From Medellin we booked a flight to Cartagena. We flew via Bogota because it was cheap (😁) but because of fog a lot of flights got delayed and our transit flight was even cancelled. After going back and forth a few times to different ticket offices we finally got a new ticket for a flight a few hours later (10 p.m.). To compensate we got a free ‘diner’ at Mac Donald’s from the airline company 🎉
We arrived late in Cartagena and our hostel (Quintos de la Real) wasn’t completely what we hoped for… when we got there the party was well on its way, the receptionist was drunk, and our ‘room’ was more like a closet without windows with a bunkbed squeezed into it. We booked the room for 2 nights but left immediately the next morning and looked for a better place to sleep. After some walking around with our backpacks in 30 degrees Celsius we found the Zana hotel boutique. This one was heaven compared to the previous one!
What about Cartagena itself? Well it turns out that January is the busiest month of the year because the Colombians have holidays and frankly it isn’t pretty with so many tourists. As always with high seasons also here the prices increased dramatically and it was so busy that the good restaurants had queues out on the streets. But we already set our hopes on a great restaurant called ‘La Cevicheria’ and queued for 45 minutes… High season however doesn’t affect the quality of the food and we were happy again!
After that we went back to ‘Getsemani’, the area where our hotel was. Our hotel was located in a quiet street with a lovely little square at the end. Here we enjoyed a great diner at an Italian restaurant called ‘Basilica’ (we ended up here the other day for lunch and diner as well, loved this place!).
The next day we woke up early to visit Castillo de San Felipe. The waking up early was a good idea; no other tourists yet 🙂 We walked around through the tunnels of the fort and learned more about how the Spanish used this place to defend Cartagena from the English.
After this visit we spend the afternoon figuring out if our original plan, go to Capurganá to enjoy this tranquil Caribbean village, was still a good plan considering the overload of tourists in Cartagena. We tried to come up with different scenarios but eventually we figured out that Capurganá is quite a remote place so we sticked to our plan!
We pre-booked a hostel a little bit out of town (more quiet) and had contact with the dive school so we were set for a PADI course. We also got a crazy amount of Colombian pesos and dollars, since there are no ATMs at this place, and we planned to stay here for 2 weeks.
The mass tourism was a bit of a shock to us because until now we only travelled during low season. But if this is all we can nag about we shouldn’t complain!