruckt bereits um die 80 Seiten lang. Gegen Mittag aßen wir in einem uns empfohlenen Restaurant, dem "oh la la", es war echt lecker, dann gingen wir in die Stadt um Eis zu essen. Diesmal nahm ich endlich mal wieder meine Kamera mit - mir war aufgefallen, dass ich in Cartagena noch fast keine Fotos von der Stadt selbst gemacht hatte. Ich ging in ein Museum, das ... read more

South America » Colombia » Cartagena November 12th 2019

Ich stand auf und wir hatten kein Joghurt mehr. Das Gefühl, das ich im Moment, als ich davon erfuhr, empfand, sollte sinnbildlich für den ganzen heutigen Tag stehen. Ich blieb vormittags im Hostel, um ein bisschen beim Blogschreiben aufzuholen. Gegen 1 bekam ich Hunger, Mathis meinte jedoch, er würde heute nicht Mittagessen. Ich fand jedoch zwei Leute, die meinten, sie würden zum Strand gehen und unterwegs vermutlich etwas essen und entschloss mich, mitzugehen. Mathis meinte, er würde ebenfalls zum Strand mitkommen, womit ich mich entschloss nicht nur bis zum Essen sondern ganz mitzukommen. Auf dem Hinweg kamen wir jedoch an keinem Essensmitnehmladen vorbei, nur an richtigen Restaurants. Da die anderen nicht so hungrig waren, wartete ich vergeblich darauf, einen Burgerladen oder ein paar Empanadas zu finden. Wir kauften unterwegs in einem Laden Eis und Kekse, die ... read more

South America » Colombia » Cartagena November 11th 2019

Frohen Tag der Freiheit! Heute gingen wir vormittags nochmal zum Castillo de San Felipe, um diesmal auch reinzugehen. Ich bemerkte, dass es leicht unpraktisch war, dass meine Kamera weil sie im Klimatisierten Zimmer gelegen hatte kalt war - die Linse beschlug, nur ein halbwegs brauchbares Foto war schießbar. Von der Festung waren wir nicht allzu begeistert - es war zwar die größte Festung, die die Spanier in irgendeiner ihrer Kolonien gebaut hatten, doch es gab nicht allzu viel Information, weshalb wir relativ bald schon wieder draußen waren - dafür war der Eintritt von 25.000 Pesos zu teuer. Nachmittags machte ich um vier schließlich endlich meine walking Tour, die ich bereits seit drei Tagen aufschob, weil ich erst die Zeit vergessen hatte, am nächsten Tag dachte es gäbe einen Umzug und es am Tag darauf schließlich einen ... read more

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