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Jun 10

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Colorful Colonial Cartagena Awaits You

Dear Luke and Leia,

Guys you’re going to love colorful colonial Cartagena, a walled city founded in June of 1533, where old meets new in a seamless pattern of color, warmth and beauty. Pastel buildings with stunning balconies and intricate iron works line narrow cobblestone streets full of characters and tourists alike. The entire walled city is surrounded by modern structures and over looked by a perfectly placed fort to protect all of the inhabitants.

Cartagena's skyscrapers as seen from Castillo San Felipe de Barajas on San Lazaro hill.

Cartagena’s skyscrapers as seen from Castillo San Felipe de Barajas on San Lazaro hill.

Colorful colonial Cartagena streets

The pastel buildings are witnesses to days gone by in this sun-drenched city. They offer their years of experience to the tourists and vendors scurrying the cobblestone streets. Walking along we noticed a wide variety of architectural styles in Cartagena’s narrow streets, with diverse patterns of muted color accented by detailed iron works.

Pastel colored narrow streets of Cartagena are wonderful for wandering.

Pastel colored narrow streets of Cartagena are wonderful for wandering.

Bustling tourists and local workers scrambling along the narrow streets of Cartagena.

Bustling tourists and local workers scrambling along the narrow streets of Cartagena.

Balconies and muted pastels are prominent in Cartagena's old walled city.

Balconies and muted pastels are prominent in Cartagena’s old walled city.

A horse-drawn buggy makes its way down a colorful street in Cartagena.

A horse-drawn buggy makes its way down a colorful street in Cartagena.

Balconies

I can only imagine the scenes that might have played out from the stunning balconies that watchfully overlook the walled streets of Cartagena. The intricate details in those balconies could match the details of the lives below, giving residents a front row view into the ongoing history of this fantastic city.

Brilliant shades vie for attention on balconies in Cartagena.

Brilliant shades vie for attention on balconies in Cartagena.

Intricate wooden balcony covered in flowers above a Cartagena street.

Intricate wooden balcony covered in flowers above a Cartagena street.

Enjoying the perfect Cartagena weather, this man is watching the locals while texting for a later dinner meeting.

Enjoying the perfect Cartagena weather, this man is watching the locals while texting for a later dinner meeting. Or maybe he’s watching a game.

The contrast of colors, age and beauty all captured in one place, Cartagena.

The contrast of colors, age and beauty all captured in one place, Cartagena.

Color in the streets

I was so amazed by the colors played out in the local handicrafts and art work that vendors were selling on the streets. The variety of hues and shades would only be covered in one of those proverbial Crayola crayon box that feature the full 152 colors.

Even at night the colors pop out from the streets as vendors continue to provide beautiful crafts for lucky tourists in Cartagena.

Colorful colonial Cartagena shown in its crafts available on city streets.

Just look at the color varieties of these bags in Cartagena

Artist sells her renditions of Colombian art on a street in Cartagena.

Even at night the colors pop out from the streets as vendors continue to provide beautiful crafts for lucky tourists in Cartagena.

Characters of Cartagena

The characters who walk along Cartagena’s streets are even more colorful than the city’s old buildings. The warmth and vibrancy of the locals truly brings Cartagena to life, and makes one and all want to return for more.

This beautiful Cartagenian woman skillfully carries her wares effortlessly on her head.

This beautiful Cartagenian woman skillfully carries her wares on her head. It looks so effortless!

An early morning stroll finds this man catching up on the news in Cartagena.

An early morning stroll finds this man catching up on the news.

Two very warm smiles as colorful characters are ready to enjoy some fresh fruit in the UNESCO walled city of Cartagena.

Two very warm smiles as colorful characters are ready to enjoy some fresh fruit in the UNESCO walled city of Cartagena.

Owner of a silver jewelry shop happy to see a few tourists interested in fine silver necklaces.

This silver jewelry shop owner was happy to see a few tourists interested in fine Colombian silver necklaces.

Lively nighttime

Just when I thought I had captured all that this city had to offer, the sun vacated for the day and the lights of the city took over. With the city lights in play, colorful colonial Cartagena displayed a warm and playful side that most who stay in their hotel districts would miss.

Modern Cartagena at night.

Modern Cartagena at night.

Outside cafe offering great food and a warm ambiance to all passing by in Cartagena.

