The Old town of Cartagena is listed by UNESCO as world heritage. The well-preserved old town with plenty of Spanish colonial architecture is the main reason.
At this photo you find one of the more colorful examples of colonial architecture. The building houses a bar/disco called “Mr. Babilla”.
Not only buildings are colorful. Blacks are numerous at the Caribbean coast, since this part of the country formerly was a center for slave trade. This is one of many factors that make Cartagena very different from Bogota where almost everyone is either mestizo (mixed white/Amerindian) or white.
According to statistics, mestizos constitute 58 per cent of the population, whites 20 per cent, mulattoes 4 per cent, mixed black/Amerindians 3 per cent, and finally Amerindians, 1 per cent.
Unlike Peru and Bolivia which have high percentages of indians, or Argentina and Uruguay where whites predominate, Colombia is much more of a racial blend. And yes, the variety compared to what I’m used to in Europe is really striking!
Having spent a few days in Cartagena, I can guarantee that this city is well worth visiting. But the street vendors of Cartagena really know how to drive you mad. It’s understandable that extremely poor people are trying to sell you anything from lobsters to jewelry. However, compared to how tourism industry is run in some other parts of Colombia (and the world), it’s more than obvious that a lot can be done to improve the way things are done in Cartagena.
One of these days there are elections held in this Caribbean city – the locals will choose a mayor to run the place for the next few years. Corruption among politicians, lack of education among citizens and absence of big money are challenges that have to be dealt with.
Cartagena does possess the power of attraction. But will the city be able to fully exploit it?