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Going Local in Cartagena Colombia

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Sherry Ott traveled to Cartagena de India, Colombia and her highlights are part of AFAR's partnership with The United States Tour Operator Association (USTOA), whose members provide travelers with unparalleled access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom. Her focus was to gain local experiences in Cartagena going beyond just the Old City Walls. See more about Sherry’s trip at the USTOA blog - http://ustoa.com/blog/category/afar/
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Cra. 7 #34-23, Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
It was a hot steamy night as I walked up the stairs into the dance studio and startled the tall man lounging on a metal chair. He didn’t speak English, but that was ok as all I had to do was follow his lead. He turned on the overhead fans, looked...
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Chino, Cartagena, Cartagena Province, Bolivar, Colombia
We had all the usual warnings from locals – beware of pick pockets, don’t flash your phone around, and take off all of your jewelry before you go. I find the best places to visit in the world are the ones that people give you warnings about –...
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Baluarte de Santo Domingo., Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
For a great place to start the evening in Cartagena, head to Café del Mar, located directly on the wall in the Old City. It's a favorite for lounging and watching the sunset.
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Cartagena Province, Bolivar, Colombia
You’ve heard of food carts that you need to try when traveling – but what about a book cart? You’ll find a library on wheels in the beautiful Parque de Bolivar in Cartagena. Martin Murillo will be pushing the cart and he’s hard to miss. Dressed in...
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Cartagena, Cartagena Province, Bolivar, Colombia
The breeze gently rocked the hammock back and forth. As I lay there with my eyes closed swaying, I could hear the familiar sound of drum music wafting through the little village of Manzanillo. I imagine a giant speaker somewhere in the town center...
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Cra. 4, Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
It was as if the Pied Piper were luring in the dancers around the Old City late into the night as the restaurants closed. I followed the beat of the music around the corner of Plaza de la Coches and found a lively colorful scene with women moving...
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Calle 37, Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
If you are anything like me, then you love to read a map when you arrive in a new destination. And it’s even better, when you can get an aerial view of a place to help you understand where you’ve been and where you are yet to go. Be sure not to...
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Cra. 7, Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
Your eyes are immediately drawn to the bright primary colored dresses peppered around the Old City of Cartagena – the customary attire of Palenquera women. They sit in the shadow of the old city walls in Cartagena selling fruit which is...
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Calle 37, Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
Charms hang from the wall enclosed in glass because they are special – each representing a miracle come true. Every Feb 2nd the miraculous power of Convento de la Popa is celebrated through an elaborate procession up the tallest point in...
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Cra. 17, Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
Castillo San Felipe de Barajas is not and was never a castle. It was actually a fort masquerading as a castle. With 53 canons and massive walls – this was not a place for fairy tales. The fort, which took 104 years to build, was created to defend...
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Cartagena, Cartagena Province, Bolivar, Colombia
I got a real feel for local life in Cartagena by having dinner with a local family at their home. I was welcomed with open arms by the Perez Cuesta family in a suburb of Cartagena. The music was playing, the plantanos were frying up, and we all...
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A short boat trip from Cartagena will deposit you on the beach surrounded by turquoise water. A great chance to get away from the city bustle and enjoy a slice of paradise. You can lay on the beach sipping drinks, snorkel, kayak, play beach...
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Getsemani, Cartagena, Cartagena Province, Bolivar, Colombia
If you want to get away from the tourist shops and cleaner side of Cartagena - then you'll have to leave the old central city walls and take a walk. Head across the main street to Getsemani - a diverse neighborhood where locals still outnumber...