I arrived into Cartagena without too much difficulty. The shuttle didn’t drop me off at the door of my hostel per say but close enough for a short walk. I landed at the Mamallena Hostel for the night. This was the first hostel
that offered air-conditioned rooms. And it was a welcomed luxury given how hot Cartagena was. It was only a couple of degrees hotter than Cali, but it had much more humidity, so i felt way more uncomfortable. The hostel was
very deep but not very wide. Luckily I was staying in the back of the hostel, which was far from the street noise. Unfortunately, the kitchen was fairly small and cramped, so it wasn’t a pleasant experience to cook there.
I also stayed in Media Luna, which is across the street from mamallena. However, the hostel had a completely different vibe. There was a very small pool, where people more or less just wade in. And the rooms were a bit bigger.
However, the room I stayed in did not have air conditioning, and what was worse, was the doors to the rooms would not stay closed. So light and noise would not be blocked. What I really liked about the rooms was the beds were made from concrete; so having people move about was not an issue while sleeping. Additionally, The kitchen was enormous, however the equipment such as the pot and pans and knifes were a bit lacking. The people in the hostel seemed to be friendlier in Media Luna but it could be just because there was more people in the hostel. Media Luna does host a party on Wednesdays, which about half the people that go are travelers and locals. If you are trying to find good sleep though, Media Luna is not the place to look for it. In particular on the weekends the club upstairs plays really loud music, which is audible in the rooms and makes it difficult to sleep.
While in Cartagena, one of the best things to do is to explore the old town of Cartagena. The walls of the city enclose the old colonial buildings. It was nice to walk along the wall observing the architectures and colors of some of the buildings. There is a restaurant/bar called Cafe Del Mar which is situated on the wall, and is suppose to have a great view of the sunset. However, every time I’ve been there it was a cloudy sunset, so it was never as spectacular as it could have been. Cafe Del Mar also isn’t the cheapest place to drink either, a Mojito cost more than it would in the U.S. But it’s a local favorite of anyone visiting. While exploring the old town, I also got to visit the modern art museum and the palace of Spanish Inquisition. Outside of the old town, I also visited the Castillo San Felipe. While exploring the catacombs, I got lost and probably went somewhere I should not have been. There were a few areas I needed to use my phone light to find the path, but I ended up in some knee high water and I had to turn around.
Outside of the city, I went to the Mud Volcano. It was definitely a very tourist experience. It felt as though you’re on a tourist conveyor built. But the feeling of being suspended in the mud was definitely worthwhile. You could easily float on your back and even stand up vertical in the mud. It helped to keep the balance when you spread out your arms and feet to create more area to float.
Additionally, I went to Playa Blanca. Instead of taking the normal boat ride. I road the bus and took a moto-taxi the rest of the way. The cost was roughly 2Mil for the bus and 10 Mil for the moto-taxi. On the return trip, I did take the boat back for 15Mil. This is in contrast for about 50Mil to take the boat both ways. I stayed overnight on the beach in a hammock for 10Mil per night. Though traveling alone, a single night out on the beach was enough for me. I did wish I had someone along with me to enjoy the awesome beach I stayed at though.