Friday, February 16, 2018

Cartagena, Colombia

Hello hello,

I'm back from Chicago and finally all caught up with the older trip blogs. I'm ready to share my Cartagena experience and a ton of pictures with you all so I hope you enjoy this post :)

Ah, Colombia

I now understand why everyone raves about Colombia and has such wonderful things to say! My birthday was on January 30th, and I decided last year that I would be planning a trip to Puerto Rico as a gift to myself. Unfortunately, soon after that idea popped into my head, hurricane Irma struck and PR was out of the question. I changed my plans and decided on Cartagena because it has that "old town" feel I was looking for (similar to my favorite place, Casco Viejo Panama) and I'm soo glad I went. This was by far one of my favorite places that I've had the pleasure of visiting.

My biggest concern was the money. It was my first time having to use a different currency and I was worried I wouldn't know what I was actually paying for things if I bought them from street vendors but thankfully it didn't take long to get the hang of it (plus, there's an app for that)- phew. I didn't have time to change the money before the leaving Miami, so I did it in the Cartagena airport. The taxi ride to our hotel was about 10 minutes from the airport. As we drove there, I couldn't help notice the resemblance between the streets in Colombia and those in Panama. I felt like I was in Panama!


I stayed in La Passion Hotel Boutique and wow.. It was absolutely breathtaking. I had a group of friends who traveled to Cartagena in 2016 and stayed there. After seeing pictures of this charming hotel, I knew this was where I wanted to stay.
Hidden behind huge doors and a tiny sign, the hotel is located right in the middle of the walled city, meaning everything was a short walk away. Our room was spectacular, very spacious with high ceilings and a beautiful indoor tub / shower which I only recommend if you're staying with a partner as there is no privacy at all while showering, lol. The balcony wrapped around the building and we had access to the entire thing (yass). The staff is amazing and highly attentive, they truly go above and beyond to make you feel welcomed. Breakfast is served daily on the rooftop- a true oasis. This is also were the pool is located and it was one of my favorite things about the hotel. They have cabanas on a higher level from where the pool is that over looks the historic city (I had a full blown photo-shoot around the property)

Second floor of the hotel

The infamous tub/shower (see what I mean?) 

The rooftop pool

Stairway to the rooftop area, also perfect for pictures heh.

Coralina Island:

The staff helped us plan a day trip to Coralina Island in Islas Del Rosario and I highly recommend this if you ever visit Cartagena! La Ciudad Amurillada (the walled city) in Cartagena is pretty much all shops, restaurants and sight seeing, so this little day trip was the perfect escape to switch up the views during our stay. A 45 minute boat ride (we passed by Pablo Escobar's house) and we arrived in paradise.
Our day trip included the boat trip to and from the island, a welcome drink while you are briefed on the island rules, lunch, and yes- free Wifi. We had our own lounging area, specifically for the people who were on the day trip, and once they assigned your spot a friendly staff member comes by with a menu to choose your lunch. At this point I went ahead and also ordered myself a "Coco-Loco" - it was served inside a coconut, bomb.
All I did during this day trip was RELAX. Jumped in the crystal clear water for a bit, laid out while sipping on whiskey and listening to music. It was perfect. Once lunch was ready we were served and shortly after that it was time to head back. You guys, the boat ride back was brutal! We were going against the wind and it was about an hour and a half trip. I seriously thought I was going to fly off the boat. Bumpiest boat ride ever, but I survived and managed to keep my hat.

Look how clear the water was *heart eyes*

Lounging area around the island, most of the trees were decorated all cutesy like this

Sopa de marisco's (seafood soup) as a starter

Fried fish, Arroz de Coco (coconut rice, so fire) Patacones (fried plantains) and a side salad

 Fresh ceviche

Coconut rice, Patacones and a salad as the side's for the Ceviche

Mousse de Maracuja (Passion Fruit mousse)

This was the owner of the Island, seeing us off before the boat ride back

I had to.

La Ciudad Amurillada:

The remainder of the trip was spent exploring the city and eating my life away per usual. Cartagena is such a beautiful city with so much to see within the walled city itself. There are street vendors in every corner, bright colors and flowers on mostly every building, plus amazing hospitality everywhere. I plan to return with the same group of friends who previously went, show's how much we loved our stay!

Fruit vendors in just about every street

Sweating my life away for trying to do the most out in the streets of Cartagena. 
Anything for good shots..

A JUMBO Garlic Lobster, I ate the entire thing. Yup.

Shrimp Ceviche
(What I mostly ate during my entire trip lol)


Street vendors

So many tourist!

Everyone wanted pictures with the lovely fruit ladies of course.

She saw me taking a picture asked if I could help her out, so I bought una bola de tamarindo from her- see picture below :)

Ball of Tamarindo with sugar

Day and Night, there was always a little dance show going on in this park

(I had the passion fruit -duh- and a Lulada paleta, delish.)

Balcony over-flowing with beautiful flowers

This was inside another boutique style hotel, they were setting up for dinner.

Mushrooms and melted cheese

Just another beautiful colorful street


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