I visited Colombia with the great guys at FTLO Travel to design an awesome group trip. Our first stop was Cartagena and here are some of the best things we did there!
Eat Inside A Women's Prison At Restaurante Interno
This restaurant is part of a women’s prison where the inmates cook and serve the food. The money from the restaurant goes towards skill workshops for the inmates and many of them go on to work at the best restaurants in Cartagena after they’re released. A great idea, delicious food and friendly people!
Wander The Streets Of The Old Town
Whenever I land in a new city I love to just wander the streets and get lost. Cartagena has some of the most beautiful and colourful streets I’ve ever seen, especially in the Old Town, and you’ll no doubt stumble upon hidden gems and it's a haven for those insta photos!
Take A Mudbath In An Active Volcano
A short drive out of Cartagena is Totumo Volcano, an active volcano which is full of warm mud that you can bathe in. It basically feels like you're floating in custard. Definitely the most unique/awkward/hilarious experience I had in Colombia. Also, there's a nice surprise after you get out the mud bath...
Explore The Vibrant Neighbourhood Of Getsemani
I only briefly got to visit Getsemani one evening when we went to Café Havana to get some salsa dancing on the go, but if I went back to Cartagena this is probably where i'd be based! It seems like a neighbourhood that's becoming super trendy, with loads of bars, street art and a good mix of visitors and locals.
Grab Coffee In Abaco Libros y Cafe
One of the cutest coffee shops in Colombia fo sho. Ábaco Libros y Café (Abacus Books and Coffee) is one of the best places to try Colombian coffee in Cartagena. If you want to feel intellectual it's also the perfect place for that too, as you can pretend you're reading a book whilst jazz plays in the background
Get Stunning Views Over Old Town At Movich Hotel
We ran here and missed sunset by a few minutes but even with the sun gone from the sky we still experienced some beaut views of Cartagena's old town. There's a pool on the roof and some delightful drinks also.
Eat On The Beach At La Perla Negra
The best food I had in Cartagena was at La Perla Negra, a restaurant that sits on the beach in La Boquilla. The floor is literally sand too and there's a couple of hammocks in the restaurant to add to the beach vibes. Next door is a drum workshop too that's definitely worth checking out!
Take A Drum Workshop In La Boquilla
You may remember I just mentioned about a drum workshop. Young musicians run drum workshops to promote their culture and raise money to help their local community. You learn some theory, get a presentation and then get to have a go yourself. It's fun and for a great cause and supports a passionate community so defo give this a go. Find more info here.
Island Hop Round The Rosario Islands
Between shooting we didn't get much time to chill, but for 5 minutes during our Rosario Islands tour I managed to escape and fanny around in the sea for a bit and it was glorious. Though it's not the clearest water, it's so warm, and that's good enough for me. We took a boat tour round to see one of Pablo Escobar's sunken planes, some pretty islands and to do some snorkelling but I think if you want more flexibility you can look to hire your own boat.
Check Out The Great Work At Cafe Stepping Stone
There are a lot of great social good projects in Cartagena, from the drum workshop, to Restaurante Interno and also this place, Cafe Stepping Stone. This Australian Social Enterprise Cafe looks to fighting inequality through inclusive employment, education and conscious consumerism. And not only that but the food is delicioso too.
Take A Day Trip To San Basilio de Palenque
San Basilio de Palenque is the first free slave town in the Americas. It's about an hour drive from Cartagena and is the one thing I'm really disappointed I didn't get to visit during my time there. Palenque was founded by Benkos Biohó, a former African king, who was sold into slavery but managed to escape the slave port of Cartagena in 1599. He formed an army of escaped slaves and helped more escape through creating an intelligence network and set up the town of Palenque (which means 'walled city'). Of the many palenques of escaped slaves that existed, San Basilio is the only one that still stands to this day and has a population of around 3,500 people. A statue of Benkos Biohó stands in the main square with his arm reaching towards Africa.
If you're interested in visiting Colombia and would like to do it with an awesome group of people check out the trip I helped design with FTLO x Live The Adventure here.
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