Cartagena de Indias is a 16th-century treasure rich in history and culture, of cobbled streets and pastel-coloured walls, of arcaded squares and elegant promenades on the Caribbean coast. This charismatic Colonial town is a popular tourist destination and was a convenient side trip from Medellín, where I was living for the month. I knew I would fall in love with it because I heard it was the New Orleans of Latin America.
The city was originally five islands connected by bridges, but now is divided into three general areas: The Historic Centre (the walled old city, including Getsemani), the New City (including Bocagrande, Castillogrande and Lagito, identifiable by the line of high rise apartments) and Manga. The vast majority of notable attractions are contained within the walls of the Historic Centre.
The tropical town has boutique hotels and grand open plazas filled with stylish cafes, cocktail bars and fine cuisine restaurants – all within the ancient city walls. I went without an itinerary and loved the spontaneity of my weekend.
From Cartegena, I spent the night at the most incredible hostel, Casa en el Agua. It’s a solar powered hostel floating in the San Bernardo islands on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. It’s a place designed to relax and enjoy, which I did.
Visiting the world’s most densly populated Island is definitely a highlight from my stay, 1,200 people live in 97 buildings on 2.4 acres. Only five minutes by boat from Casa en el Agua, this island will be an exciting experience. You can even take a boat ride through the mangrove forests of la Isla Mucura at night and swim with fluorescent plankton.