Cartagena is the perfect postcard city. It’s romantically beautiful and really doesn’t require much more than a stroll around the 13km of colonial stone walls filled with cobbled streets and charming balcony buildings, churches and cafés.
But that’s the postcard. In reality you will be walking around gasping for a breeze and looking for the nearest air conditioned room. Man alive it is humid and we were there in one of the coolest months.
With a year round average humidity of 80% it really is hard work exploring this beautiful city. So be prepared! It definitely sucked some of the enjoyment out of it for us and we ended up only spending one day in the city.
If, like us, you are looking to explore the city in one day we thoroughly recommend hiring a private tour guide. There are many hovering in the main plazas and will give you a 2-3 hour tour of the old town for a great price. They are in training to become official tour guides (kind of like our work experience programmes) and show you all the sights at your own speed whilst telling you about the history and current life in the city.
We agreed to paying COP40,000 (£11) for our private group of 2 people, but gave him COP50,000 as he was excellent. He originally asked us for about COP100,000 so remember to barter!
Here are a few pictures of the beautiful old town. We visited; Teatro de Heredia, Iglesia de a Santo Domingo, Palacio de la Inquisition (we also did this separately and paid for entry), Cristobal Colón statue, Torre del Reloj, the Cathedral and the various plazas.
After our tour we grabbed some beers and headed to the stone wall to watch the sunset. Then it finally cooled down a little, phew.