Cartagena, Colombian Fairy Princess

Cartagena is a dream vacation spot on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The old town is a maze of narrow streets lined with colorful colonial-style houses, shops and hotels. Vendors sell fresh fruit and Panama hats on every corner. Horse-drawn carriages breeze by the neighborhood’s many plazas, where musicians and dancers perform. Most of the music is Afro-Caribbean, a reminder that this was once a busy port for the slave trade.

Stopping for a snack

As the local economy builds a head of steam around tourism, high rises are being constructed just outside the ancient walls of the old city.  The low income barrio called Getsemani has been especially affected. Many residents have had to leave to make way for new construction. Others have circled the wagons around their community, which is full of low key cafes, galleries and, increasingly, street art.

Our tour guide, Daniel, tells us artists have come from all over the world to paint the walls in this neighborhood and, as always, the art tells stories of the past and future of the people here.

Daniel looks like Sayed’s the little brother and has the same kind of charisma.

Outdoor hair salon in an alley of painted walls

In the morning, we walked along the wall that protects the city from invasion by the British and sat on a bench with our coffee, watching the waves slam into the breakwater.  We have had amazing dinners of sea food and mojitos that end with gelato and the sound of Caribbean drumming. Cartagena es caliente!


  1. Wow, so colorful and lively! You are on an art tour of Colombia, Kim. I loved Cartagena in the 70s, and it looks beautiful now in your photos. ¡Buen viaje!

    1. Cartagena is great for photography. Not only are there lots of colors and art projects, the people here are very comfortable with whatever is going on. Usually, I am careful taking photos of people but not here — it’s like they were waiting for you!.

  2. The paintings are vibrant in color and striking in imagery. Your photos are special!

    I’d like to know more about what the images portray!

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