Colombia is no longer the drug smuggling country it was known for. nor is it the country portrayed in Narcos. Instead it is a nation that has moved on and is shedding its past every day.
I started my journey here in Cartagena. The rebellious city to the north that sought independence from Spain first.
It borders the Caribbean sea and despite what Google told me the weather was absolutely beautiful. Think sunny beach days with a drink in hand, you honestly can't beat it. Whereas Bogota is high above sea level, Cartagena barely sits above the sea. You will see waves crash upon the rocks and into the streets. If it rains mini ponds will be where none existed before. But don't worry the sun will come out again. During the month of October the city isn't teeming with tourists, great if you want to get away from tourists not so great if you want lots of people everywhere.
On this visit I stayed in the Getsamani neighborhood at the Allure Chocolat. On the street was what seemed like a convention center but many clubs and bars all around. Right across from the hotel is the bus stop for the hop on hop off bus. Perfect if you don't have too much time and want to explore the city on your own. The passes last for 2 days and include a walking tour.
This location was also close to Castillo Grande where you can catch the boats to the near by Tierra Bomba Island. Most of the hotels will sell you on The Beach Hostel. During busy season you will want to call ahead and make sure they have space for you.
It is beautiful and has a nice pool and lounge chairs. However, if you want to mingle with the locals, go to the ones next door, those were packed and were loads of fun.
Keep in mind these are not you clear blue Caribbean waters.
If you're looking for more city life and tall skyscrapers stay in the Bocagrande area. Filled with loads of eateries, malls, shopping and casinos this is the place to stay. I loved venturing off to this part just because more people were around in that area and there was a bigger nightlife there than Getsamani.
Great hotel. It's sister property Allure Bonbon is down the street, but they don't have the spa, so I didn't stay there. The regular rooms with two beds are quite small, so you may want to consider an upgrade if you want more space.
- Great Spa- Spent everyday there!
- Beautiful pool, could need a little be of retouching though.
- Good complimentary breakfast, although if you stay a week, you will get sick of the same thing
- Great Wifi
- Awesome staff that help you out a lot
- Not a 5-star
- AC was leaking in the public spaces everywhere, from the front desk to where the spa was. Woke up and saw a piece of the ceiling fall near the spa. Although at the time it seemed like they were working on it and trying to get it fixed.
- Concierge does not relay information
- Not much to eat on this side of the street, instead try something on the other side of the hotel Calle 25, there are tons of restaurants there.