Cartagena – The Pearl of the Caribbean

What immediately makes me think of pirates, rum and Johnny Depp can only be a good thing. Cartagena was the city I had been looking forward to most because of its beautiful old town and proximity to the sea.

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One of the first things I learned when I got out of the plane was that it’s hot in the Caribbean. Yes, I can hear you roll your eyes and say of course it is, but if Keira Knightley had to run around in her costume in that kind of heat and humidity, I wouldn’t be surprised if she really had fainted during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Kayaking in the Caribbean

I stayed in Cartagena for eight nights and, to be honest, I spent most of the time just relaxing and practicing my Spanish with various people from South America. I did, however, go kayaking one day. I don’t know why I, who never do anything even remotely pertaining to sports at home always have to decide to test my abilities when I’m in a foreign country. Kayaking in the sea (or anywhere I’d imagine) is frickin’ exhausting, you guys. I expected it to be hard on the arms, but I was surprised by how hard it is to remain in a position with your legs stretched all the time. I also got a ridiculous sunburn because the kayak guy told me to leave my things at the beach as they would just get wet. In the end, I might have cheated a little to take a break or two while he was doing all the work. I would have been fine to go on after a short respite, but he just told me to relax while he keeps going, which was nice but made me feel slightly guilty. That said, I’m glad I did it and I got to see a really nice beach, but I don’t need to do it again.

Snorkelling at the Islas del Rosario

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During the end of my stay I befriended two girls from Chile. They had booked a trip to the Rosario Islands the next day, so I decided to tag along and see if I could still get a ticket. This being Colombia, I could and off we went in a little boat with thirty other people. Well, off we went just to be dropped off at the same beach where I had had lunch during my kayak trip because, apparently one of the motors of our boat was broken. At least that was what I thought the tour guide said; he only spoke Spanish. As it’s a fairly nice beach, no one really minded to spend some time there.

Once the new boat arrived, we quickly realized we would have to get on without a landing stage or a ladder, which proved to be a little difficult. As I didn’t particularly want to make a fool of myself I organized a chair and saved the day. Well, okay, I saved the day for me and an elderly looking man, but I felt like a hero, okay?

The ride from then was very scenic. My new friends convinced me to go snorkelling. I suspect if you’re a snorkelling expert it’s not worth the 20k Pesos, but I’d never done it before so even just some small fish with neon blue dots and another swarm of exotic -looking fish in the incredibly clear water were fascinating to me.

We had lunch at Playa Blanca and spend about an hour there. It’s a really nice beach, but it’s also, as to be expected, very crowded. You can stay overnight, but I didn’t fancy sleeping in a hammock. If that’s not a problem, then you should definitely do it. Some tourists from Baranquilla told me it’s beautiful once all the people are gone.

All in all, the climate in the Caribbean isn’t my cup of tea, but Cartagena is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the are area!

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