Cartagena, Colombia

Very few Americans are visiting Colombia due to it’s history of corrupt government, drug-trafficking and crime, but the days of Pablo Escobar and corrupt government are long over. In fact Colombia has signed a peace agreement that promises to bring an end to corruption.

If your looking for a place to celebrate a birthday, or special occasion with family or friends, then this is the place! I recommend taking a group of friends or celebrating your bachelor or bachelorette party here! This place is the socialites dream vacation with lots of music and dancing.

African slavery was one of the most profitable businesses in Cartagena de las Indias back in the day. Despite the cities traumatic past, because of it’s past, the city is full of both Spanish and African culture. African food, art and music can be experienced throughout the city. If you go out at night time, I recommend going to a Club that plays Champeta music. Champeta music originated among inhabitants of African descendants in Cartagena.

The people of Cartagena are very social and humble. Even though Cartagena has beautiful beaches and many different cities you can visit, I wouldn’t recommend it for the Vacationer. This is a very social place, you will not be able to walk the city without people talking to you, singing to you and dancing for you. The people in Cartagena love to interact with you and there can be times when it becomes slightly overwhelming, but as long as you are a social person yourself, you will be fine! I took this opportunity to get to learn the culture and practice my Spanish.

You can stay in one of many condo’s that sit along the coast of Bocagrande, or find a nice Hostel in the neighborhood of Getsemani. Whichever you choose, they aren’t far from each other and I highly recommend visiting both area’s. Bocagrande has some of the best seafood restaurants and Getsemani has some of the best tourist sites such as the Walled city, the walking tour of Calle Angosto and Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas.

You can also take a city tour bus that offers live music, free alcohol and takes you to get some of the best street food in the city. While in Cartagena, don’t forget to take a trip to the grocery store where you can get some of the freshest produce I’ve ever seen. No matter where you get food from in Cartagena, it all seems to be pretty fresh!

My only recommendation is to make sure you can speak basic Spanish, or take someone with you who does. Learning the money was one of my favorite things to do, being that $800 in American Currency converted to almost $3 Million in Colombian Pesos, but it can be quite confusing in the beginning. If you aren’t careful, you could be taken advantage of if you do not understand the money.


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