Outside cafe offering great food and a warm ambiance to passersby.

Many restaurants have local entertainment for their guests in Cartagena.

Many Cartagena restaurants offer local entertainment for their guests.

Street entertainers play for tips as night-goers find Cartagena fun and exciting.

So do those on the street. Tips, anyone?

Colorful colonial Cartagena, a UNESCO walled city, should be high anyone’s travel bucket list. It scored high marks on our must-return list. Hopefully one day we can take you two there to enjoy the treasures of a wonderful colonial city. We’ll write again soon.

Love,

Nana and Pap

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Colonial Cartagena is full of colorful architecture and a UNESCO world heritage site..

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20 comments

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  1. Anda

    I didn’t realize that Cartagena is so beautiful. No wonder it a UNESCO site. I’ll have to go visit it by all means. This place is a photographer’s paradise, isn’t it? Look at all the colorful buildings and those balconies! I spotted one of Fernando Botero’s paintings (a copy for sure) on that sidewalk. Your pictures caught the street atmosphere so well.

    1. Dan

      Thanks a bunch Anda! It is a ‘photographer’s paradise’ and one must always be ready because life truly happens all around you in Cartagena.

  2. [email protected] on Tour

    Yes loved it!
    Especially those balconies – so many different styles and colours.
    [email protected] on Tour recently posted…Ngilgi Cave: the Original Margaret River Tourist AttractionMy Profile

    1. Dan

      Hi Sally, It seemed that the balconies kept getting more colorful and intricate with each passing block, almost like they were competing with each other. In the end, we won because of their spectacular display. Thank you.

  3. Michele {Malaysian Meanders}

    I first heard of Cartegena from the movie Romancing the Stone, so I must admit that it’s always seemed like a rather adventurous place to me because of that first impression. Your photos of the colorful walled city are beautiful and such a contrast to the modern skyscrapers. I think all my wares/fruit would spill to the floor if I had to rely on my head to carry them about. Thanks for this great 2nd look at a fascinating city, albeit without Kathleen Turner or Michael Douglas.

    1. Dan

      Michele, First off, thank you for your kind comments. Secondly, I want to see the photo of you in Cartagena sporting the head-dress of our local friends… We are waiting…

  4. Ahila

    Love the balconies and colourful streets that you have captured in your photos of Cartegena!

    1. Dan

      Yes Ahila, the balconies are what stood out as we strolled the streets. Have you been there yet?

  5. Lyn - A Hole in my Shoe

    Wow, that is colourful and I bet you have captured the full spectrum of each 152 crayons in your beautiful photos too.
    Lyn – A Hole in my Shoe recently posted…In search of snowMy Profile

    1. Dan

      Thank you Lyn. I sure did try to capture everything, but there is much more waiting for your lens.

  6. Jackie

    I was in Cartagena back in the latte 80s, might be time to go back.

    1. Dan

      Cool, for us we would want to visit other regions of the country.

  7. Ruth

    Gorgeous photos! I can’t wait to visit Cartagena. Colonial cities make me a bit nostalgic since it reminds me of Old San Juan.

    1. Dan

      Hi Ruth, What a comparison, yes Cartagena does remind me of old San Juan. There are so many colonial cities in the new world we have yet to explore. Guess we better get to it. 😉

  8. Stephen Garone

    I’ve never been to Colombia, but Cartagena has always intrigued me. It’s definitely the first place I’d go there. Thanks for sharing!
    Stephen Garone recently posted…Fish in a Sea of Steakhouses at Plank Seafood ProvisionsMy Profile

    1. Dan

      Thank you Stephen. By all means you must get to Cartagena. Of course, we have heard of several cities in Colombia that we want to return to the country to visit, like Bogota and Medellin.

  9. Rob+Ann (@TravelLatte.net)

    Wow! We hear a lot about what a great place Cartagena is, and this post really shows why. The colors and architecture are wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Dan

      Hi Rob & Ann, Thanks for your comments. Yes we do agree, Cartagena is a gem.

  10. Noemi of Pinay Flying High

    It looks so fun and so vibrant! I can feel the heat from the photos and also the liveliness of the whole place.
    Noemi of Pinay Flying High recently posted…Am I Unhappy?My Profile

    1. Linda

      I’m glad our photos expressed Cartagena so well, Noemi.

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