What To Do in Cartagena, Colombia
This article was originally published in Chalkboard Magazine here
Exploring one of the most beautiful cities in South America with a pro photography team? El Camino’s new favorite hotspot…
Photo Credit: Marianna Jamadi for El Camino Travel
SEFLIE HABIT ASIDE, we’ve got a love-hate relationship with our cameras (phones, really) when we go on vacation. We’re all about living in the moment, but what about documenting your travels so you can have little reminders of your journey later on down the line? And how to capture those breathtaking views and heart-stopping landmarks while actually doing them justice?
Whether you’re an avid scrapbooker or just an Instagram aficionado, El Camino Travel has got you covered. El Camino turns any vacation into a full-service travel experience: they book you and a dozen ready-for-anything friends in an exotic location, designate you a photographer, and lead you through itineraries full of local foods, experiences, and adventures. They also include a charitable component to each vacation, which makes the trip even sweeter.
Earlier this year, we interviewed the founders to find out more about this remarkable service. This week, we’re getting the deets on one of their most incredible excursions yet: Cartagena, Colombia!
Cartagena, a colonial city on the Caribbean shore of Colombia, is a culturally rich dream. Add to that colorfully painted walls among picture-perfect balconies that hang over cobblestone streets with horse carriages, and photographers and travelers alike might well die of photogenic happiness.
Old town Cartagena is surrounded by a stone wall perimeter with several entries and exits. Within these walls lie the hustle and bustle of Colombian culture. We recently launched our trips to Cartagena (enjoy the photos!) and we cannot wait to return in September – join us!
What left a lasting impression? Here’s our guide to the city of Cartagena…
*This article was based off an El Camino Travel experience. To have a similar experience, book our Colombia trip here, or let us make you a customized itinerary here.*
THE BEST WELLNESS SPOTS
Head to the Gestamaní district to take a champeta dance class. Don’t know what champeta is? Champeta is a style of folk music that originated from the communities of African descent along the Atlantic coast. Popular in this region, it is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the culture while sweating it out and staying fit.
VOLCANO EL TOTUMO:
Interested in a more unique version of a spa day? Head 30 minutes outside of Cartagena to El Totumo, a volcanic mud bath known to locals for possessing healing powers that will leave you and your skin feeling utterly refreshed. After a good soak, head down to the nearby river where local women guide you into the water and wash off all the mud, leaving you squeaky clean.
THE BEST EATS IN TOWN
EXOTIC FRESH FRUIT:
El Camino travelers were welcomed to Cartagena with a fruit tasting upon checking into the hotel. What was on the menu? Guanabana, curiba, maracuya, zapote and lulo, just to name a few. Have a nibble, or sip on a blended version, to pack in those fresh vitamins.
FRESH COCONUT WATER:
You’ll find street vendors selling fresh coconut water throughout the city. We always stop for a sip when in need of a beverage to cool us down. Make sure once you are done to ask the vendor to cut it open for you so you can indulge in the coconut meat.
Head to María in Old Town for a refreshing meal in style. We wanted to steal the pineapple chandeliers and couldn’t get over the tiger wall murals.
WHERE TO SNAP A PHOTO
OLD TOWN CARTAGENA:
Old town colonial Cartagena is filled with colorful walls and decorative doors. Get lost within the city walls and bring your camera for some bold, bright snaps. We couldn’t get enough of the color palette.
At the entrance of the old town section, there is a tall yellow clock tower that greets you upon entry and opens up into a main plaza. The vibrancy and life in the plaza is sure to keep your camera busy.
Just outside the city walls the Gestamaní district is the perfect place for a good wander. We loved the street art and colorful buildings.
The old town is surrounded by stone walls that you can walk on at certain points. Take in the view of the Caribbean Sea or the city itself. Your camera will love the perspective.