The Milli Blog’s Complete Travel Guide to Cartagena, Colombia!
First off, if you’re from Boston and you plan on traveling in January, you're taking a big risk. Mainly due to horrible unpredictable snow storms. We almost had to withstand the snow storm and head to the local grocery store to endure the 1-hour long checkout line. Luckily we made the quick decision to change our flight to leave the day prior at no cost due to the upcoming storm. Other than that it's the perfect time to travel. And not to mention, we were burnt out after celebrating 1 year of The Milli Blog, so this vacay was a necessity!
How did traveling to Cartagena, Colombia come to mind? It all started when one of us was watching La Esclava Blanca (The White Slave) on Netflix, which depicts a 100% inaccurate depiction of slavery in the Colombian region of South America. What made us more eager to go was if you scroll through Instagram feeds and click on Colombia hashtags you see how beautiful, historical, and colorful Columbia is! It took half a second afterwards to look for a travel deal. We hopped on Expedia and our eyes and pockets smiled. For a 5 night stay flight and hotel was under $1600 for 2 people—SOLD!
Cartagena is a great Bargain in the Caribbean for hotels, food, drinks, and entertainment.
Our home for the week was the beautiful boutique-style Hotel Capellan de Getsemani in Cartagena, Colombia. This hotel location PERFECT! We were within walking distance to plenty of food and city tours. Turn the hotel doorknob and you enter a beautifully designed main entrance & lobby area. The rooms were comfortable, spacious, and luxurious, so much so it's hard to believe we got them at such an amazing price. To top it off it came with delicious breakfast variety.
Exactly what is there to do in Cartagena you ask? Here are a few of The Milli Blog’s go-to Cartagena spots:
FOOD & DRINKS
If you’re worried about the cost of eating everyday while in Cartagena, have no fear! Food and drinks were so affordable it was hard not to double up on full size entrees during every meal! We tried it ALL!
Juan Valdez Cafe, Coffee Shop (The Starbucks of Colombia)
La Cocina De Pepina, Traditional Colombian Cuisine
El Arsenal: The Rum Box, Gastropub
Varadero Restaurante, Cuban Cuisine
We spent a day on a private beach island called Coralina! Relaxing doesn’t even cut it! Wee were greeted with champagne glasses upon arrival. Drinks were offered and refilled regularly. Lunch was served dining style with the freshest of seafood options straight from the ocean.
The Old Walled City of Cartagena is made us feel like we had finally experienced the Colombian culture we came for! You can literally see the history as you walk along the wall. The smell of fresh street food made it super easy to locate some stop-and-go spots. Another cultural treat… Las Palenqueras! When visiting the Walled City you’ll see and be able to take pictures with the palenqueras: Beautiful Black women in colorful dresses balancing and selling bowls of tropical fruit on their heads.
Some must visit sites & attractions:
Coralina Island (Private Beach)
Castillo De San Felipe de Barajas
Plaza Santo Domingo
Horse & Carriage Ride City Tour
The Walled City
PICTURE PERFECT VIEWS
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g297476-d1222318-Reviews-Cafe_Del_Mar_Cartagena-Cartagena_Cartagena_District_Bolivar_Department.html - We didn't eat here but we walked up here to walk the wall and just hang out. They charge to use the bathroom :)
ART & DESIGN
Art, architecture, and design overflow in Cartagena! From the hotel structures and earth tones which run throughout the hotels, to the street art and hanging wonders throughout the beautifully colored streets. Hand painted murals, carefully matched pillars and arches, hand carved stones painted in placed in the perfect layouts. Cartagena is without a doubt eye candy all day every day.
Cartagena has been home to European colonizers, pirates, slaves, and of course it’s indigenous people. All of whom have come together over time mixing their cultures to create the diverse city we grew to love and enjoy!
So many people ask, “Why Colombia?” Or mentioned how dangerous it is out there and to be careful. So many are still stuck on the violent history of this country. However for us, this trip was amazing, fun and absolutely empowering. We say empowering because we felt like we were walking on an HBCU campus.
Colombia is the third largest Afro-descendant population in the Western Hemisphere (after the United States and Brazil) and it was so easy to see that. When you’re walking through the streets and private islands of Cartagena we were not just basking in the beautiful Caribbean sun, you’re walking through centuries of history and culture.
Oh yeah, we also held our breath and took Spirit airlines and surprisingly all flights were on time for our departures and arrivals. So, they aight sometimes (lol).