Day off in Cartagena – Sightseeing in Cartagena Colombia

After sailing from Panama, our boat arrived in Cartagena in Colombia. This would be the next phase of my bike tour from Alaska to Argentina.

A church in Cartagena

Cartagena in Colombia

Blog post written: May 4th 2010

In 2010, I undertook an 18 month bicycle tour from Alaska to Argentina. This blog post covers my arrival into Colombia, a country I was visiting for the first time. Here's my blog post from the first day in Cartagena.

We arrived into Cartagena on the Monday, and decided to all book into the same hostel. Most of the backpacker places in Cartagena are situated in the same street of Calle Media Luna, and we had decided on Hotel Media Luna.

Not a lot was achieved for the day, as we were all pretty tired from the sailing trip, so it was mainly email checking and trying to shake off the feeling of the ground still moving beneath our feet.

Juice Bars in Cartagena

Tuesday saw a little more life injected into me, and I was up pretty early whilst the rest slept in some.

Breakfast was at a juice bar, where they made a great milkshake with exotic fruits whose names I have no hope of remembering, or spelling even if I did.

Breakfast in Cartagena at one of the juice bars

After breakfast, the girls decided to move into another hostel.

I kind of hoped it was because they wanted more privacy as opposed to the given reason of saving three dollars a night each, but later events proved it was indeed the money – I’ll explain more in a few paragraphs.

Anyhow, deciding that wasting two hours to move to a hostel a few doors down in order to save three dollars was a bit daft, I did a sightseeing tour of the city with the guys.

Sightseeing in Cartagena, Colombia

The old city is still surrounded by the thick, colonial walls of its past, and inside are narrow streets with colourful buildings, beautiful plazas and interesting artworks.

Sightseeing in Cartagena in Colombia

There were some interesting statues and artworks in the streets of Cartagena.

As always, I wished I had a better camera so I could take some half-decent photos!

Statues and Artworks in Cartagena

There were also some very impressive churches and other colonial buildings.


Street vendors sell drinks and food, making lunch on the move an easy job. In hindsight, maybe I should have been a bit more careful where I ate, as I suffered from a bad stomach for the next five days.

An evening dinner… with a twist

In the evening, we went out for dinner with Fabian, the Captain of our boat and his wife.

Having had a good trip, we had arranged to pay for their meal as way of a tip.

If we had all done this, it would have amounted to somewhere between six and seven dollars each, which in the grander scheme of things, is pretty insignificant for such a wonderful experience at sea.


However, as the night went on, the girls decided to back out, and I could sense that trying to settle up the bill in the restaurant was going to be both time consuming and make us look retarded , so I intervened and put it on the mastercard for us to settle up later at the hostel.

People are strange

Back at the hostel, an amusing moment for me came when a couple of them wanted to use their 400 dollar ipods to work out if they should be paying an additional fifty or sixty cents with tax.

As it was, it took two hours of fucking about until everyone had settled.. Come on people!!

Now, I understand we had a mix of ages and cultures, but I really didn’t understand what the problem was with chipping in for the meal with Fabian.

It wasn’t going to break the bank, and its not as if he left the docks in a Ferrari. Maybe they never worked a job where they received tips, or have never been on the receiving end of friendliness and generosity themselves.

I guess after 16 years of travelling I just have a different perspective, and realise that in this world, you have to give to receive.

As it was, it came as a bit of a sour end to our sailing trip and joint adventure. I realised though, that it was also a sign to part ways, and then continue my cycling adventure from Alaska to Argentina once more.

Read more about cycling from Alaska to Argentina


Leave a Comment