Things to do and see while in Cartagena, Colombia

These beauties can be found by the marina in Cartagena.
A man sells fruit in Getsemani

Getsemani is the neighborhood next door to the Historic Center of Cartagena. It’s considered a backpackers haven with graffiti murals brightening buildings and umbrellas strung above the streets shading the alleys from sun. It’s also a more affordable option for dinning and accommodation.

Shaded from the hot Colombian sun in Getsemani
Beautiful graffiti murals abound in Getsemani

A short cab ride can take you to the Castillo de San Felipe. Construction of this fortress was begun in 1536 and completed in 1767. The entrance fee is $7.50 US and you can explore tunnels, touch rusty cannons and climb ramparts. The view is expansive from the top.

Castillo de San Felipe
Ian is almost too tall for the tunnels.
It’s hard to see but the walls are made of coral blocks.
Great view of the city from the top!

The Emerald Museum in the Historic Center is free, air conditioned and our guide was very informative.

This hefty emerald has carbon inclusions (the black stuff).

We saw some amazing emeralds, learned how the Mayans used emeralds and a crystal skull as a lie detector test (a hand was placed over the emerald and the skull would turn a certain color) and were shown the difference between the world’s three types of emeralds.

The Emerald (and crystal skull) Lie Detector
We were told the purpose of this item is a mystery. Our guide asked what we thought it might be and Ian said ‘a beer opener’.

There are many beaches nearby. You can take a boat for $3 US per person one way from Castillogrande Beach to Punta Arenas Beach. Among the beach frolicking and bumping music we found a spot where we spent $17 US to drink 4 mojitos and 1 beer and sat in plastic chairs in the sand.

A hawker sells dessert on the beach, Punta Arenas
Boat taxis on Punta Arenas Beach

Another beach option is gorgeous Playa Blanca. Playa Blanca can be reached by several methods. We chose to take a 45 minute shuttle for $11 US each to get there and a ‘fast boat’ for the return at $7 per person. The fast boat also took 45 minutes, was terrifying, and seemed about to break in half. But we lived to tell the tale.

The ‘fast boat’ taxi and turquoise waters of Playa Blanca
Fun refreshments on Playa Blanca

And now, Ian’s Take:

Now I have seen some boob jobs here and there but wasn’t aware that Colombian women seem to pair theirs with a big ‘ol bootie job. I mean some serious big booties. Some of these gals will round the street corner and their trunks won’t disappear with them for about 8 more seconds. Colombians love music and love to dance. So it appears that these enlargements are not only there to turn men’s heads but maybe more are used as status. Because on the dance floor, the fastest biggest shaking bootie gets the most points. Now I like to dance. I don’t have a big bootie but I do have a big beer belly. I don’t think that is going to get me any points back home but I am going to continue to shake it and maybe just pretend I am on the Colombian dance floor earning me some serious points. Until next time, keep it shakin’ folks. Ciao!

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