I love who I became in Cartagena. The heat forced me to slow down a little, which was a much needed change of pace from my usual go, go, go, but it was more than that. Cartagena delights the senses in a way that requires you to be in the moment, enjoying what is right in front of you.
The short drive from the airport to the Walled City treats you to a peaceful view of the Caribbean coast. The popular Walled City is the older part of Cartagena surrounded by las murallas (walls) that were originally built to protect the city. It is hard not to feel protected when strolling through this area as there is a special kind of coziness created by the narrow streets and brightly coloured buildings. There seems to be a subtle background music that will have you happily swaying as you tour the city on foot, which I believe is the best way to enjoy Cartagena. I loved the taste and smell of the street food so much that I am dedicating an entire post to it (coming soon!), but street food isn’t the only thing to eat in Cartagena. Check out my three favourite places to fill your belly:
- La Mulata. This restaurant, located in the Walled City, offers a true taste of the local food with big portions for a reasonable price. As a seafood lover, I had fish but there are plenty of other options. No matter what you choose to eat, wash it down with a limonada (lemonade), which is the best in the city (and I drank them everywhere!). As a bonus, there is a rare air conditioned section in the back to help you escape the afternoon heat.
- ChocoMuseo. Also located in the Walled City, the chocolate museum is a must stop. Unlike other museums though, the artifacts are not kept behind protective glass – chocolate is out for you to sample. I recommend doing one of the workshops where you learn about chocolate and have a hand at making some delicious treats. While you wait for your chocolate to harden (yes, you get to take home what you make if it lasts that long!), sit back and enjoy a chocolate frio (delicious iced chocolate drink) at the café.
- Café del Mural. This is the place to get a coffee. Located in the cool Getsemani neighbourhood, Café del Mural has a really fun menu with so many options that you will want to make multiple trips. No time to visit the coffee region in Colombia? Make a stop here to have your coffee experience.