Tue 3rd Apr
An early start to finish packing, say goodbye to my hosts and get to the airport. Check in process much smoother this time and I’m back in Cartagena for around 12.
Check in again to my hostel here and head out for a spot of lunch…was brave and tried the fish in coconut milk once I’d ensured it didn’t come with bones, it’s head or tail!
I pop to say hello to Maria and we make plans for later leaving me free to properly explore Getsemani – the area of Cartagena I’m staying in and predominantly where the majority of hostels are based.
Getsemani used to be a kind of dodgy neighbourhood, lived in by the lower classes and servants to those in the rich Centro. Known for prostitution, drugs and violence but has since undergone a massive change over the last decade or so to become an artistic hotspot, full of restaurants, bars and travellers – it’s now one of the coolest barrios in town.
Getsemani, unlike it’s wealthy neighbour of the old town, is much more hip and edgy. It is still full of colonial buildings but all are much more bolder, brighter and vibrant.
This part of town all focuses around Trinidad Square it’s main feature marked by a big yellow church
and surrounded by bars, food vendors and eateries.
This is the central hub of the place where people flock to at night, drinking beer and watching local musicians.
There’s a maze of streets off of here and Getsemani is perfect for just wandering around soaking up the culture and diversity. It has a great Caribbean vibe to it and many a happy friendly local who would stop to say hola, where u from!
Getsemani is home to the famous salsa club Cafe Havana but with a 30,000 entry fee, I never made it here.
Besides the vibrant buildings in Getsemani, there’s a lot more colour on offer in the way of its graffiti lined streets which represents the cultural diversity and Caribbean vibe of the the place.
After a few hours wandering here, I head to Centenario Park with the famous yellow walls and entrances.
It marks 100 years of independence but is itself now over 100 years old. One side is called the library – full of little stalls selling books.
From here you cross the road to the Click Tower and opposite you get amazing views out to Bocagrande.
I meet Maria and he head into the old town. The temperature is a very hot, sunny 30 plus and we go to check out some posh hotels with pools where u can get say passes. We check out the Movich and have a drink in it’s rooftop bar.
For 200,000 you can spend the day here but as it’s quite small you have to ring by 0900 on the day you want to go to see if they can fit you in.
We then head to to very grand Sofitel. They have removed the offer I read about as it’s high season. You can have access to the pool by buying a spa package but that cost a whopping 465,000!!!
As Maria is staying in a dorm, I invite her round to mine for some wine (find an Ara and buy from there…it ranges from 25-35,000 in other shops but only 15,000 in Ara!). We chat and listen to some tunes before taking the rest with us and heading to Plaza de los Coches outside the British pub (commonly known as The Clock Pub)
and then head to a different salsa bar near here but I’ve no idea of the name – I’ll update when I find out. As it’s just a bar not a club, it’s free to get in.