Cartagena in a Day

Tairona Inca: Colombia and Peru in 2 Weeks
Day 2 Touring the main sights of Cartagena by day and exploring Boca Grande by night.

The first day of 2014 and I was about to explore Cartagena, Colombia.

The fifth largest city in Colombia was founded in 1533, but had early settlements from 4000 BC. The walled city and fortress are designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Cartagena Walled City

I started with breakfast at a small convenience store that happened to be open. Of course due to the festivities of New Years, the town was very quiet in the morning.

The walking tour of the old walled city started with Teatro Heredia. This theater was built in 1906 -1911 over the ruins of a church dating back to 1625. It has a capacity of 700 people, but unfortunately it was closed during my visit.

Before continuing deeper into the city, I stepped up on the fortification wall which offered a view of the sea.

Continuing down the street I came to the Cathedral of Cartagena. The site of the church dates back to 1577, but the current construction was complete in 1612. An artist was selling this paintings at the base of the cathedral.

Across the street was the Plaza de Bolívar featuring a prominent statue of Simón Bolívar, a hero of Latin America’s independence from the Spanish Empire.

Adjacent to the park is the City Museum Palace of the Inquisition. The museum was opened in the 1970s, but unfortunately the main exhibits at this time were closed due to renovation.

Passing by the Government Buildings, I walked further south to the Cathedral of San Pedro Claver.

Passing through the square I made my way to the main road and outside the old city walls. There was a great view over the marina, a couple of sailing vessels, and Boca Grande.

Even in the middle of the day it was a big sketchy to be outside the city center. So I quickly made my way through the Clock Tower Gate and back into the heavily police patrolled center.

I admired the colonial buildings lining the streets with alternate residence, hotels, restaurants and shops selling everything from gems to shirts.

Back at Casa Quero, I took a swim as I waited for Nat and Ben for lunch.

We walked to a recommended restaurant which of course was closed, so stepped inside the first restaurant we came upon, a random pizzeria.

I wish I paid attention to the name of this restaurant because then I could advise readers to avoid it at all costs. The service was the most awful we experienced the whole trip. It was comical how poor the service was.

First the server didn’t speak English, which in and of itself is not a problem, but he claimed he did. So when we asked him to translate something on the completely Spanish menu he just read it again in a bit of an English accent!

Then in the middle of taking our orders he had a 5 minute coughing fit where he actually left the restaurant to finish coughing outside.

Finally the food took forever to come out. Every thirty minutes a different part of our order arrived.

Water. Toast and garlic sauce. Salad. Beer. And finally, our mains. Though I must admit, the roasted chicken was surprisingly delicious.

After lunch, I packed up and checked out of Casa Quero to go to my hotel at Boca Grande.

Boca Grande

This newly developed strip contains hotels, shops, restaurants, clubs and even casinos to cater to tourists.

A five minute taxi ride and I had arrived. I checked into Atlantic Lux Hotel and had a great room with a balcony overlooking the city skyline.

For dinner, we went to DF Cocina Mexicana, a Mexican restaurant serving the best margaritas in town!

After a filling meal, we indulged in a bit of blackjack at the Atlantic Lux casino. I won 20 pesos… this trip is already paying for itself!

We called it a night, as we had a trip to the beautiful Park Tayrona tomorrow!


About David

Founder and writer at World-Adventurer.com, David is on a mission to travel to every country in the world and has less than 10 countries left! He loves new adventures, unique cultures, historic landmarks, and luxurious hotels. Follow along as David shares a journey of a lifetime!