Cartagena, Columbia

**Lots of pictures from my vacation in this post, reader beware**

Cartagena, Columbia was our first stop during our two week cruise. Cartagena is also known as Cartagena de Indias (Cartagena of the West Indies). This was my first time in Columbia, so I was excited to see what the city has to offer.

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History is present throughout the city in its walls, colonial architecture and in numerous impressive military and religious monuments . These all come together harmoniously with clear-water beaches, exotic nearby islands, and the livelihood of bars, cafes and restaurants.

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I love how as soon as I got off the ship, everything was in Spanish! Check out the Stop sign in Spanish! PARE! I got to practice my mad Espanol skills (last used during my college Spanish class, years ago!) during this trip. Ole!

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Cartagena was a major center of early Spanish settlement in the Americas and it is now a popular tourist destination. The Port, Fortresses and Monuments of Cartagena have all been on the World Heritage List since 1984.

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We have always done shore excursions from the cruise ship on all of our trips. There are lots of choices of many things to do in the various port of calls. Our shore excursion in Columbia was the Deluxe Cartagena and Fortress tour.

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Cartagena is separated into an Old City, and a New City. The Old City is surrounded by a ring of massive fortress walls built by the Spanish in 1586. The Fortress of San Felipe is the largest Spanish Fortress in the New World, which is located across the lagoon in the Old City. It is high atop San Lazaro Hill, and it provides a great view of the city.

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I just loved all this architecture. It was truly amazing.

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Me and my brother, Michael.

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The New City is across a bridge on the other side of the water.

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Mom and Pops.

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One of the many notable sights within Old City that contributes to the charm are the picturesque wooden balconies hanging over the narrow streets, with church spires rising above the tile roofs in the background.

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I need a balcony with flowers draping over the side in my life ASAP! Aren’t these so gorgeous? How could you not be all smiles all the time if you lived in a colorful and cheery place like this!

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Next up on the tour was the Palace of the Inquisition. Here on display are the  instruments of torture along with works of art from the Pre-Columbian period. 

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I enjoyed the doorknob so I snapped a picture of that. I also enjoyed this neck torture device on display. I wouldn’t want to be stuck wearing that!

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The Palace of the Inquisition was pretty cool. There was lots of history and tons to see!

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I obviously had to take a picture of the bananas and mangos in the wild! I wanted to take them right off the trees and eat one, but we were advised not to eat any fruit or have any of the water in any of the places we visited.

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How pretty is this? It’s San Pedro Claver, Santo Domingo – the late 16th century Cathedral.

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The two pictures below are pictures I took of the church in the reflection of a window. Cool, right?

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I loved these kids feeding the birds in front of the church. They were so cute!

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After our long hard day of touring the city, it was time to sit back and enjoy a cocktail. My dad and I have  this thing where we have to try the different beers in the different places we visit. In Columbia we found 2 beers we had to try – Aguila & Club Columbia

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A beer was just what the doctor ordered after frolicking Cartagena

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Both beers were fabulous.

 Anyone ever have either of these beers before?

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Before we knew it, it was time to board the ship again and continue on our journey, but not before we had a beautiful last view of Cartagena – In the centre of the bay is a statue of the Virgin Mary. It’s so pretty.

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Cartagena really surprised me, I didn’t expect it to be so well developed. It was really cool how they had the old and the new connected by a bridge. There was so much history here, I’m so happy I got to see it!  

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  • Reply savoringsarah January 21, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Wow, simply amazing! LOVE old world architecture! I have never tried those particular beers, but I love finding new ones when I am traveling abroad 🙂

  • Reply Steel Springs January 21, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    What an amazing stop! I'd love to go there. Thanks for sharing your photos! The wooden balconies are so charming.

    How warm was it there? The weather looks gorgeous.

  • Reply Genesis January 21, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    i need those types of balconies too. how gorgeous.

    looking forward to more pics.

  • Reply Texan Couture January 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Gorgeous pics! New Orleans where I went to college, French Quarter has a lot of Spanish architecture sort of reminds of there. Also my boyfriend had someone in Columbia (they bought his info from someone here in the states) stole his identity last year so I always think of that when I think of Columbia. They tried to charge $2,000 at a Sporting Goods store and the bank called us asking him if he was in Columbia lol

  • Reply MoraPiggy January 21, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Great pics.

    Don't eat the fruit. That had to have sucked. It's so tempting when you see it hanging fresh on the trees.

  • Reply Mike April 11, 2010 at 9:22 am

    I just saw your post and pictures, excellent. I am a Gringo from Hawaii living here now with my wife, who is also Cartagena native, and I just love it! The old city early Sunday morning is my favorite time. The people are warm and generous and I plan to retire here. I welcome all here from my country, you can be safe and have a wonderful time.

    Rambling Gringo

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