A Trip To Colombia - dswphoto
Day 7.

Cartagena Walled City just after sunrise on the morning of day 7.


Bocagrande stretching out into the distance in the soft early morning light.


Looking down on the Naval Base Bolívar of the Colombian Navy (Armada Nacional de la República de Colombia).


Santa Cruz Manga Island with the sun rising behind Mount Popa in the distance.


Yachts moored at Club de pesca de Cartagena Marina.


Apartment high-rises on the island with the tip of Bocagrande visible on the top right.


The sun now well above the horizon with the Club Nautico Cartagena bottom-left.


Looking north with Mount Popa on the far-right. On the top of the mountain is the Convent of Santa Cruz de la Popa, dating from 1607.


The sun beaming across the Port of Cartagena.


And looking west with the Walled City in the distance.


Heading back towards the barrio of Getsemani.


Club de pesca de Cartagena Marina below again.


The leafy and bohemic neighbourhood of Getsemani has been described as the hippest 'hood' in Cartagena.


I then went for a jog along Playa de las tenazas. The high humidity definitely made for lots of perspiration!


And then back to Hotel Boutique las Carretas for a decent breakfast.


With a freshly cooked waffle from the kitchen.


Just after 9am I met up with my guide, Alejandro, in Plaza de Los Coches. After a short walk to the bus station we headed north along Avenida Venezuela.


After about 15 minutes we arrived at Mercado de Bazurto.


Cartagena's labyrinthine central market, it was a big sprawling mass of stalls, sights and shoppers.


Some marijuana and coca muscle balm. Alejandro bought me some as a souvenir but stressed that it would be very likely to not be legal to take home!


I probably could have visited without a guide but Alejandro was essential to navigate through the maze of shops and stalls and I would have definitely missed half it of without him.


Alejandro checking out some music records for sale.


He explained that Champeta is a type of music that is popular in the city and that originated in the early-1980s from Cartagenans of African descent.


Comida.


Alejandro then took me to a famous poster artist in the market that paints the posters for all major Champeta music festivals. For a few pesos he offered to paint a personalised poster for me to take home too!


Pinceles.


La Esperanza. We then continued our walk through the markets.


It was great to wander about and mingle with the locals doing their shopping.


Rascador de cabeza.


Carnicero.


Bullicioso.


Once we reached the fruit markets Alejandro bought a few exotic fruits I had never heard of to taste and try.


Eggs.


Vegetales.


La Esquina / The Corner.


Fresh armadillo's for 60,000 pesos or $20 each.


Seafood for sale as we head south through the markets and close to Cienega Las Quintas.


El pescadero.


Pescaderia / Fish Shop.


Next we visited a place simply called La Cocina / The Kitchen. There were several pans filled with oil heated by burning wood and were cooking fish from the next door fish markets.


Visited by Anthony Bourdain while filming his TV show, No Reservations, Alejandro said that people could buy a cheap meal of fried fish and yam for 5,000 pesos or ~$1.60.


Picking up the now completed poster as we wandered back through the markets.


Just before leaving we headed to a fresh fruit juice stall.


And a tasty mango smoothie to rehydrate after a fun and eventful walkabout!


We then headed back to Avenida Venezuela to catch the bus back to the Walled City.


Back at Plaza de Los Coches where I thanked Alejandro for the exciting and very photogenic morning.


I then headed upstair to the Juan Valdez Café to recaffeinate. Founded in 2002 by the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia as part of a marketing campaign to promote fair trade coffee to help Colombian Coffee farmers, the chain has since grown to over 300 stores in 13 countries.


And enjoying the view of Plaza de Los Coches below with an iced coffee and a chocolate brownie.


After the coffee and cake I went out for some more sightseeing. Looking down onto the Walled City.


Traffic at the interesction of Avenidas Santander and Blass de Lezo.


Bocagrande Square Mall and the Hyatt Regency on the left in Bocagrande.


Santa Cruz Manga Island behind.


And the city of Cartagena streching out beyond.


A panorama off the coast of Bocagrande.


The southern half of Bocagrande.


Beachfront hotels facing the Caribbean.


El Laguito / The Lake at the southern tip.


Two jetskis zipping past Plaza Bocagrande Centro Comercial.


Back in the Walled City again with an unrestored building awaiting some TLC.


Puerta.


Canastas.


Pinturas.


KGB.


A food market by Plaza de Los Coches.


And where I bought some coconut sweets for a few pesos.


A statue of Simón Bolívar on horseback in Plaza de Bolívar.


Calle 26 after a sprinkle of rain.


In the evening I headed to a Mexican restaurant for taco's.


While being serenaded with some Mexican music!



Day 8.

Breakfast again at the hotel before my last full day in Colombia.


After making way down to La Bodeguita Pier, I boarded a fast boat for a day trip to the Islas del Rosario (Rosario Islands).


The islands were a ~45 minute ride away from Cartagena.


Looking out to the many high rises in Bocagrande as we depart Cartagena.


And arriving at Gente De Mar Resort.


Welcome drink. It was $65 for the day including boat ride, towel and lunch so a pretty good deal.


And about to go for a swim in the Caribbean Sea.


The weather was mostly overcast but as I don't tan well it was nice to not get too much sun.


Looking down on Gente De Mar Resort and Isla Grande, the largest of the Rosaio Islands.


Just off the beach was Isla del Pirata.


The small island was home to Hotel Isla Del Pirata.


And two small islets just beyond.


In 1988 the protected Parque Natural Islas Del Rosario was formed, covering an area of 120,000 square kilometres and is one of the 46 Natural National Parks of Colombia.


A private spa just off Isla Grande.


Complete with jacuzzi and sun loungers.


Looking down on Laguna Encantada (Enchanted Lagoon) with Hotel Cocoliso Island Resort to the top-left.


Isla del Pirata in the foreground and Isla Grande beyond.


At 12:30pm a delicious meal of fish, rice and salad was served.


I then made use of one of the day beds to have a lazy afternoon nap.


Looking down on Isla Grande again to the west.


Gente De Mar Resort at bottom-left.


The beach on the northern side of the island.


The western end of Isla Grande where there is purportedly the ruins of a palace built by Pablo Escobar.


And the other half of the island with Gente De Mar Resort at the eastern tip.


Saying hello to one of the colourful local residents, a very chirpy Red Scarlet Macaw. He didn't like me getting too close and pecked my lens right after taking this photo.


At 3:30pm it was time to head back to Cartagena. A lazy and relaxing day and it was sad it had to come to an end.


Back in Cartagena I headed to Perú Fusión for dinner.


And enjoyed some very tasty and fresh sushi.


Then went for one last evening stroll around the city before beginning the journey home tomorrow.



Day 9.

Today was a travel day but I couldn't resist getting up early for one last look at Cartagena.


Santa Cruz Manga Island just after dusk.


Streetlights still on as the day starts to begin.


Rows of containers at the Port of Cartagena.


Cartagena Bay filled with lots of moored sailing boats.


The dawn light beginning to filter across the city.


And one last look of Ciudad Amurallada.


Back at the hotel for breakfast before packing my bags and checking out.


Catching a taxi back to the airport.


Checking in for my Avianca flight back to Bogota.


With my boarding pass after passing through security.


And boarding ontime. My flight back to Dubai from Bogota was on a separate ticket so it was welcome relief that there was no delays.


Hot coffee served on the 85 minute flight to the capital.


After collecting my suitcase from the luggage belt I joined the long queue to check in again for my trip back to Dubai.


Finally airside where a grabbed a quick burrito for lunch with the last of my Colombian pesos.


And about to board the Avianca A330 after an amazing and incredible trip to Colombia!

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