Why You Have to Come to Cartagena NOW

Posted: 30 Mar, 2016

We confess.

We’ve been caught red handed, and it’s true.

We are guilty of starting a major travel trend to Cartagena.

Since 2011, our adventurous travel team has been rooting for Colombia to come out of the woodwork, and it feels like it’s finally happening. The world has cottoned on to the fact that Colombia – especially Cartagena – is the best place on earth.

The final seal of approval? KAYAK, placed Cartagena as a Top 10 Trending Beach Destination in KAYAK’s 2016 Travel Hacker Guide, an interactive resource full of data-driven insights and hacks.

So the beaches, food and people are great, but here are the real nitty-grittty reasons why Cartagena, Colombia needs to be on your travel bucket list.

We asked our office what keeps them in this crazy town, and here is what we came up with. 

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‘The arepas are the bomb’
Clementyne Chambers,Travel Writer

I know that ceviche and seafood are on the food wall of fame in Cartagena, but I have way more of an affiliation to the humble arepa, a culinary delight that doesn’t have to try to battle for your affections. The best ones are stuffed with the bare necessities of life: meat, cheese and avocado. At least three times a week, you will find me and my burgeoning corn-filled waistline in El Bar del Sur (Cl. 29 #1027, Cartagena, Bolívar) and Quero Arepa Cl. 37 9-130, San Diego, Calle Quero).

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‘Bazurto Market – the heart of Cartagena!’
Natalia Perez, Photographer
Where everyone is happy and helpful, and a champeta zips through the chaotic streets. A great selection of exotic costeño cooking. Bazurto market is an authentic Cartagena experience with African soul.

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‘You’ll learn to love Champeta’
Ana Muñoz, Commercial Director

I
’m from Cali, so I’ve been married to Salsa since birth, but a lot of tourists don’t know that there are varied genres of music in every region. Champeta is the music of choice by Cartageneros. It sounds like Reggaeton and Dancehall had a baby, and that baby was this booty-shaking rhythmic  crooner we’ve all ( even I ) have come to cherish. I strongly suggest you learn the ropes first at Bazurto Social Club. Drinks help the process.

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‘Happiness’
Ana Restrepo, Accommodation Manager

It might seem like a cliche, but I just love walking through Cartagena’s streets and soaking up the jubilant atmosphere. There are random musical jams on every corner, street venders screaming out their daily offering at the top of their lungs, and colours every left, right and centre – you can just feel happiness in the air.

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‘Riding a bike (on a Sunday)’
Adrianna Carr, Operations Manager
I love to ride my bicycle in the old town on Sunday mornings. There are no cars and not many people in the streets, so I get to appreciate the beauty of the buildings, parks, the flowers on the balconies. If you see a purple bike with flowery handlebars winding through the cobbled streets, thats me.‍

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‘Lion Fish! Gotta love Cartagena’s fish revolution’
Anthony Benitorevollo, Content Manager.
The sea’s fish population is depleting rapidly – and the biggest enemy is the Lion Fish – a predator that has no equal in the marine world, that’s to say that it eats everything and nothing eats it. The solution: find the best chefs to start incorporating it into their own menus. As it turns out , once the spine has been removed, its a soft, flavourful and full of Omega 3. Agua del Mar and Marea by Rausch as the best place to lose your Lion fish virginity.

Find your own reason to love Cartagena, buy a flight ( go on, you deserve it) and check out more of the city’s hotspots on our website.

See you soon!

Written by: Clementyne Chambers
Photography by: Natalia Perez
Other credits: This is Cartagena
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