The New Orleans of Colombia

Only two things went wrong on our first trip together during our 8 days in Colombia, South America:

  1. mice
  2. men

Mice and men made for more entertaining stories on this trip.  I am getting to the mice on this post; bad men will come into play in Medellin.

Let’s begin with what went right, choosing to visit the musical, colorful, coastal town of Cartagena was a fantastic idea.  We flew into Bogota and flew right back up to the Caribbean coast of Colombia to check out Cartagena for a few days.  I don’t know where to begin from here, we just explored and ate gelato every chance we got.  There were two restaurants that stood out to me: Cuba 1940’s (I will explain later with pictures) and Demente Tapas Bar (the best al fresco atmosphere, small plates, and cocktails).  Our favorite gelateria spot was Gelateria Tramonte.  I will never forget the look on Cyrus’s face when he went in for a big lick of his anticipated gelato just as it plopped off the cone onto the ground–what a sad moment.  No worries, I immediately made it better and went back up for the replacement cone.  I also can’t leave out how delicious the plantains and coconut rice were, not only in Cartagena.

We discovered Cafe San Alberto–the coffee temple!–upon arrival.  This place made one of the fanciest and tastiest coffees I have ever cupped my hands around, and had the most charming atmosphere and quaint little loft.  I normally don’t even like Colombian beans (I thought), but I will give them another chance after this experience.  I am still regretting not buying a big bag of beans to take home and continue to enjoy.  Why oh why did I not take beans on the fly?

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Check out their menu, they even draw the options out for you!IMG_2767IMG_2768IMG_2769IMG_2773

The village part of Cartagena surrounding our Airbnb, loaded with gelaterias

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We decided to stay an extra night but not in our lovely Airbnb in the heart of Cartagena, but on this day we took a “launcha” boat out to our unknown accommodation to spend a night in Playa Blanca.  We ventured out to the island with all bags in tow on a mission to find a hut.  We chose the first enticing, friendly hut we saw with alluring hammocks and coconut drinks–Hostal (the Spanish spelling for hostel) Brenely.  A room right on the beach complete with a balcony and the most beautiful view of the tranquil blue sea was offered for a very small price.  We had the whole day ahead of us to walk up and down the beach to find which (hostel) restaurant had the best coconut drinks, coconut rice and plantains, relaxed with our books on the sand, and conversed with some fellow travelers from the states.

I have never experienced anything like this before, especially what comes next: our visitors in the middle of the night.  We were awakened by some startling thumps on our hut roof and some shuffling noises enough to make us almost jump out of our pjs.  This happened a couple times before the gigantic mice (perhaps beach rats?) were practically joining us in the ragged old sheets.  They were crawling up the side of the bed, the side of the wall, and around the top of the ceiling–at least two of them!  I think we both scared them off with our shrieks of surprise after Cyrus pulled the old spotlight trick.

Beautiful sunsets over the sea, island cuisine, mice in our bed, and the amusing launcha rides–almost throwing us out of the boat in between soaking most of the passengers–made for amazing memories on the Cartagena and Playa Blanca adventure.IMG_2820IMG_2825IMG_2823

This is our beach “hostal”.  The room in the far corner of the balcony was ours situated right next to a nice and very chill lady couple from California that has been staying here on the island for days.IMG_2822IMG_2821IMG_2830IMG_2865IMG_2866IMG_2836There is happy Cyrus trying to shield himself from the cold sea spray and the strong sun beams on the launcha ride back to Cartagena.IMG_2837

We took one last stroll before catching the cab back to the airport for our evening flight to Medellin.  While flaneuring the town, we ran into a nice tourist that suggested we try Cuba 1940’s to soak our feet and eat, what!?  What a fabulous suggestion!  This restaurant in the cutest part of Cartagena is located in the San Diego district (with less tricks turning on the streets) in the most popular town square for the ritzier folk.  We had a wonderful Cuban lunch with mojitos and espresso while soaking our sunburned legs in the cold little soaking pool IN THE RESTAURANT!!  This was the perfect ending to our trip to the coast of Colombia.  On to the next Colombian city-

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