Cartagena ain’t worth it (this does rhyme in Spanish). From the bus terminal to the center, you can see a progression: from chaos and filth, to snob and rich. And in the middle, the historic-colonial part. That part is incredibly beautiful, that’s for sure… but, overall, it’s like an incredibly hot chick with some huge mental disorders and an unbearable attitude: you cannot endure much time there.
In this case, the disorder of Cartagena was caused by an excess of tourism. In some guides they say that the prices are similar to the rest of Colombia… that’s not true. Fortunately, I will get rid of the shitty Lonely Planet soon. Everything was overpriced, and everyone was trying to jump over and suck all the blood from the naive tourist. In a way, it was the only place in ‘Locombia’ that somewhat reminded me of other country: Perú.
After looking deeply, I found a relatively cheap hostel, nicely located. It was a terrible hostel, though. The worst I’ve been into: really unclean, nothing worked, et cetera. But the owner was a nice lady, and we talked about interesting things.
I went out at night to get stressed by locals, and I strolled around. Next day, without a shower (broken) and with my intestines full (toilet broken also), I fled from Cartagena. Swiftly.
I considered going to Mompox in my way south, but ended up going back to Santa Marta. I had in mind a visit to Tayrona… but I was tired of it all… and I ended up going back to Bogotá.
Perhaps, this could be an incredible town for a ‘gringo’: there are lots of elements from the colonial period- but they’re not overwhelming. It’s humble, the layout reminding me of many towns from Spain.
It was also a good place to relax. But, for me, it wasn’t that majestic as some foreign guide books tell, nor able to keep the interest for more than some hours.