Cartagena lives with and from the sea. The city is built on islands and peninsulas, almost surrounded by waters.
Considering that the water is The Caribbean, that’s not too bad at all. Taking a bath is pleasant, and the shrimp dish called ceviche is more than delicious.
I stayed at a cheap hotel in Bocagrande, a part of the city located at a narrow peninsula some five taxi minutes away from the old town. This modern part of the city consists of villa suburbs, apartments, and numerous hotels, fancy and un-fancy shops as well as restaurants.
The beach is quite ok, but if you want a real Caribbean treat you need to go by boat to the archipelago of small coral islands called Islas del Rosario.
New projects are underways in Bocagrande. Climat change and ascending water levels may be a threat, but if you can live with the risk, you may wanna buy an apartment in a skyscraper with Caribbean panorama.
Cartagena, or Cartagena de Indias as the city’s full name goes, does not leave anyone without impressions.
After a flight from Bogota, lasting a little over an hour, offering some magnificent views of immense jungle, numerous lakes and the Magdalena River, the Avianca MD83 was approaching Cartagena.
Cartagena accomodates Colombia’s second largest seaport, important for oil exports and trade. Descending toward the airport, it was therefore no surprise to see ships and containers.
But the view of extensive slum areas is breathtaking. The attached photo gives you an idea of how a lot of people in Cartagena – and other cities – have to live their lives. Apart from that, the photo also gives a hint of the local economy: cheap labor and a rough struggle for survival.
At the same time Cartagena represents a hispanic history dating back to 1533. And this history, expressed in the the well-preserved old town and the famous, surrounding walls, represents an enormous potential for the tourism industry. I bet that Cartagena soon will be a common place to visit for many more travelers than today.