Up early, today is the day we head back to the old city and take a Hop-on Hop-off tour to see a bit more of the area. We walked the 2km to town and waited for the bus to come by as we were early. A local fellow was very helpful and pointed us in the correct direction of the bus stop. He waiting with us for over 20 minutes to make sure we didn’t miss it – so very kind and thoughtful!
The bus was a few minutes late, but it did come and we were very happy to sit in the lower air conditioned deck to cool off! We were pleasantly surprised to discover that the fee covered 48 hours, so we can use the bus tomorrow as well. Once we cooled down, we went up top to enjoy a better few and the ocean breeze. The tour was about an hour and a half and covered;
- La Ciudad Vieja (Centro Historico) the old walled city
- Bocagrande – the main commercial, shopping and hotel zone very much like Waikiki
- El Laguito – an exclusive neighbourhood with high end hotels and condos
- Getsemani – a popular shopping, restaurant and club area – they say this area never sleeps
- Manga – once covered in Mango trees, the well to do colonials moved to this area and named it Manga. It is still one of the exclusive neighbourhoods of Cartagena.
- Castillo de San Felipe
We always like to tour around once, and on the second go around, we got off at a stop we want to explore more. Today’s choice is the Torre de Reloj or the Clock Tower. First order, lunch. We stopped an official looking person and asked where was the best restaurant for lunch. Without hesitation he said Acciones de Gracias which is right around the corner. It was just what we were looking for, not a North American tourist in sight, mostly locals and the place was full. I ordered off the menu and Fero did his traditional “I’ll have what he/she is having”. The food was fantastic and accompanied with limonada natural (fresh squeezed limes, water & sugar), our lunch was complete.
Fully satisfied, we wandered the many streets of the old city until we were ready to head back. Once back at the hotel, we popped across the road to the beach (no easy feat either as I swear the cars speed up when they see tourists crossing!). The sun sets before 6:00pm, so we retire to our room for happy hour and a bite to eat. No disco dancing for us! 😄
Jan 17, 2017
Another gorgeous day dawns and we head back to town for Day Two of Hop-on, Hop-off. Today doesn’t seem as busy and the bus is right on schedule. We again do a complete tour and when in view of the port we see there are three huge Cruiseships in, and from this point, the traffic grinds to a halt. An additional 6000+ tourists have flooded the small streets of Cartagena and we are happy we have chosen to head for the beach on the opposite side of the city.
It’s lunch time so we find a ‘carpa’ (tent cover) & chairs, and head to one of the beach restaurants for a light lunch. The balance of the afternoon was spent on the beach fending off the vendors (well most of them). Fero purchased sunglasses and I purchased a beach cover up. The barrage of vendors selling everything from fresh pineapple (large chunks were hacked off by a ‘Carmen Miranda’ lookalike wielding a huge knife), beer in coolers, foot massage, to musicians serenading, was finally more than we could bear, so we hopped back on the bus and back to the hotel.
Another quiet evening watching the sunset and heading to bed early.