Casa Lola in the Getsemani District of Cartagena, a modern and quaint B&B hotel was our base of operations, with a roof top pool. Breakfast was in the jungle-like outdoor dining area, a giant Nispero tree bearing its brown sweet fruit by our table.
We dined at La Cevicheria, sitting at a small table on a narrow cobblestoned street, which was just wide enough for one Kia-sized vehicle at a time to pass. We were entertained by musicians and break dancers during our meal of shrimp and squid ceviches, prepared with mint, coriander, garlic, olive oil, fish, conch, and coconut milk. Dessert was slowly cooked and sweet gooseberries coupled with French Vanilla ice cream, rum and mint.
We spent our days wandering the streets of the districts that make up Old Cartagena: Centro, San Diego, Matuna and our own Getsemani, where we admired the beautiful graffitti in nearby Plaza Trinidad, an artistically appointed location and climbed up to the top of the Wall, strolling by old cannons still in place, with Caribbean winds cooling us. This wall encircled the city starting in the 18th century, serving as a fortress against invaders.
We stumbled on entrepreneurial efforts in a small alley with rows of old men sitting at old typewriters typing up documents for their waiting customers. Two-wheeled fruit carts loaded with mangoes and the like abounded as did balcony-styled buildings similar to those we have seen in Cuba and New Orleans.
The 17th century Castello San Felipe de Barajas atop San Lazaro Hill, provided us with a warren of narrow, low ceiling tunnels, eerily lit, passing by insets, likely storage spaces for supplies and ammunition.
A "must do" is a visit to Demente, a hip bar in Trinidad Square with great drinks, good food and an off beat, expat type atmosphere.