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Colorful Colonial Cartagena Awaits You

Dear Luke and Leia,

Guys, you are 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

 

Dan

Written by Dan

Professional photographer specializing in street, food and travel shots at As We Saw It travel blog. Enjoys catching children at play, showing their innocence in every situation … we all can learn that, to be content with what our Father in heaven has provided. Photography is unique in that it captures light in all forms, and since the Bible says YHVH (God) is light, photography captures Him in many forms.

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20 thoughts on “Colorful Colonial Cartagena Awaits You

  1. 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. 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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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. 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…

    1. 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. 😉

    1. 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.

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