Blogs from Cartagena, Colombia, South America


South America » Colombia » Cartagena June 11th 2019

“Our” bus driver Jorge picked us up for a tour of Getsemani. On the way we passed the estate of the Roman family. Manuel Roman came from Madrid around 1800s. He was a rebuscar, or a hustler and married a woman from Cartagena. His family originated the Roman Pharmacy and created Cola Roman (a cherry flavored drink similar to coca cola) before Coca Cola came about. Sam told us some people added lime to enhance the flavor. This drink became a cure for everything. Refajo, (Cola Roman with beer), is traditionally the first alcoholic drink for young people. Cola Roman later merged with Coca Cola and now the real Cola Roman can only be found in Cartagena. We drove by the imposing Roman family house owned now by the matriarchal leaders of the family business who ... read more
Getsemani mural
Mural painting of Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Umbrella street in Getsemani

South America » Colombia » Cartagena June 11th 2019

With only hours left in Cartagena I wanted to make the most of what I could in such a short time. After an early and fast breakfast at the hotel I began to walk the now quiet streets (the tourists were gone or still in their beds) and watched as Cartagena begin to come alive. Shops were still mostly closed but the street vendors were beginning to set up their stands or wagons filled with fruit, coconuts and other edibles. Men walked with towers of hats on top of their heads, and some had large woven basketshanging from their necks and shoulders, but the fruit selling-photo-selling ladies in their colorful bright dresses must have been sleeping in. I never bought a “Panama hat” in Panama and knowing that the origin of the hat is from Ecuador ... read more
My Ecuadorian-Panamanian-Colombian straw hat!
The street is quiet in front of our hotel this morning

South America » Colombia » Cartagena June 10th 2019

We enjoyed a self serve breakfast at hotel (after we figured out it was self serve) in the open air eating area. Floor to ceiling windows opened up to the sidewalk and street. Local fresh fruit was cut and displayed such as passion fruit, all manner of melons, oranges. A variety of breads, ham, cheese and hard boiled eggs, cooked sausages, and scrambled eggs were also on the buffet. Surrounding the orange and pineapple juices was a delightfully painted mural of a tropical island with palm trees and other tropical greenery while flying alligators…wait, what?! Yes! And pink flying dolphin-flamingoes, and a flying rabbit-seagullfloated on the walls while a rabbit-frog hid in the foliage below. What wonderful art with a sense of humor…. Sam came to announce that we were to walk to the end of ... read more
Secret tunnels at Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas
The Colombian flag flew proudly above the fort
Dave learns to make jewelry at the Emerald Museum

South America » Colombia » Cartagena June 9th 2019

Our 8am pickup arrived at the Hotel Central Panama to take us to the airport for our COPA airline flight to Cartagena. We were pleasantly surprised to see that jovial Roberto (“familia!”) was our bus driver. Most of our group of 21 OAT travelers were heading home, or had already left, but eight of us were heading to tour beautiful Cartagena, Colombia as an extended three day excursion. On our way to the airport we passed now familiar old buildings and were able to enjoy the contrasting modern skyline on our way to the Panama City Airport and our COPA airline flight. After a short, comfortable flight on COPA, maybe my favorite airline now, we actually had breakfast (a delicious ham and cheese sandwich with fruit and coffee) for that two hour flight! After collecting our ... read more
Spanish style open air balcony (pool is below)
Hotel pool looking down from our balcony
Cartagena: Photographer's dream

South America » Colombia » Cartagena April 9th 2019

At this time of year, the temperature is quite high in the city around midday, 33-35 Celsius with lots of humidity. So better go out in mornings and evenings to really enjoy yourself. In the middle of the day, stick to AC or in the water. Cartagena has many beaches in the city limits. Water is not blue-green Caribbean, but it's okay. Nicer waters could be found South West near Baru and other surrounding islands. Waves are quite strong so many water sports can be done there. in the city itself, there are two major regions where beach hotels are: BocaGrande and La Boquilla, I have seen both regions and those in La Boquilla are nicer to my taste, especially those on the good side of the road. I stayed in Holiday Inn Morros when I ... read more
I am watching you
Life on the beach

South America » Colombia » Cartagena February 22nd 2019

I promised no more blogs from Colombia but here are some photos from Barichara and Cartagena...too beautiful to not include! After a long, hot drive from Barichara to Cartagena, Tortuga is now safely at the port and set to sail to Houston on Sunday. We will spend another few days in Colombia and then fly to Houston to collect Tortuga at the end of next week. Enjoy the photos...there are 22 in total! ~ Ken & Fi... read more
Bougainvillea in Barichara
Old city walls, Cartagena de Indias

South America » Colombia » Cartagena February 20th 2019

Olisimme menneet katsomaan linnoitusta heti aamutuimaan, mutta se aukesi vasta klo 8. Aamiaisen jälkeen lähdettiin taksilla rannalle pilvenpiirtäjien luo. Otettiin varjo ja tuolit ja käytiin pari kertaa meressä. Päivällä mentiin katsomaan vanhaankaupunkiin inkvisition museota, joka oli edellispäivänä kiinni sähkövian takia. Kävin sitten yksin katsomassa sitä paikkaa, josta lähden huomenna Santa Martaan. Päivälevon jälkeen oli vuorossa kala-ateria. Iltakierroksella jätin hostelliin puhelimet ja silmälasit. ... read more

South America » Colombia » Cartagena February 19th 2019

Aamulla käytiin vanhassakaupungissa. Kävin smaragdimuseossa, kun Jukka teki ostoksia viereisessä korukaupassa. Yhdestä automaatista olisi saanut rahaa vain vajaan sadan euron edestä. Toisesta sai kaksin kerroin. Illalla tein kierroksen Getsemanissa. Tuoretta ananasmehua. Puistossa puissa pieniä apinoita. Täällä on yleistä että juoma ostetaan baarista muovimukiin ja juodaan kadulla. ... read more

South America » Colombia » Cartagena February 18th 2019

Lento Cartagenaan lähti klo 11.22. Mentiin ajoissa lentokentälle. Cartagenassa taksilla hostelliin Getsemanin kaupunginosaan. Kattoterassilla oli pieni uima-allas. Syötiin hostellin ravintolassa pastaa. Viideltä lähdettiin vanhaankaupunkiin. Terassilla margaritat. Käytiin katsomassa rantaa, kun tuli jo pimeä. Hostellin lähelläkin oli yöelämää sopivasti. ... read more

South America » Colombia » Cartagena January 19th 2019

The city of Cartagena , known in the Colonial era as Cartagena de India's is a major port founded in 1533. Located on the Northern coast of Columbia in the Caribbean coast region. Became the main port of trade between Spain and established it's importance by the early 1940's The city was founded on June 1 1533 and named Cartagena. Settlement in the region around Cartagena Bay by various Indigenous people dates back to 4000 bc. During the Spanish Colonial period Cartagena served as a key role in administration and expansion of the Spanish empire. It was the center of Political, ecclesiastical and economic activity. When the Spanish conquistadors discovered the interior of Columbia was rich in gold and emeralds wealth of all kinds flowed to spain. The fortune soon invited pirate attacks. The defense the ... read more
Monastario de San Pedro
Map of the city without walls
Convento de Santo

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