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Cartagena Colombia

INTRODUCTION

Cartagena de Indias is a north coast seaport. This caribbean city has developed into the core of government's efforts to improve Colombia's tourism. This city has a population of 1.2 million. Its colonial walled city is his most recognized attraction and both the city and the fortress were designated a UNESCO world Heritage Site. The "Heroic City" is one of his many nicknames and the city is also the place where the national beauty contest is held.

HISTORY

Cartagena was founded in 1533 by Spaniard Don Pedro de Heredia and was named after a port in Spain. Due to the fact that it was probably the most prosperous city in the Americas four hundred years ago, many pirates were interested in its treasures and richness. Sir Francis Drake managed to take the city and it wasn't until getting paid a high amount of money as a ramsom that he left. Nevertheless, he destroyed 1/4 of the city in the meantime. Nowadays, Cartagena's importance to Colombia's government has been reduce to his touristic attractions. The reason is that in the past two centuries, Colombia's capital Bogota, has been the center for goverment's investments and interests.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

This city is located in the north coast and has a tropical climate, therefore the weather is considerably hot. Taxi service in Cartagena is well known for taking advantage of tourists (even colombians from other cities) by overcharging them for the service. Fares for short distances shouldn't exceed 4000-5000 thousand pesos. This fact applies also for other north coast cities such as Barranquilla and Santa Marta.

ATTRACTIONS

Cartagena is a city full of history. The San Felipe Castel, the colonial walled city, Bolivar's Square or "Plaza de Bolivar", are just a few of magical historic places. Being in Cartagena, gives you the chance to visit nearby islands such as Rosario's Islands and "Tierra Bomba" where you can stay at resorts or rent a small cabin.

Cartagena's International Film Festival takes place annualy every February and March. Ultramar Music Festival is celebrated in January and is the biggest electronic music party in the country. November is also a great time to travel for local celebrations take place.

RESTAURANTS

Caribbean food finds its highest representation thanks to restaurants such as "Juan del Mar Restaurante", "Restaurante Mar de las Antillas", "El Santisimo", "El Club de Pesca", among others. If sweets are what you are craving for, go inside the walled city right to the "Portal del Dulce" where the most traditional candies are sold.

NIGHTLIFE

A proper nightlife could start with a ride on a traditional carriage throughout the city. Afterwards, nightclubs and open terraces such as "Cafe del Mar", "Leon de Baviera", "Montesacro", "La Tarzana", "Babar","Cafe Havana" is a common offer. "El Arsenal" street is where most of the places to go are located.

Among north coast cities, there is a common custom: party on a "chiva" (a traditional colombian bus pimped in oreder to serve as a rolling party. Seats, doors and windows are removed and replaced by benches so that dancing get easier and drunk people don't fall off easily.

LODGING

Where to stay won't be an issue. Holets such as "Hotel Almirante", "Capilla del Mar", "Hotel Caribe", Las Americas", "Hilton Hotel" are some of the options. Inside the walled city are two of the most exclusive and best hotel in town: Hotel Santa Clara and Hotel Santa Teresa.

If you happend to know someone local, renting and appartment is algo a great deal. A real state paradise (a huge amount of new and exclusive appartments are built every year), finding a place to rent is an easy job.

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