Last week, four friends from San Francisco flew into Bogotá, and a few days ago we traveled to beautiful Cartagena: a coastal, colonial city in the north of Colombia. As is true of the rest of Colombia, Cartagena has become increasingly popular with tourists from the US and the rest of the Americas over the past few years. It’s a short flight from Florida and feels more equipped to handle tourists than a city like Bogotá. More menus are in English, the cobble-stoned streets are all picture-worthy, and the hot temperatures and Caribbean beaches around the city are a huge draw.
Later in the trip, we rented a boat for the day and enjoyed a lot of time in the open water and snorkeling. The boat was also a bit of a relief, because (perhaps as a sign of increased tourism), there are so, so, so many peddlers on the beaches. It was overwhelming to be approached while reading or lounging once every… five minutes, maybe? People sold alcoholic drinks, water, jewelry, ceviche + oysters + lobsters out of carts, rap songs (yes, men would bring their own boombox, rap at you, and ask for money) henna tattoos, and massages. So many massage offers.
When we weren’t on the water, we were happy to snag a beautiful Airbnb on a main square and explore Old Town Colombia by foot.