After an extensive research, I booked a flight to Cartagena to say my farewell to 2017 and welcome 2018. By this stage, I was obsessed and inspired by the Girls Love Travel (Facebook), I posted my dates in Cartagena, and made a few connections with the lovely members. After checking-in to my far-far-away hostel for the night (suggested as the meeting point), I made an attempt to contacts the girls, but unfortunately no NYE plan came to fruition.
No fear, I can party alone, or made one last attempt to reach out to a GLT girl travelling alone. Rachael was that connection, after walking around town figuring out what to do for NYE, we grabbed a few cocktails, and decided that we will line-up for Cafe Del Mar’s NY party.
Slightly different to Sydney’s usual stand-up and drink party culture, we were sitting down, drinking, and eventually dancing on a nearby small stage designated for all these happy dancers. We met four lovelies who were impressed by my dancing on stage skills, as well as a small family partying it up (a father, 2 sons, 1 daughter, 1 daughter’s boyfriend). This family partying together set-up is common in Latin America, but definitely not in Australia.
After a day of recovery, the four lovelies (Diana, Andy, Clara, Liza), Rachael and I jumped on a chartered boat, and partied in Cholon. The party island means dancing in a waist-deep calm water, drinks and food service on floating tables, and music blasting from all the boats’ gigantic speakers. While we partied with the young crowd, I discovered that kids these days don’t ask for numbers but asked what your Instagram username is – my laugh probably showed my age.
The scorching heat means that cafe/restaurant with ocean view is not a thing in Cartagena, they are comfortably located in the alleys and streets, protected from the sun by shadows, and gentle breeze whispering to the surrounding trees. Massage, manicure and pedicure, are also not a thing in Cartagena; unless a visit to the luxurious day spa of five star hotels.
I spent a few days getting a certification in Open Water Diving (OWD) with PADI through Cartagena Divers. The water was warm, the view was beautiful, and the experience was unforgettable.
The most memorable thing about Cartagena for me was the food – ceviche, coconut rice, and fresh seafood.
Food Divine Food
I was staying within the walled city, specifically in Santo Domingo, therefore I explored restaurants between Santo Domingo and San Diego, with one outlier in Getsemani. I skipped Bocagrande because it is not within walking distance.
- La Cocina de Cartagena (TripAdvisor) – rice wrapped in eggplant and the fish dish – a few locals recommended this restaurant, and it was my favourite.
- La Mulata – (TripAdvisor) – fresh seafood, ceviche!
- Espíritu Santo – (TripAdvisor) – big serving, cheap, and delicious
- Pezetarian – (TripAdvisor) – visited this place 3 times because it’s cheap, yummy & pretty food. It is a chain-restaurant that I also saw in Medellín.
- Alquimico – (TripAdvisor) – rooftop bar with a cocktail menu worth drooling over
- The Clock Pub – (TripAdvisor) – 20% discount on food if staying in their hostel but they do charge a generous voluntary tip on the bill.
- Caffe Lunatico – (TripAdvisor) – I ventured out to Getsemani because of the awesome reviews on this place
- Beer & Laundry – (TripAdvisor) – I didn’t get to eat or do my laundry here but this was recommended by a few locals, and you may soon realised that laundromat is a rare business in Cartagena. Located in Getsemani.