During our month stay in Rio de Janeiro I, Beatriz, decided to take a short break from the carioca lifestyle and travel to Cartagena, Colombia. I always wanted to visit this city and since Brazil is much closer to Colombia than the Netherlands I thought that it would be a great chance!
We all know that such a beautiful country as Colombia deserves much more than five days to stay in, but that was exactly the time I had. To get some insider tips and make the best of my trip I spoke with Jorge Luis, a staff of Puertas de Cartagena Hotel, where I stayed in.
So, what do you normally do on the weekends?
I like to spend time with my family and when I am not with them I am at the beach! My favourite beaches are Bocagrande and Castillo Grande – with calmer waves. I also like to hang out with friends at Paseo de la Castellana, besides the shopping mall and when the sunsets I love to go dancing! The discos in Cartagena are quite eclectic and play music for all tastes, from pop to Latin music. The U Zone (it has a U shape) is my favourite area, with many bars and discos. There you will see more locals than tourists, but it doesn’t mean that they are not welcome 😉
What makes you happy the most living in Cartagena?
I love living in Cartagena just because I know many people here! My job also makes me very happy since it allows me to meet every day many travellers from all over the world. And I would say that a happy day is anyone which I spend with my family, enjoying my mother’s food like arroz con pollo (rice with chicken).
What is very typical from Cartagena that you recommend your guests to try?
Very typical dishes from Cartagena that no one should miss are patacones (fried banana), arroz de coco frito (coconut fried rice), fish and avocado salad, everything together with a fresh lemonade. I like to eat at Donde Socorro, close to the Clock Tower, the food is very good and traditional there.
Cartagena is beautiful, but when you want to change the scenario, where’d you go?
I normally go to the pueblo (town) of my mother called San Onofre – Sucre, located one and half hour from Cartagena. It’s actually ideal for a day trip – you can enjoy the beaches of El Rincón de Mar, which are pristine and have a drink at Bar Dondadelia. I also go every August to Pajonal Sucre, close to San Onofre Sucre, for the Fiesta Patronal de San Roque – the patron saint festivity. The party is simply great!
If you would visit someone abroad, what gifts from Cartagena would you take with you?
I would gift anyone with a hat toquilla straw handmade in Cartagena, it represents very much our artisans. And of course, I would take some good coffee like Juan Valdéz and Sello Rojo, definitely the best ones in the world.
What’s in your opinion the best time to visit Cartagena?
I love Cartagena in January when the Fiestas Patronales – patron saint festivity – takes place, the city breaths happiness and the atmosphere is amazing. Also, the carnival is great! It occurs here each November and the city goes nuts and gets fully booked, so if you intend to enjoy it book your accommodation in advance. My advice is to watch it from the city walls, actually on top of it! The parades pass behind the city wall and from there you can have the best view of the cars and the carnival queen!