Cartagena de Indias
Cartagena: the city Instagramável
I decided to go to Cartagena last minute. I confess that from the little I researched, I came to the conclusion that I didn't even need to research. The city is photogenic from all angles and that alone has given me water in my mouth for this trip! #cidadesinstagramáveis
Arriving in Cartagena
I arrived on a Saturday night, from a flight of less than 1 hours from Bogota, and at the airport I already took a taxi (with the fixed price of 15000 Colombian pesos) straight to the Hotel Don Pedro de Heredia.
Incidentally, Don Pedro de Heredia was a recurring name-not only because it is our hotel but also because, as I discovered later, it is the name of those who founded the city in 1533.
The Walled city
On the way from the airport to the historic center of the city you can see typical scenarios of a modern Latin American city: Botecos, houses and some buildings in narrow streets with cars and motorcycles competing for the roads. Until there comes a huge stone wall on the shore of the sea, the wall that with 11km of extension surrounds the Old City and which is one of the main attractions of Cartagena.
This wall, incidentally, was ordered by King Philip II to protect the city from invaders and pirates, since Cartagena was one of the main ports of the Americas for the transport of Gold and silver (in addition to slaves coming from Africa), but the project was only completed almost two s Later, in 1796, 25 years after Colombia's independence.
Anyway, the wall of Cartagena emerges unexpectedly for a first-time visitor and is within the walls that are the best things to see, do, eat and drink.
The taxi entered through one of the main doors of the city and immediately the scenery moved to one of Spanish colonial houses, with high right feet, florid balconies and super coloured facades. It is a photo-op at every corner and the Instagrammer inside me had to restrain itself so as not to drop a shout of joy!
We checked in at the Hotel Don Pedro Heredia (which is simple but friendly-I made my reservation by Booking.com) and we went out towards the clock Tower Square, where there are several rooftops with bars overlooking the city. The best of them is the Eivissa, which has a floor with a dancing track and a super animated rooftop.
What to do in Cartagena
The Ciudad Amurallada is small and every corner there is an attraction. The ideal is to explore it on foot and to indulge in the surprises that arise on the way. For example, the Plaza de Santo Domingo has a sculpture of the Botero outdoors, right in front of the church of Santo Domingo, while the Plaza de San Pedro has several iron sculptures of the Museum of Modern Art (which is also there in the square and has value of symbolic entrance).
It is worth to know the Teatro Adolfo Mejía on the inside, which although decadent is impressive, and walk over the wall to see the view to Bocagrande (the modern part of the city) and to the castle of San Felipe.
You can also spend a whole day just observing the walls, facades, doors and balconies of the houses, which are super well cared for and have details like elaborate doorknobs and ornaments.
The city is very gentrified and so there is an evident gourmetization in restaurants, bars and cafes-you feel walking in the eighteenth century until you look at the gate of an establishment that transports you straight to Pinheiros. And there is a harmony between the new and the old, the tourist and the place, which is very light and fun.
Cartagena guarantees amazing photos with fine dining breaks (and yet super affordable prices.) It is a mixture of architecture and art with relaxation and fun that makes the Colombian city an incredible destination.
Even, I even made a pack of presets inspired by this beautiful and super photogenic destination! Click here to see!