Colombia – How Cartagena and other attractions have enchanted
Some destinations are interesting, some destinations beautiful, some destinations are hip – but only very few destinations enchant you for the rest of your life, and Colombia for me is one of them. Read my story about my trip to capital Bogota and UNESCO world heritage coast town Cartagena and start planning your trip to the travel-friendly Colombia!
Bogotá at first sight seemed a little gray to me. The kind of city in which you wouldn’t want to walk by a car with tinted windows. But as soon as you enter someone’s place – let’s say breakfast café, shop or home – it gets SO warm, you just have to feel well and welcome. Continue with some Aguardiente (anis liquor “Guarro”) and soon you’ll be shaking your hips to Reggaetón and Salsa and won’t want to leave. Apart from the people which for me were by far the biggest attraction of Bogotá, there were also some places I enjoyed visiting. My vote goes to the colonial buildings next to la Candelaria and the little quarter Usaquén in the Northern part of town with small streets and an artisan market. Going by bus is a bit funny – I never really understood where the busses exactly go but you get an idea of into which direction. Just step on the street and wave for the bus to let you jump on – and jump off when you’re close to your destination (never take a cab unless you get it from a cab stand or ordered it via phone).
And now to the most charming part of my trip: Cartagena. If you want to get into Cartagena-mood I recommend the movie “Love in the time of cholera” based on the novel by Gabriel García Márquez (or read the Spanish version if you want to get familiar with Colombia’s most famous writer. The historic part of Cartagena is surrounded by a city wall. You can even walk on it, sit on the canons and watch the sea around you. Every centimeter within those walls was absolutely picturesque. The small streets invite you to stroll around without map and lose yourself between colorful houses and green squares. And drink the super-yummy fresh fruit juices, which are offered everywhere, to cool down from the heat (I drank and ate everything and never had any health issues).
Cartagena is also a great hub to discover the rest of the Caribbean coast. Everything is well-organized and seemed save to me (we booked bus tickets and trips through our hostel). The mud-volcano was a very fun attraction. You could bathe in the mood of a volcano and for a few pesos the village locals take pictures of you sinking into it with your camera. Don’t worry, the village women bathe you afterwards in the lake and make VERY sure you get clean again!
Another excursion worth doing is taking the boat to the Playa Blanca, which is a very nice, snowwhite beach indeed and allows you to taste a freshly catched barbequed fish.
But my absolute favorite part was our trip to Tayrona National Park. We took the bus to Taganga, which is a charming, fun village of its own. Locals will offer you boat rides and they even have a club. From Taganga you can get a ride to the Tayrona National Park. A beautiful tracking path of several hours takes you through the rain forest and along beautiful beaches. We stopped at a camping site by the beach and spend the night in a cozy hammock. A rough boat ride took us back to Taganga the next day.
If I ever have the chance to come back to Colombia, I’ll make sure to see the Amazonas, too!