The first major city that we've visited in Colombia is Cartagena. It proved to be quite the task to make our way there. When we hit the coast of Colombia after our sailing trip, our captain left us in a small fishing village called Capurgana. It was very lovely and relaxed with the only means of transport being horsedrawn carriages. We spent a couple of days here waiting to catch a boat (the village is accessed by boat only) up the coast.
When we were finally able to head North, it was via a very bumpy 2 hour ride in a speedboat with people so crammed in that you couldn't scratch your nose if you wanted to. The boat dropped us in another town called Turbo and we were greeted at the docks by dozens of guys trying to sell us rides to the next city where we could finally catch a bus to Cartagena. It was madness being mobbed like that and when we told them we would just make our way to the bus station, they continued to follow us down the street. When we stopped to ask a lady where the bus station was, they all started shouting at her not to tell us. Jared and I had to make ourselves a human shield in front of her so she wouldn't be intimidated.
We bought tickets for a shuttle at the bus station but what they didn't tell us was that we would be sitting in the back of a pickup truck for hours cruising down dirt roads in the middle of nowhere. Our driver was a madman and we ended up with a flat but thankfully, it was just outside of the city that we were headed to.
After two long days of travel, we finally arrived in Cartagena. The city itself is massive and very spread out. We headed to the Old City which is surrounded by a wall that was built a few hundred years ago to ward off pirates.
The Old City is absolutely beautiful and almost seemed as though you might be somewhere in Europe. Most of the buildings have stood the test of time and it was great to spend a couple of days just wandering around.
There is a huge fort in the centre of the city as well that was amazing to visit. It's unbelievable that men used to live and fight in this monster.
We stayed in an area just outside of the Old City called Getsemaní which definitely had the local flavor of the city without the glam of the Old City.
Cartagena was a great intro to Colombia. However, Colombia definitely lived up to its reputation for drugs. In our first hour in the city, we were offered cocaine on the street three different times by guys with names like 'the Wizard' and 'Johnny Walker'. Outrageous!