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Colombia – Beautiful Colors of Cartagena

Stunning pink walls with light blue doors in Cartagena and Tijana
Dress Kalita
Tijana in beautiful Cartagena. Look at these colors!

Cartagena, Colombia was a spontaneous decision for a travel destination. I have a list of places I want to visit and I hadn’t put much thought into Cartagena. Oh, what a wonderful surprise it was! The winter months have lots to offer from the abundance of warm weather while conveniently located four hours away from North America in the Caribbean Coast.

The intoxicating beauty of the early morning in Cartagena.

The Colors of Cartagena

Cartagena, Colombia is a historic city of superb beauty lying within centuries-old colonial stone walls. Cartagena’s Old Town is a Unesco World Heritage Site and so colorful, charming and bursting at the seams with fabulous Latin music. With each step, you find a little wonder. Without a doubt, the best part of travel is immersing yourself in the local culture and the very welcoming Colombian people. It’s exhilarating to see the world with different eyes. Fellow travelers carry many interesting stories as well. It was always a delight to have interesting conversations with warm people from Cartagena and travelers alike.

A young girl walks to school in front of bright yellow, brick, and blue colored walls in Cartagena
Amazing colors of Cartagena de Indias. Photo by Tijana.


Bright purple walls with blue window fixtures in Colombia

Kalita dress
Purple dream. Cartagena. Walled city.


Getsemani beautiful facade and graffiti
Another charming part of the city – Getsemani is full of fabulous graffiti. Photo by Tijana.


Colorful Cartagena
Addicted to those colors of Cartagena.


Facade in Cartegena filled with history.
Whimsical facade in Cartagena. Photo by Tijana.





Land of Botero

You cannot imagine Colombia without Botero. Even though most of his works are in Medellin and Bogota museums, there are few delights to enjoy in Cartagena and to discover the other Colombian artists.

Botero - La Gordita in Colombia
Botero – La Gorda Gertrudis.
Plaza de Santo Domingo, Cartagena, Colombia. Photo by Tijana.


Fernando Botero is a Colombian artist with a penchant for voluminous characters and an explosive color palette. He is known for his signature style, known as “Boterismo”, that depicts people and figures in large, exaggerated volumes. Moreover, his work has been used to represent political criticism or humor depending on the piece. 

Born in Medellin, Botero is one of the most recognized living artists from Latin America. He came to prominence when he won first prize at the Salón de Artistas Colombianos in 1958.

OBISPO by Fernando Botero
Fernando Botero. OBISPO, 1982. NH Galeria. Photo by Tijana.

Modern Architecture in Cartagena

Plaza de La Serrezuela in Cartagena

Dress Kalita
Rooftops of Cartagena. This marvelous building was truly impressive.


The old Theatre Circus or Plaza de La Serrezuela is nestled in the heart of Cartagena’s historic San Diego neighborhood. Likewise, the plaza has been completely refurbished and given a new life as Cartagena’s cultural, commercial, entertainment, and gastronomic center. From a former bullfighting arena into this fabulous architecture, it’s nothing short of an amazing transformation.

The majestic Plaza de La Serrezuela has been completely reborn as a cultural space that can comfortably seat 1,900 people. Additionally, the place is a magnificent backdrop for cultural and artistic events.

Theatre Circus in Colombia,  La Serrezuela.
La Serrezuela. Photo by Tijana.




Art in Cartagena

Edgar Negret’s “Navegante” in Cartagena
Here, you can see Edgar Negret’s “Navegante” sculpture. Behind, on the wall is the very powerful work by Ruby Rumie. NH Gallery. Photo by Tijana.

Land of Gabriel Garcia Marques

I am a huge fan and an avid reader of Gabriel Garcia Marques. There was something so special in finding a small charming bookstore Abaco Libros y Cafe, getting Markes and reading the book in Colombia. I felt like I was in Macondo. Sometimes, some small moments in life are truly glorious. This was one of them.

Cartagena beautiful decorative interiors
Stunning Cartagena interiors. Photo by Tijana.


Wedding procession in Colombia with dancers in white dresses
Wedding procession in Cartagena. Absolutely beautiful, and the live music was amazing.
Photo by Tijana.


Colombian woman in a bright yellow, red, and blue dress
Beautiful Palenquera Colombian woman. Palenqueras are fruit seller women originating from Palenque de San Basilio. In the past, they would walk every day from their village to sell fruit in hand-woven baskets on the streets of Cartagena. Their brightly colored dresses made them one of the most photographed icons of Cartagena.
Photo by Tijana.


“It was enough for me to take a step inside the wall to see it in all its greatness in the resplendant light of six o’clock in the afternoon, and I could not suppress the feeling of being born again.”

