Your next vacation is in Cartagena! Wonderful, that's great! Now, before you visit, you should take note of some useful things to know about the city.
Here's a quick video my partners at Hayo, Sean and Steve put together during their visit. It gives you a quick glimpse of all the things you can do in Cartagena.
Because of Michael Douglas in Romancing the Stone, many people say: CAR-TA-HE-NYAH, but that last "nyah" isn't correct and it's simply pronounced: CAR-TA-HE-NAH. Got it? This is an important one to remember ;-)
Cartagena is one of the most historic cities in Colombia. All the commercial development started here and the first steps toward the abolition of slavery were taken by a Spaniard Jesuit priest, San Pedro Claver, who, seeing the poor conditions of the slaves, began enacting what was then called Equal Human Rights. If you are walking around the old city, you can feel the mystical combination of the Spanish wealth and the black slave hands. Every street has a history that unfolds in front of those who are looking beyond the curious shapes and stones.
The buildings and the great walls carry the weight of history, of war, of violence, of racism. After many years, you can see the miscegenation in every street. People are proud of their roots, and you can see the mixture of cultures, religions, languages and instruments, especially through music.
It's safe, don't you worry. Aside from having the usual precautions, like not walking alone in a dark street or leaving your purse or wallet behind, it's pretty safe to walk around in Cartagena. And this is the best thing you can do, walk. Maybe not at noon, because it is too hot, but in the afternoon and sunset it's very pleasant.
If you're looking for restaurant and bar recommendations, this map has all my favorite places. Of course, there are a lot more, but you can enjoy a real Cartagena experience here.
A version of this article was originally posted on Hayo Magazine, a borderless lifestyle magazine for travelers.