Pablo Escobar is long gone from Colombia. The drug lords are no longer a threat to one’s safety. What remains in this South American country are beautiful cities, a vibrant culture and the smiling eyes of its people. Cartagena is one of those cities.
What struck me me most about Cartagena was the vibrancy of its colors and the musical score that seemed to accompany me throughout my time in the city. Rich in art and music and dripping with its African heritage, Cartagena is a city that begs to be explored on foot. Because it is only by walking in the cobbled UNESCO colonial center, that you can really appreciate the architecture, the energy and the light. I landed in Cartagena in a sunny and humid November day. It’s subtropical weather both embraces and repels you, at once. It’s sticky, yet sultry; stifling, yet freeing. And it remained a contradiction of feelings throughout my stay.
The city of Cartagena has beautiful new restaurants and traditional old ones. The food is both complex and interesting. You can choose to dine at restaurants whose chefs have been trained under the masters in Europe or a local joint, favored by the people who live in the surrounding neighborhoods. Whichever route you take, you can be certain that there are exquisite options.
The Cartagena art scene is exciting and unique; merging the traditional with the contemporary; photographers and fine artists are represented by galleries and collected by a sophisticated clientele.
I discovered the photographer Ruby Rumie, whose photo portraits of traditional Colombianas are an international sensation.
The street art scene is alive and well, too. With artists emblazoning every free inch of wall space with color and life. It is the perfect backdrop for exploring the local shops and cafes.
A trip to Colombia wouldn’t be complete without a taste of its infamous coffee. I was able to experience the coffee at its finest, at Hotel Ananda, where the San Alberto coffee company has a tasting room. I was able to experience a coffee tasting and learn the complexities of growing, harvesting and roasting the bean that Juan Valdez made famous.
And in addition to coffee tasting, Cartagena is famous for its salsa dancing. If that is something you’d be interested in trying, Crazy Salsa is the place for you. The teacher was incredibly talented and VERY patient with each student. He made you feel as if he was giving each one of the participants a private lesson. What a treat.
When you are ready to experience all that Cartagena has to offer, just reach out. A Moveable Feast, LLC. has all the insider tips and suggestions to make your Colombian experience a memorable one.