I was in Cartagena a few times throughout my trip to Colombia and each experience was totally different from another. We decided to spend the days leading up to New Years Eve as well as New Years eve in Cartagena. We went in with zero expectations and no plans!
Our original hotel cancelled our reservation the day before we were going to arrive! Best believe that we scrambled to find something that was not completely overpriced since it was New Years Eve! After about 15 minutes of seeing what was available, this new hotel called Hotel D Beach popped up on the screen and we decided to book it. We were a little confused when we arrived because it looked like the building was still under construction. Turns out, the hotel opened the day we arrived and we were one of very few rooms that were staying there! We were upgraded to a suite and set out to live our life of luxury for the next few nights.
Let’s be honest. After spending 6 days on some islands at the beach, we spent most of our time in this amazing pool overlooking the ocean. There were no complaints from me!
The advantage of our location was that right next door was a restaurant with typical Colombian food. As much as we walked around to find other places to eat, we always seemed to find ourselves here. Good food and good wine!
New Years Eve was spent sitting at the pool and watching the fireworks over the ocean. I also decided to strip down to my skivvies and jump in the pool just after midnight! I thought it was a great way to start the New Year. The rest of the night was spent sitting with a family and trying to speak Spanish as only one girl spoke English. All and all, it was a fantastic night!
After some adventures to Medellin and Bogota with I will write about later, I had one more night in Cartagena before I set off to sail to Panama. This time I stayed in the old town and was on my own for the first time on the trip. I wandered the streets and came across some live music that was absolutely fantastic! The energy of the city is pretty amazing and the streets are exactly what I think of when I think about Colombia. If I ever come back to Cartagena, I will absolutely stay in the old town.
The Rosario Islands are really known for the day trip crowds to Baru from Cartagena. We chose to spend three nights on Baru and experience the best part of it! We took a crazy little boat ride to our island and started our new adventure!
So what does one do on an island with just a beautiful ocean? Wake up at sunrise and go for swims and then swim some more!
If I was to only experience the island as a day trip, I would think it was crowded and full of vendors pushing something on you to buy. But really that is only form 10-3 and before or after that the island is nearly empty! Limited to no Wifi! No ATM! Nowhere to go except in the water or down the beach! Just pure relaxation. I finished my book so luckily there was a library just down the beach where I was also able to buy some books in english.
First off, recovering from 16 hours of jet lag is no joke! I landed on Thursday morning and had to unpack and do laundry and repack to catch a flight on Saturday to LA and spend an early anniversary with my boyfriend! But you can’t keep me in the country for long when I have the travel bug and on Wednesday, I took off for Colombia still unsure of which time zone I was sleeping in!
I have only been to Bogota in Colombia so this time I am meeting a friend to celebrate the holidays and traveling to Cartagena, Rosario Islands, Medellin and Bogota. It all started with two days in Cartagena to try to normalize my sleep and acclimate to the blistering heat!
I was very lucky to land in Cartagena and have an early checkin to my hotel. I had almost no sleep on the overnight flight and was in need of a shower! I met up with my friend Lisa from Manchester who I met in Rome (this is why I travel) and grabbed a bite to eat and headed back to the room to take a nap. My nap turned into almost 10 hours of sleep where I then was awake from 11pm-5am to wake up again around 8:30am. Once again, lovely jet lag.
Attempting to see a bit more of Cartagena than the inside of my hotel room, we decided to explore the inside of the walled city. Finally, I started to feel like I was in Colombia! We have 4 days in Cartagena over the new year so there will be a lot more in depth exploring, but it was nice to get a feel for the city before our next adventure!