Gabriel Garcia Marques



An Insiders Guide to Cartagena, Colombia

Where to Stay

Casa la Fe – Yosh from the hotel was amazingly helpful and simply wonderful with all the travel arrangements. Undoubtedly, he truly had shown me the legendary Colombian hospitality. It’s a charming place in the prime location in The Historic Walled City. To illustrate, I had a beautiful balcony looking at the square and enjoyed how the city wakes up each morning. Ask for the room with a balcony, there are only two balcony rooms that are facing little square.

Casa la Fe in Colombia
Cute little rooftop pool at Casa la Fe. Photo by Tijana.



Airbnb has amazing places in Cartagena, Colombia. I stayed in a stylish loft with a great balcony by the Clock Tower and it was simply spectacular. Without a doubt, the best area to stay in Cartagena is The Historic Walled City.

The colorful streets of Cartagena

Kalita dress
My street. Loving the early mornings when the city wakes up.


Airbnb in Cartagena
Lovely Airbnb with a local flair. It has an amazing balcony with incredible views of the neighborhood. Photo by Tijana.

Where to Eat and Drink

Epoca Espresso Bar – Artisan Coffee

Cafe Epoca Cartagena
Arepa and the amazing Colombian Chemex coffee at the Epoca. Photo by Tijana.

The Art of Coffee

Of course, Colombia would not be Colombia without its world-renowned coffee. Within all of Cartagena, Epoca was the best coffee I found. Undoubtedly, it’s designed as a place for the art of coffee and connoisseurs. The staff is so friendly and helpful to educate about the mysteries of coffee and its immaculate preparation. Everything that I tried, and I tried many different coffees, were simply amazing. I checked both locations but went more often to the Arzobispado location as it was closer to my Airbnb.

La Cevicheria

You will find very fresh ceviches in this charming restaurant. To find it, it’s in the Old Town and surrounded by lovely streets. Not surprisingly, it was Anthony Bourdain’s favorite in Cartagena. It has also a laid back, fun vibe.

Restaurante Bar La Estrella

Restaurante Bar La Estrella in Colombia

Kalita dress
This was one of the authentic local restaurants that I loved. Excellent food!


This place has so much charm, local vibe, and a delicious fish fillet. I went to a hairstylist before and got this glamorous Colombian hairstyle. There is always great music, nice staff, and tasty food. They serve lunch only – the rest of the day it’s a place for a drink.

La Vieja Guardia

La Veija Guardia in Colombia
Traditional Colombian chicken rice dish and lulo juice
Delicious food. It was chicken with traditional rice, plantains, and a tasty salad. Also, a must-try is fresh local lulo juice. Photo by Tijana.

Dona Lola at Getsemani

Octopus dish at Dona Lola at Getsemani in Cartagena
Charming and sophisticated local cuisine and Spanish tapas. This was a very delicious octopus dish. Dona Lola is a fancy place in a lively neighborhood. Dona Lola has an upscale ambiance and service, highly recommended.
Photo by Tijana.


Prispri

Prispri bakery in Colombia
Prispri bakery, restaurant and cafe – so charming and everything is delicious. Overall, great atmosphere. Perfect for lunch or brunch. They make their own pastries as well.
Photo by Tijana.

Cafe de la Mañana

Waitress at Cafe de la Mañana
This is like something from the Marques story. I loved this little place. Wonderful coffee and lunch plates. My lovely waitress was cooling herself with a fan on a hot day. Photo by Tijana.

Alquimico

Alquiminco is a swanky restaurant and bar with a gorgeous rooftop and amazing artisan cocktails. For one thing, they have delicious small dishes and beautiful modern design. Not surprisingly, I ended up going there many times as it was just a minute away from where I was staying. It is a good idea to have a reservation. Highly recommended.

Pezcateria

Street Food – Arepas

Street vendors at Walled City have a secret and tasteful receipts with some amazing arepas. I loved to have a quick bite before or after my Spanish classes. Do try, it’s delicious and very authentic. Grab a local corozo juice and you’re all set.

What to See

The Old Town- Walled City

Cartagena is best explored in the foot, without a plan. The streets are like a colorful maze – depending on your position you can see a street in two completely different ways. Altogether, it was very beautiful to explore and those charming colorful houses stole my heart. Another wonderful suggestion is to explore the rooftops of Cartagena. They are universe on their own with a great breeze at sunset. Simply magical. Just walk around and explore.

Explore also the Graphiti of Getsemani. The neighborhood of Getsemani is outside the inner walled town but is still part of the Old Town of Cartagena. The atmosphere is bohemian and visit also local gathering place at the Plaza Trinidad.

Beaches of the Rosario Islands

Beaches in Colombia - Rosario Islands
The color of water really looks like this. It never ceases to amaze me. Photo by Tijana.


The Rosario Islands are an archipelago of 27 spectacular coral islands. The white sandy beaches of the islands and the crystal-clear blue water will definitely take you to another world. The islands are also considered part of the national park that is protected by Colombia’s national park system for its unique coral reefs and marine organisms. The best time to visit is during the dry season from December to March. There are so many to choose from to go for a day trip and relax. There is something so lovely to go by boat and land on a beautiful island.

