For the last two days, I’ve been in Cartagena, Colombia. First I should tell you, this is my third time to visit this city. I love to see the beautiful city appear as you sail in on a cruise ship. I love to visit Old Town with its lovely bougainvillea cascading down from the balconies of the historic homes. I love to see folkloric shows where proud dancers exhibit their skills and share bits of history with guests.
Some may believe visiting a city multiple times on a cruise ship is boring and opt to stay on the ship. (And, there are some ports I’m inclined to agree, but Cartagena is not one of them.)
Today I toured Cartagena again. This time was with a small group and my guide’s name was Jairo. Part of the tour allowed us to visit the Museo Naval de Cartagena (naval museum). This museum is fairly basic in nature, but they are adding more artifacts and have plans to improve. I appreciated the different mappings that showed the islands, forts, and underwater stone formations that protected the city from invaders. There is also an old galleon ship replica that was interesting. Jairo shared about the multicultural background of Cartagena - Mestizo, African, and Spanish. To demonstrate the different dance styles influenced by each culture, we attended a dance presentation which was quite entertaining.
To wrap up our tour, we visited a shopping area near Old Town. Note, if you haven’t visited Cartagena, be prepared. Street vendors are persistent, so if you are not interested in their wares, simply say “No Gracias” and move on to your intended location. Old Town is a crowd favorite when visiting this city. People stroll the streets and enjoy the cathedral, lovely shops, and tasty treats. Be prepared to take home a beautifully woven bag or small art piece. I am always cheered at the bright colors of the handicrafts!
On our return to the ship, we were required to show our ship card and transit through a market chock full of postcards, coffee, jewelry, and art. As an added bonus, connected to the market is a small zoo-like area complete with a lovely green lawn. Flamingoes, monkeys, and plenty of birds entertained us before we returned to the ship.
Cartagena is a city that never disappoints. With its stunning beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture, it's a destination that deserves to be visited more than once. Whether it's your first, second, or third time visiting, there's always something new to discover. From the naval museum, great restaurants, to the colorful streets of Old Town, Cartagena has something for everyone. And what better way to visit than on a cruise? If you're looking for a memorable vacation, consider adding Cartagena to your travel bucket list. I am here to help you find the perfect cruise itinerary to make this the perfect Caribbean escape! Feel free to contact me so we can begin planning.