How to sum up Cartagena? The walled city on the coast is my second last destination here in Colombia and in some ways has been the apex of my adventures here. Arriving solo I quickly made friends with my air bnb host who took me out to see the sights of the walled city.
Castillo San Felipe
Cartagena as a city was fortified by the Spanish to protect the rich gold and jewel stores being mined here before exportation to Spain. Most of the walls still remain although the city has expanded far beyond its original boundaries. The city goes between hot and very hot with average humidity sitting around 80-90% most days. The major activities here are centred around island hopping and night life. The beaches close to the city are fine but no where near spectacular.
I spent a day at Blue Apple beach club which is on an island called Tierra Bomba which was amazing. A half hour boat ride from the city this glamorous yet affordable beach club. With an infinity pool looking over the Carribean you can take your pick between beach or poolside vibes. To my Bali diehards let me put it this way, Potato Head eat your heart out. This was a day of resort life without the price tag.
The walled city is a beautiful moment captured in time. Spanish architecture and character, the houses are fronted with huge doors that open into amazing courtyards that the rest of the casa is centered around.
For me the greatest moments of this city were moments of unexpected friendships. If you have ever taken one of my spin classes you know I am all about energy and attraction, your vibe attracts your tribe. Cartagena was a beautiful reminder of that for me. A friend I met in Medellin was coming into town for the weekend which I was looking forward to we had great times and were both on longer trips around Colombia so had similar plants,budgets and outlooks.
Medellin to Cartagena with Wiston
The other event was a series of parties here that I had heard about in my research. While Cartagena Pride is another week or so away these festivals brought international Djs to the city for a weekend of music and dancing. This meant a lot of people were coming in to the city from all over the world. By chance on Thursday night I bumped into two guys from the USA and was quickly invited to dinner the following night.
It was dinner for 10 at the must visit restaurant of Cartagena, Candé. Providing typical dishes of the region in a fine dining interpretation. With an emphasis on ceviches, lobster,crab and fish the food and company was second to none.After two months of quick bites, cheap eats and solo dinner dates it was actually a wonderful gift to be in a large group eating fabulous food and sharing stories.
Dinner at Candé
While we attended a rooftop dance party under the stars with amazing views of Castillo San Felipe the highlight was a catamaran party on the Sunday. Dancing away and swimming in the Carribean. Forget over priced yacht weeks in Europe, I would come back and re-do that day in a heartbeat.
Catamaran parties, need I say more.
It got me thinking a lot about being a solo LGBT traveller and finding your community on the road. On the tail end of pride season I am aware that I am extremely fortunate and privelidged to be here. I also feel a certain responsibility, to come out and be visible every day. No not as some stereotype but as myself. Spanish is a language based in gender I have often been corrected when speaking of ex partners. “You mean, Novia, your girlfriend”. Ten years ago I would have not had enough confidence to correct them but now more than ever visibility is important. Oh no I have had boyfriends, I am gay.
This is not something a straight traveler would even have to consider or experience on a daily basis, they can find their tribe in hostels and on the street. Most of my friends have been made in gay bars or via the internet. Would I change it? No way, my adventures and the people who surrounded me this past weekend make every moment worth it.
So as I get ready for my final couple of weeks in Colombia I am so grateful to belong to a global community, while we also have a long way to go in lifting up our under represented members I am very proud to have a tribe. So I continue to come out, every day.
Nights out with Antwan
Mini Miami, Boca Grande