San Rosario Island Beaches in Colombia
Beautiful Rosario Island Beaches. Colombia. Photo by Tijana


Boca Grande

Boca Grande beach in Colombia
Boca Grande before sunset. It is the peninsula with modern high rises and beaches.
Photo by Tijana.


Art Museum – Museo de Arte Moderno

The Museum of Modern Art is located within an old customs house in Plaza San Pedro Claver. The museum contains pieces of art from a variety of artists from around the world, as well as pieces from special exhibitions and collections. Since 1959, the museum has a large collection of works from Colombian artist Darío Morales. Furthermore, the museum houses temporary and permanent pieces, many of which are Caribbean influenced.

Museo de Arte Moderno Colombia
La Tierra exhibition at the Museo de Arte Moderno.
Photo by Tijana.

NH Galeria

The first-class gallery in Cartagena, with a location in New York as well. They even had Botero! Also, they maintain a wonderfully curated collection of local and international artists. For art lovers, this is a must-see gallery.

Life is not what one lived, but rather what one remembers, and how it is remembered to tell the tale.

Gabriel Garcia Marques

What to Do

Learn Spanish

I took Spanish lessons for a week, 4 hours a day, at Toucan Spanish School in Cartagena, Colombia. They have private lessons or small group lessons. Isabel was my teacher and I highly recommend her. The school is situated in a lovely turquoise building at a very charming part of the old town. During the mornings, it was a joy to get there by choosing new streets to discover along the way.

Learn to Dance

I highly recommend booking Secret Roofs Dancing Class on a Secret Rooftop experience Airbnb. It’s in a private home rooftop with incredible dance instructors. Altogether, we had tons of fun learning 4 dances in 3 hours – the salsa, bachata, merengue, and champeta. All in all, I really loved the bachata and merengue. The music was fabulous, the location is amazing, and you will have an unexpected and unforgettable time.

I became addicted to dance and took also dance classes at Crazy Salsa dance school. It was also so excellent and energizing. I loved every second of it. My instructor Enrique was amazing.

Maybe Shop?

There are way too many tempting stores in Cartagena if you’re into unique designs. Of course, I had to restrain myself and it was difficult. However, I got an amazing wide-brimmed hat that came in handy on hot and sunny days.

Colombian design - lovely purses
Some tempting Colombian designs. Photo by Tijana.


How to Get There 

Delta Airlines has a direct connection from Atlanta to Cartagena, Colombia. If you’re interested, then it’s just a bit over a 4-hour flight.

More on Instagram

You can see more images and videos from this trip on Instagram and in my Instagram stories

Colombia
Lots of lovely details are all over Cartagena. Photo by Tijana.

Where is It?

Center map

16 comments

  • AffiliateLabz

    Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂

    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      Thank you so much. I am glad that you have enjoyed it. Colombia is a fascinating place. More trips and fantastic art coming soon.

  • svetislav

    The photos are masterful. The impression is that I am there personally. Text tempting . In a word enjoyment.

    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      Thank you so much Svetislav. I am so happy to her your kind comment and that you enjoyed it. Do share if you find the ones that would enjoy it as you do. I so much appreciate that it brought you some lovely travel through beautiful Colombia.

  • Debra

    Looks like a very fun time! I’ve been looking for English-speaking remote beach locations with direct flights from Atlanta.

    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      I am so glad that it is helpful for you Debra. Take a direct flight, and in Cartagena, you will have many choices on Islas de Rosario. The week is ok. you can choose also to stay at some small island
      s for a few days. they are tiny, many you can walk all around in 30 minutes or hour. it is not far from Cartagena. Very charming.

  • Kail

    Beautiful. I loved the colours and the descriptions. You did a whole lot of fun, interesting, and productive activities!

    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      Thank you so much for this lovely comment! It was amazing, fun and Cartagena very special place. I am glad that you enjoyed reading. Much love.

  • Charles McNair

    You do a very good job capturing the spirit of Cartagena, T. This could be an online magazine article for any travel magazine. Bravo. c

    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      Oh, I am so glad that you enjoyed it and that was such a great feedback. It makes me so happy when my readers and fellow art and travel lovers find a bit of inspiration. We sure need it these days. Lovely to hear from you. Thank you.

  • ปั้มไลค์

    Like!! I blog frequently and I really thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest.

    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      Thank you so much! I am glad that you enjoyed Cartagena.

  • svetislav

    everything … everything … but the spiritual wealth gathered through travel … there is no price !

    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      So true. Experiences become an important part of us and form us. thank you so much for this beautiful comment. made my day. I miss traveling so much now. I am dreaming awake every day about it. And the next destination.

  • Galen Funaro

    I could not refrain from commenting. Very well written!

    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      Thank you – I am so glad that you enjoyed it. Colombia is marvelous, and Cartagena has such a rich history.

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