cartagena | colombia

Anyone else get the post vacation depression? UGH. it truly is a crummy feeling but i also do get very excited to come back home. There’s something to be said about traveling and coming home to really really appreciate where you are in life, physically and mentally. I feel like i love new york more and more after being away from it. The city just does that to ya.

But along with loving coming home, i think that it’s incredibly important to get out there and travel. Test your limits, try new things, deepen your relationships, learn about new places/people. I haven’t been many places but excited to start crossing some places off! Slowly but very surely.

The last trip sean and i went on was a special one, for an incredible destination wedding in colombia.

We decided to go a bit early so that we could explore and have a little time for ourselves. The trip overall was truly beautiful. The wedding was 100% the highlight but there were a lot of great experiences leading up to it.

First thing. Colombia is hot as anything. BRING SUNSCREEN. Things like sunscreen, toiletries, are a bit pricey there and it was so nice to have everything I need no matter what type of hotel we were staying in. also, if you don’t know spanish download google translate. I know about 5 words: hola, cerveza, por favor, gracias, & bueno. Aaaand unfortunately that won’t quite cover it. Know where you’re going once you get to the airport and know how much it should cost to get to your hotel (usually ~$15).

Also you’ll be buying a lot of water. You CANNOT drink the tap water. i repeat you CANNOT drink the tap water there so stock up whenever you’re near an exito (the convenience store. god i'm such a local) and make sure you have some in your hotel especially if you’ll be on the detox to retox train while you’re there. Something that was super helpful was packing pedialyte packets to put in the waters daily. *yes unfortunately we did drink some water we thought was filtered. it was not. end of story*

Now for the funnnn~~~

  • pack comfy shoes for the days you’re going to be walking a lot
  • plan a couple of activities- going through the city during the day is great but i wouldn't stay there the whole trip.
    • you can definitely do a beach day or tour to split up the time in the city.
  • Sunscreen always, especially on your face!!
  • Ask for recs at restaurants. learned this the hard way but since i know zero spanish it's helpful to know what the most popular dishes are. a lot of grilled octopus on the menus there and v delish.
  • Always bottled water, restaurants will charge you but there’s nothing worse than being dehydrated and puffy on vacation.
  • Take far too many pictures- the buildings and the colors are incredible, the art in getsemani is great and i always am so grateful when looking back on my trip that I took too many pictures.
  • We stayed in cartagena, right in the walled city. It was great because there are plenty of places to walk to and easy to get to surrounding cities by cab. We stayed in a couple small boutique hotels but the one we stayed in the longest was Casa Macia Boutique. Breakfast included, inexpensive, clean, good location.
  • Walk the walled city, eat street food, so many fried plantains, arepas, fresh cut mango.
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Recommendations

Restaurants:

  • Carmen: we did the 7 course with wine pairing tasting menu. INCREDIBLE. i would splurge on the tasting but i also love food so up to you.
  • Alma: get a table in the courtyard and the fish of the day is delish.
  • La Cevicheria: this is the most talked about place. Definitely good for ceviche- sit outside, split a few dishes and have a cold beer.
  • Alquimico: the rehearsal dinner was on the open rooftop and it was incred. But if you’re not looking for a place to eat, this place also has AMAZING cocktails. More craft cocktail spot, they switch them up but anything with jalapeno is a go to in my book.
  • Cafe del mar: yes more touristy but a great view for sunset. A bottle of wine, good music, great company.
  • Juan del mar: go to the seafood restaurant, there are two and one of them is the pizzaria. Pizzaria is not the best, so I would go to the seafood one for sure.
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Coffee:

Nightlife:

  • Movida: great for a night out & dancing.
  • La Vitroloa: we tried to get in here, you definitely need a reservation. This place looked great though, good food, live music. I think a little on the higher end side but the experience seems worth it.

Activities:

  • Volcano tour: This was an experience. I was honestly underwhelmed at the actual volcano, mind you i had no idea what to expect, but the actual mud bath was a crazy feeling. We did the mangrove tour but i would not recommend this. Just far too long.
  • Tayrona National Park: UGH. this was our plan for the first two days of our trip. Hiking, camping on the beach in a hammock, sounds ideal. it was unfortunately closed the days we were there but i would have 100% done this. you can stay in santa marta for a night if you want or get transportation from the city right to the entrance of the park.
  • Walking tour of the walled city- great for learning the history, getting some great food samples, and definitely be prepared to take some pictures.
  • Stay on an island: We stayed on Coralina Island. There was nothing to do and it was PERFECT. The water was picture perfect, we took naps under the sun, read books, had scheduled meals. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip and there were only 6 rooms on the island so very quaint. 
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Getsemani

  • Demente’s: tapas, can go with a group or just a couple people. 
  • Walk around here for part of the day. a lot of street art, great little places to eat and drink. would rec grabbing some beers and sitting in the square after or before dinner.
  • Cafe de Mural: Great coffee shop, doesn’t open until 3 so take some time to sit in the square up the street beforehand. maybe grab a couple beers
  • Cafe Havana- we didn’t get a chance to go here. I was exhausted the one night we tried and i regret it incredibly. But supposed to be a great place for all the salsa dancing your heart desires.

 

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I could definitely write more but let’s be real if you’ve even read this far I’m impressed. If you are going to colombia anytime soon let me know!!

xx brit

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