Until Carson is old enough to ask, I don’t do parties for his Birthday, we travel instead. So, for his birthday this year, we hit Carson’s 10th Country with our visit to Cartagena, Colombia.
Since I must pay for two tickets because of Carson’s age, I don’t discriminate against any airlines. I found a ticket on Spirit Airlines from DFW to CTG for $590 total for two people. But here’s a trick, if you got to the airport to book your ticket, the passenger usage fee is voided. So, I ended up only paying $400 total for the both of us.
As much as I wanted to book a dope AirBnB in Cartagena, being that this trip was for Carsons birthday , I found a resort with thing specifically dedicated to kids.
I booked us at the Corales De Indias Resort for 4 nights for the price of $200 USD total. The hotel is 7 minutes from the airport and 10 minutes from the famous walled city.
The hotel has 3 pools and 3 jacuzzis. One of the pools is specifically for kids, featuring a playground in the water. The water wasn’t too deep, so Carson was able to move around on his own while I watched from the side.
The hotel has a play ground on the property with a slide, swings, see-saw, merry go round and more.
Other features of the hotel are the fully equipped fitness center, spa, hair salon, walking trail, and sauna. There was even a shuttle that took you to the walled city 2 times a day for free.
Any time I travel, I try to find a hotel that had breakfast included. The Corales De Indias had a full breakfast buffet included in your price. The menu included things from Colombian to American. Carson’s favorite was the pancakes and fresh strawberries, while mine was the empanadas and the Colombian coffee.
Each of the rooms were ocean view with a balcony, had a mini bar, rain shower, lockbox, TV with Netflix, and more. See the room tour below.
Cab fares run $3-5 USD. It way seem like a lot, because of the conversion of American to Colombian pesos.
A fact I read is that only about 3%of the Colombian Population speak English. I had to brush up on my Spanish because of this. I would for sure have the Google Translate app downloaded just in case.
To be honest, Bocagrande beach was not the best. I would recommend taking a tour or day trip to Playa Blanca or to the Rosario Island to see some crystal clear, beautiful water.
Cartagena has a wide array of food options available. There is even a McDonalds and KFC there. The food is really good. Carson stuck to pizza, French fries and fruit for the most part.
Here are a few restaurant recommendations:
Breakfast: Epoca, Crepes and Waffles
Lunch/Dinner: Mulata, La Cevicheria, Mistura, Lilas Pomerosa
Rooftops: Movich Hotel, El Mirador, Café Del Mar
Day 1: We arrived at the airport at 1:30pm, gathered our bags and caught a cab to the hotel. After checking in, we spent the day exploring the resort, swimming at Playa Blanca Beach and eating from the hotel restaurant.
Day 2: We woke up, had breakfast downstairs, got dressed because we had a photo shoot booked in the walled city.
I booked our photoshoot for $36 using Airbnb Experiences. The photographer Laura was amazing. She was so patient with Carson, caught all the right and silly moments between him and I, took us out for some Colombian Coffee, translated for us, took us to the souvenir market and more. The photos as you can see, came out phenomenal.
The link to book her is here: https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/1201794
After our photoshoot, we spent the rest of the day exploring the walled city, eating fresh fruit and souvenir shopping. If you are near the Clock Tower during the times of 10:00 am and 4:00pm, there’s a free walking tour that takes you through the touristy spots, including Getsemani. Getsemani has some of the dopest graffiti art and murals that I have ever seen. Truly Instagram worthy.
We ended the day by swimming at the hotel.
On day three, we woke up, had breakfast, and waited to be picked up for our tour.
I booked as tour with Experience Real Cartagena, which is a black owned tour company owned by Alex Rocha and his family. The have several tours to see all the hot spots in Colombia. I booked us a cultural tour to go to Palenque to spend time with the Afro Colombians and it was the highlight of my trip.
The cost of the tour was $80. Carson was free. It included pick up and drop off, bottled water, lunch, some shots of alcohol, tasting some of the traditional snacks and a truly amazing and cultural experience.
San Basilio de Palenque is a small village nestled in the foothills of the Montes de Maria, a small mountain range to the south of Cartagena. It doesn’t appear in many guidebooks, and few tourists take the time to visit. However, this small settlement of some 4,000 people is one of the most important historical villages in the Americas and a UNESCO-declared ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’ since 2005.
While on the tour, we were able to fully insert ourselves into their culture by seeing traditional dances, learning the history, meeting the elders of the community, tasting their traditional foods, Carson even got put to work on making sweet coconut at one of the elders houses as well.
At the end of the tour, we went to lunch which was amazing, then headed back to our hotel.
If you ever come to Cartagena, you MUST book one of Experience Real Cartagena Tours.
You can find them on Instagram: @experiencerealcartagena
On Facebook or with the following link: http://experiencerealcartagena.com/
We ended the day eating and watching the sunset from Café Del Mar in the walled city.
Day 4: We woke up, ate breakfast, Carson went swimming one more time before we headed to catch our flight out.
Other things to do in Cartagena:
San Felipe Castle
Mud Bath in the Totumo Volcano
Rosario Island Trip
Go and learn the history of Emeralds
This trip was amazing and There were so many things that I didn’t see or do, that we have to go back one day soon!!!!