From Toronto to Cartagena, Adventures in Colombia

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Now when you think of Colombia what comes to mind? Maybe cocaine, drug lords, violence and underdeveloped areas is what stereotypes most of us may think of. Newsflash, forget what you may have heard because when I went to Colombia it was AWESOME! This time Waynie Walks the Cartagena!

Okay so I did not get to venture throughout the whole country but, I was able to visit Cartagena back in February with some family and friends and it was quite the unforgettable experience. It was a quick 4 day trip but I wish it could have lasted a lifetime.

We were lucky enough to stay in a 5 floor villa which overlooked both the beach on one side and the city on the other side. The sunset was just mesmerizing and made me forget about the sub-zero temperatures back home in Toronto. This ladies and gents was a little slice of heaven. When the sun goes down the nightlife picks up! In Cartagena, if you are seeking restaurants, bars and clubs well it is all here for you inside the Walled City. For tourists, it is recommended you stay inside the Walled City, which is a rock fortress that in encases this part of Cartagena because it has heavy police on duty and is more secure in general.

The nightlife in Cartagena has everything from clubs specializing in Latin music and EDM to bars that really love to play David Guetta or play salsa to places where men and women alike can explore extra-curricular activities. Restaurants range from high end bistros to American style food or pizza to authentic Colombian food. Believe me when I say your taste buds will not be disappointed.

Our group was lucky enough to have a concierge service which helped book our accommodations and plan some our days while giving us strong insight about customs in Cartagena and how to not get ripped off. So we took advantage and rented a speedboat to show us the different islands and beaches along the Caribbean Sea. For most of us it was our first time on a speedboat and it was pretty cool once you get over the fact that you feel you are going to fall out of the boat pretty much every 30 seconds. The surrounding islands were beautiful while others just looked deserted nonetheless amazing and we went on a beach Playa Del Blanca which apparently you can only get there by boat.

Breathtaking views, hot sun, bright blue water along with good company you cannot beat that. Naturally, we had to try some fresh food on our journey which included fresh crab meat served in the crab’s shell and eating in the water with the table in the water and a fresh red snapper in front of us and I am talking about eyes and teeth still in it fresh! So let’s just say I opted for the veggie option.

Whether you are single, with someone or whatever the case may be, Cartagena and Colombia has something for you! Due to the stigma of the stereotypes placed upon Colombia, Cartagena tries to market itself as southern Caribbean and uses being on the coast of the Caribbean Sea as a big selling point. If you want to rent a house inside of the city or do an all-inclusive the choice is yours I would suggest using a concierge service if you are not comfortable with doing these decisions on your own.

Aside from brushing up on your Spanish do keep in mind that there is some poverty in Colombia so people on the streets will try to sell you items and services repeatedly. If you are not interested, do not strike up a conversation with them as it will encourage more attention from other people trying to sell you things. Just simply, wave your hand as to mean “no” and say “Gracias”.

If in case you might have been wondering if I was representing Toronto while in Colombia I absolutely did bring Toronto with me. I was wearing a 1 Love T.O Roots shirt with a Canadian flag which attracted conversation from other Canadians visiting and I even wore a custom shirt I designed with a Scarborough flag on it. Even when I am on vacation Toronto is with me!

This trip was a reminder that you cannot believe everything you hear about a place. Sometimes you got to go out and discover it yourself. While this was surely a once in a lifetime trip I hope to go back again and next time maybe I will come armed with some Spanish speaking skills.

Regards,

Waynie

 

 

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