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Backpacking Colombia: Part Three (Cartagena + A Giveaway {CLOSED}!)

Backpacking Colombia: Part Three (Cartagena + A Giveaway {CLOSED}!)

***See details at the end of this post on how to enter the GPSmyCity giveaway!***

Tuesday, July 24th

Our flight to Cartagena landed around 3PM and we caught a cab to our hostel. We’re staying in the Hotel Pueblito Playa, which is only 1 block from the beach and about a 5-10 minute taxi ride to the historic walled city. 

It's ridiculously hot here (compared to where we've come from) so we dropped our bags and headed to the historic walled city for a drink at the famous Cafe Del Mar. 

I'll start by saying, Cartagena is ridiculously similar to Charleston (my hometown). The historic city center is painted in beautiful colors with colonial style buildings and gorgeous greenery everywhere. It's stunning. 

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After our drinks, we were feeling pretty good, so we jumped into a horse drawn carriage to take a tour of the city. We were told by multiple Colombians that in Cartagena, you need to haggle for everything. Michael was pretty proud that he haggled the price of our carriage tour from 80,000 COPs to 40,000 COPs. 

We rode around, taking in the city, and then headed back to our hostel for dinner at Carbon de Palo, a grill place where I had a traditional Bandeja Paisa and Michael had fish and plantains.  

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Wednesday, July 25th

We woke up early today, had a delicious breakfast prepared by the owner of the hostel, and headed to the historic walled city. 

 The hostel we stayed in is pretty famous for it's delicious breakfasts cooked by the owner of the hostel.

The hostel we stayed in is pretty famous for it's delicious breakfasts cooked by the owner of the hostel.

We decided to visit the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas (a fortress in the middle of Cartagena built in the 1500's by the Spainirds. 

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 We were able to walk through some of the underground tunnels in the fortress. 

We were able to walk through some of the underground tunnels in the fortress. 

After our trip to the fortress, we used the GPSmyCity app to take our own self-paced tour of the city!

I had already browsed the app on my phone (on wifi) prior to leaving the hostel, where I downloaded a travel article on the essential old city of Cartagena. Once I downloaded the article, I was able to access it off wifi while walking around the city!

 Here's the map of the travel article. Each green pin represents a place Michael and I walked to and learned more about using the  GPSmyCity  app.

Here's the map of the travel article. Each green pin represents a place Michael and I walked to and learned more about using the GPSmyCity app.

Our self-paced Cartagena city tour took us approximately an hour, stopping to read (you also have an option to listen to audio) all of the history and information given in the article. 

While walking along Portal de los Dulces (a street filled with vendors selling sweet treats) we even got a Cocada de Panela (a vanilla treat made of Coconut) suggested to us by the author of the travel article. 

 Portal de los Dulces. 

Portal de los Dulces. 

 Using  GPSmyCity  to learn about Palacio De La Inquisicion. 

Using GPSmyCity to learn about Palacio De La Inquisicion. 

We walked all over, seeing many sights and having a blast using the GPSmyCity app! Continue reading for a chance to win your own anuual subscription (valued at $18.99) to enjoy all GPSmyCity has to offer!

We continued walking around, seeing more and more of the city until we finally decided to head back to our hostel and then to the beach! 

And this is where we stayed until the chairs and umbrella we rented had to be returned. We swam and soaked up the sun.

One quick note about Cartagena: this is a beautiful town full of beautiful people, all of whom are trying to make a living. There are many, many tourists that visit this beachy town and there are even more street vendors trying to sell those tourists everything from hats, to jewelry, to t-shirts. These street vendors are everywhere, including on the beach and they do not mind coming right up to you, under your umbrella asking you if you want to buy their beach floaties, jewelry, fresh-caught crabs, etc. At first, I didn't mind it much but I'm not going to lie, it got annoying pretty quickly. I had to fight the battle within myself dealing with the understanding that these people are just trying to feed their babies but they're also annoying the crap out of me as I try to relax with my toes in the sand. Just know that if you're coming to Cartagena, you're going to run into street vendors, even on the beach. Just be polite, say "no, gracias" and try not to be annoyed. 

For dinner, we went to an Italian place that was a few blocks from our hotel and it was pretty great. 

Thursday, July 26th

Today is our last full day of our vacation (insert crying face emoji here)! We are taking it super easy today. We woke up, ate a great breakfast, and rolled out to the beach. We rented an umbrella and some chairs and did the damn thing. We swam, soaked in the sun, and said "no, gracias" so. many. times! But we had a blast.

Until the storm came and it started pouring. The locals then had a blast watching us traverse the flooding streets, losing our flip flops, as we made our way back to the hostel! 

For the rest of the day, we hung around in the hostel, watched telenovelas and just enjoyed the last bit of relaxation we have before we head home. 

Friday, July 27th

Today is the day that we fly back home after a month on the road, traveling and seeing two beautiful countries all on our own. 

We experienced some pretty high highs: seeing Salar de Uyuni, meeting some great new people, trying delicious new foods, spending time with each other, and trying a new travel style that we fell in love with.

We also experienced some challenging times: losing our bathing suits (thanks Michael), bus issues, and some bickering (you didn't think everything was always sunshine and rainbows, did you?) 

But overall, we loved this trip. Most definitely the best we've taken yet and we were blessed with no serious problems on this trip.  

We were talking last night about what we missed about home. Our answers: clean clothing and not having to pack and repack our backpacks every few days but other than that, we both decided that we could keep traveling and you know that's what we're going to do. 

Again, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for reading (or just looking at the pictures), thank you for opening your minds and allowing yourself to see the world in a different way. 

One of my very favorite quotes comes from Mark Twain where he says: 

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

Traveling the world opens your eyes, humbles you, connects you with others, and allows you to see that we might all be different but that we have one major thing in common: we're all human, with feelings and emotions and families and babies, trying our to live our best lives. 

Gpsmycity giveaway!

I've teamed up with GPSmyCity to offer 10 of you an annual subscription to the GPSmyCity app, allowing you to explore over 1,000 cities worldwide at your own pace!

*Remember, if you're traveling internationally, this app does not require the use of WiFi or cellular data during your tour! 

Also note: This app can be used in your hometown! If you're local to Charleston, GPSmyCity has 10 tours just for our amazing city!

How to enter:

  1. Make sure you've subscribed to my blog. You can click here to subscribe!
  2. Leave a comment on this blog post telling me where you're planning to travel to in 2018/2019!

 That's it!

Contest closes Friday, August 17th and the winners will be emailed directly notifying them of their win! 

I can't wait to hear about where you're headed in 2018/2019! 

With love,

Emily

July Reading Wrap-Up

July Reading Wrap-Up

Backpacking Colombia: Part Two (Jardin to Medellin)

Backpacking Colombia: Part Two (Jardin to Medellin)