The Sol of Colombia
Imagine this: You’re walking down a lively cobblestone street, looking at rainbow colored colonial buildings lined with vibrant flowers. As you bite into your second arepa de huevo, you notice a woman dressed in a bright red dress selling the freshest fruit you’ve ever seen and a young man selling hot tinto. The breeze blows some salty ocean air your way. An older gentleman sits on his stool playing an accordion, singing a vallenato ballad, and you can hear the exciting rhythm of champeta playing in the boutique down the street.
Sounds amazing, right? This is Cartagena de Indias – a beautiful gem on the Atlantic coast of Colombia. Cartagena has it all – excursions, gastronomy, history, nightlife, and beaches. It’s the perfect place to visit whether you’re with friends, family, or your partner, and it accommodates all budgets from backpackers to Arabian princes.
Here are my top suggestions for your trip:
- Visit the Islas del Rosario, an archipelago of 27 small islands situated on the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea. Most islands are accessible only by boat, and there is a plethora of pasadías (day tours) available for around $90 USD. If you’re a diver or like to snorkel, the reefs out there are amazing!
- Take a mud bath in the Totumo Volcano! You can choose between full day and half day excursions to enjoy this unique experience. Don’t worry, the volcano is not active anymore!
- Rent a bike or go on a walk inside the historic walls of the Cartagena Old City. You absolutely must visit the Old City during the daytime and at nighttime. By day, you can experience all of the colors of the flowers & buildings, as well as the hustle and bustle of the locals who work there and study at the universities. By night, the Old City takes on this mystical enchantment, with soft yellow & purple lighting, live music, horse drawn carriages, and a large market full of unique artisanal gifts.
- Visit Convento La Popa and the San Felipe Castle for unbeatable views of the city!
- Enjoy amazing food at the many restaurants located in the Old City or some freshly squeezed juices on Calle Larga. If you’re going out at night, try Colombia’s Aguardiente while (attempting to) dance salsa!
To experience this wonderful city, book the Hampton by Hilton Cartagena direct (or with GoHilton if you’re a Team Member)! Enjoy the hotel’s rooftop pool, sky lobby, and hot Hampton breakfast with a Colombian twist. It’s only a half block away from the beach and a 10-minute cab ride from the Old City!
Another great hotel option is the Hilton Cartagena; here you can enjoy the hotel’s secluded beachfront location on El Laguito Peninsula, surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, and its expansive recreation complex. It’s only a 10-minute drive from the historic Walled City!