Colombia's gateway to the Caribbean. Full of flavor, characters and colorful architecture.
You see, that's what I was told. And I’m sure anybody visiting Cartagena and only staying in Getsamani, a district of Cartagena, would say.
Before you read any deeper and before I explore more into my repulsion of Cartagena, I should tell you that I was there to do business. . . illegal business.
Now, back to my distaste for Cartagena.
Yeah, all the things I mentioned above were there. . . in pockets. I know I’m not supposed to go into things with expectations; I’ve learned my lesson doing that before but Cartagena is a dump, plain and simple.
Let's start with the food.
What makes food great? What makes it shit?
Let's agree before I go further that it's a matter of perspective, and it's up to the individual to decide.
So. Nothing special. Merely some meat on 1/3 of the portion of your plate. Some shredded lettuce with a tomato on top of the other 1/3, while the other 1/3 consists of rice and beans or patacones.
Dishes that consist of variety and complexity? Yeah, they don’t exist here.
Hey, if changing your scenery and the weather makes food taste better for you . . . listen, I know I said taste is a matter of perspective but if this works for you, yeah you are an idiot.
Next up: The local characters.
Anyone who has traveled enough knows characters are a dime a dozen on the road. Let me even give more credibility to it: Any capital city or densely populated place is going to have a solid band of characters. So really, why are you paying for a flight to this toilet bowl?
Lucky for the team and I, we were in Cartagena during their Independence Day. Young man break out the oil and lather each other up. They also run up to you in the streets to paint you up. Best part is you can pay them to not hit you. For some odd reason as well, most of the young men are dressed up like women with dresses and wigs on. I was told this is to mock people of the homosexual orientation (lol catholics).
Now the colorful architecture. Yeah, they paint the buildings with that very distinct Caribbean flare, but to be honest there are better places to see that flare. From Cuba to Curacao - you can’t get a better flare and color.
So. Let's retrace our steps. The Caribbean, a band of characters, flavor and simple meals. No, you didn’t just get off The Pirates of The Caribbean ride at Disneyland, you merely visited Cartagena.
Save your cash, save your time, (i.e. Time is Money) and visit a much more happening Caribbean jewel . . . or any other city in Colombia.
Brandon is a profound Nomad currently driving his bus around South America interviewing successful outliers and early adopters. To learn more about Brandon check out his blog here and his socials here