Sunday, May 1, 2016

On a budget? Cartagena, Colombia is the Jackpot trip!

If you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway without breaking the bank, Cartagena is the place to go!  My husband was having a birthday and he sure needed a getaway so with a little research I decided to take him to Cartagena.  The dollar really stretches quite far since $1 is 3.500 pesos.  We stayed at Ibis Marbella for only $195 for 4 nights. The hotel itself was great! The hotel is located in a residential area but is right in front of the ocean.  The rooms are small but if you’re going to be touring around the city, the time spent in your hotel room is going to be minimum. It is one of the safest, prettiest, and most amazing places you will go in Colombia.  We met people from the United States, Switzerland, Chile, Brazil, and more!



We did all of our activities through a hotel named Decameron.  The first day started with a city tour of Cartagena.  We got to ride an air-conditioned bus, which with the heat was a blessing in disguise.  It started off with a stop at Castillo San Felipe de Barajas.  This fort was built in the 1600s by African Slaves and was designed to fight mostly inland invasions since the waterways near the fort are too shallow for many boats.  It is one the tallest Castles I have ever been in!





Next stop on our tour was La Popa. Built on top of Cartagena’s highest point of elevation, this is a monastery from the 1500s and has the best view of Cartagena.  You can see the whole city from every angle.  The view really is breath taking and even better when the sun is setting.
During the night one of the best things to do is actually walk around the Walled City.  The sea breeze is so relaxing and the city transforms into a beautiful light spectacle.  The buildings glow so beautifully and elegantly.  I might add it is quite romantic too.
On the second day we had quite the adventure to Volcan de Lodo El Totumo.  If you want to try something completely wild and outside of your comfort zone, this is the perfect thing to do! When booking this tour the bus actually picks you up at the hotel, which is convenient.  This mud volcano is located in the out skirts of Cartagena.  It was only $25 dollars, with an additional $1 dollar for each the photographer, massage and cleaning lady. What a bargain if you ask me!  Cartagena has been going through a major drought over the last year and the landscape scenery was very dry, which took us by surprise but it felt like we had been transported to Africa!  The experience in the mud volcano was truly one of a kind! I do recommend if you go to take some water goggles because the mud can get in your eyes. I would know #FAIL but after blinking a million times I was good.
Once we got back to our hotel we decided to tour the city during the day.  The walled city truly changes from night to day.  So much color and life!

Once the sun started to set we went to Casa Del Mar for some cocktails.   It is located in the walled city. This bar has the best spot to view the sunset in Cartagena hands down! Just make sure to get there pretty early for good spots because it fills up quick at sunset.
At Night we went on the infamous Chiva Rumbera.  These buses light up the street through out Cartagena.  They have live traditional Colombian Music on them and the hosts make you dance and laugh until you can’t anymore!  You get to see Cartagena lit up and on the last stop all the Chivas get together and have a dance off on the walled city.   
Cartagena has more than 20 islands off the coast and if you’re looking for clear blue waters these are the islands to go.  So of course on the third day we went to Isla Del Sol.  It’s a about an hour boat ride but very safe.  Each passenger is required to wear a life vest and lucky for us the ocean was smooth sailing.  Once we arrived we were greeted with fresh fruit.  There are a couple of things to do on and around the island but everything has to be paid in cash so make sure you bring enough.  We chose to visit the native islanders and have a canoe ride through the mangroves.  It was truly so relaxing and magical.  Nature is incredible.
Once that was done we had the evening to relax in the salt-water pool, ocean, or go on a kayak and snorkel around.  They provide lunch for you as well, which is the typical dish in Cartagena.  This was the most expensive thing we did, $50 to get to the island and $10 to do the mangroves tour.
On the last night in Cartagena we decided to have a chill night.  We went to eat at San Pedro Restaurant and let me tell you they have the best Sushi I have ever had!  It may be the fact the seafood is fresh.  

Colombia gets a bad rep from the media, but if you ever want to feel safe, have fun, and explore life, Cartagena is the place to go.  Remember, dream big, be brave, and explore life! Until Next Time Cartagena, Colombia!

Make Sure to check out my video to see for yourself what it was like traveling to Cartagena.





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22 comments

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