A report from Cartagena, Colombia
The jewel of the caribbean in a festive mood
End of year 2017 in Cartagena
One of the more pleasant side effects of my job are the Colombia tours, which I can plan myself. Many times I have heard from friends and acquaintances that New Year’s Eve in Cartagena should be a distinct experience. It was not going to be vacation, though I had decided to relax a little bit as well.
Cartagena is hot in December, as always, but it seemed to me that the oppressive heat softened at least at night than during my previous visits. And though there are many vacationers in town as it is one of the top destinations on Colombia tourism, you never feel like it’s overcrowded. The remaining Christmas lights also spread at night a very magical mood. Arrived on December 30, I used the remaining half-day to meet acquaintances, because relationship care must be. Ale, a young Venezuelan, whom I have known for some time, told me many interesting things. Her visa has expired and she is currently living illegally in Colombia. However, this has no consequences, since apparently the majority of Venezuelans in Colombia do not have the valid papers. This because of the crisis in the neighboring country and also a certain indifference. As my colleague speaks English, she is regularly booked for tour guides. Foreign-language tourist guides are also in short supply in the exceptionally touristy Cartagena in 2018.
On the 31st of December I visited a beach club on Tierra Bomba, one of the city offshore island. Blue Apple (https://www.blueapplebeach.com)can be reached by boat in 30 minutes. It is a good alternative to escape the heat of the city during the day. Various sun loungers and beach beds are placed in and around the property, with the pool in the center. The sandy beach, however, does not deserve its name, as hardly exists. The announcement of my visit to the club and the organization were cumbersome. For this I had to determine that on site apparently no management structure was present. After three inquiries I did not get an audience with the manager, but when I paid shortly before my departure she came up with the idea to talk to me and explain the infrastructure to me. The local guys, who provided the service, were in spite of these circumstances extremely professional and the guests lacked nothing. Although the food was highly praised online, I personally did not find it outstanding.
Now New Year’s Eve party was announced! Tables are set in the alleys throughout the Old Town and stages are available for bands. Cartagena is a huge outdoor festival on New Year’s Eve. The clothes color is generally white. I cannot recommend heading for dinner spontaneously; all the restaurants are fully booked. At midnight, masses of people gather on the city wall and in front of the main entrance to the city. There are fireworks and it is celebrated and kissed. However, anyone expecting pyrotechnics as in Sidney will be disappointed. After my clock it endured 8 minutes and the rockets hissed rather sporadically in the sky. However, if you have enough energy and are in party mood, you will be able to dance all night long into the morning. The Colombians are celebrating their festivities!
On the first of January, I visited another beach club. Fenix (https://www.fenixbeachcartagena.com) is located on the same island, but on the side facing Cartagena. Due to outdated information, however, I was in the wrong port and despite my call, the boat was not waiting for me. When the local guy told me I had to wait an hour for the next boat, I vented my anger and behold, to my surprise we made the crossing with 2 people. Fenix is for me a beach club as you would imagine. It is spacious, has a spacious beach and has the capacity for about 200 people, the club with this number of people seems not to be full at all. You can also see the skyline of Cartagena in the distance. The owners (young Colombians) were also on site and I had a lively discussion with them.
On the last morning in Cartagena, I wanted to pamper myself a little after work and visited the coffee Mila Vargas (http://www.mila.com.co). The restaurant is large and perfectly decorated and my anticipation was accordingly large. However, the service is miserable, the waiters make doomsday faces and barely speak. An order takes forever and the food has no taste. Pity about the very nice restaurant. In order to find a nice end to my journey, I went to the Epoca Espresso Bar (https://www.facebook.com/weare.epoca/). The coffee here is certainly one of the best in the city and the staff well trained.
Four days Cartagena on New Year’s Eve, my expectations were exceeded. I can recommend this experience during your holidays in Colombia with the best of my conscience.
Pelecanus Travel Colombia
Blog Frank Spitzer