Despite having seen about a million colonial towns by now, we’ve heard that Cartagena is one of the more impressive and all reports have been that it’s well worth a visit. Jumping off the minibus from Taganga, we immediately see why – yes, it may well be a colonial town but there’s a definite Caribbean influence here that marks it apart from other South American cities. The multi-coloured houses are charmingly ramshackle, and residents sit out on the pavements, listening to music and watching the world go by. The sun is shining and for a city, the atmosphere is surprisingly chilled.

One of the many beautiful buildings

We’re staying in the Getsemani area of town, a popular spot with backpackers which is not quite as glamorous as the Old Town but far less western, more authentic and much better value for money. Think more white washed colonial rather than Holiday Inn. There are plenty of reasonably priced restaurants and bars in the area too, so all round, a pretty good location. As soon as we arrive, we stop off for a pizza near the hostel, bag a great balcony seat and sit watching the locals go about their day below as we More >