Colombia: Alone Girl’s Cartagena Experience, Night 1
Alone Girl (budget traveler)
Sister (One of Alone Girls’s younger sisters)
Malaysian man in Taxi (awesome 38-year old who left Malaysia to explore the world)
The only itinerary Alone Girl and her sister had for Colombia was an eating plan consisting mostly of eating this, eating that, then eating more. With empanadas and arepas costing less than $1 in the hip(sterish) neighborhood Getsemani, Cartagena was the obvious place to pack on as many calories as possible in the short 3.5 days the sisters would spend there.
After landing and sharing a taxi ride to their hostel with a perky Malaysian man, the sisters settled into Cartagena’s humid heat. The best way to do this was to take a walk through the fussy streets of the eclectic Getsemani, grubbing on as much street food as they could find. Across from their hostel was what would become their go to empanada stand. $4 and various salsas later, Alone Girl nearly swallowed her vegetarian empanada whole before turning her forever needy stomach towards the egg and potato arepa; Sister, on the other hand, savored her chicken and beef empanadas.
Continuing down the street, the sisters followed their noses to something sweet…a panaderia. Locking eyes in agreement, they walked into the bakery with bravado, taking in the assortment of savory and sweet creations that sat like demigods upon their metal racks. The sisters decided to use their tongues as taste tests, as they did not understand what any of the treats were. This experiment turned out to be a good plan after they bit into what turned out to be deliciously fresh baked cheese bread.
Sister wanted to get her nails done, so it was off to a salon. Brightly colored nails and a wax later, the sisters kept their Colombia travel mission alive: it was once again Food Time. On the hunt for something good to eat, Alone Girl figured it would be nice to have their first sit-down meal at Café Trinidad. They meandered through a few more neighborhood streets filled with colorfully beaming homes dressed in awe-inspiring murals. The cameras on their phones came alive for several minutes, capturing everything they could capture before the sisters’ rumbling tummies began to sing and dance: food time, food time food time!
The next few hours were a vignette of vodka langoustine ceviche with tostones, a beef+veggie+cheese tortilla wrap, the sharing of a giant strawberry+banana+chocolate waffle, some calamari, 3 cocktails, 4 tequila shots, ginger ale and a sprite. While the ladies and their stomachs had accomplished much in the first 6 hours of their Cartagena experience, it could not end without a quick walk through of Cartagena’s classic old town and some gelato from Tramonti’s. Peep the combos: lemon+pistachio for Alone Girl and chocolate+oreo for Sister. Perfect.
After exploring the Old City, Alone Girl appreciated that of all the neighborhoods in the tiny west coast city of Cartagena, Getsemani shimmered with the most life. It’s history of violence and crime had been choked out by boutique eateries serving up local and international wonders for the tongue, a mixture of cheap and not so cheap hostels with or without AC, and a mash of flavorful people literally hailing from every corner of the world. Alone Girl and Sister headed back to their non-AC’ed hostel for a night of warm and slightly sweaty dreams.
Cost Map in USD:
Mystic House Hostal, 1 dorm bed w/o AC: $5 per night
Taxi Ride from Airport: $3
Food Stand (1) Empanada/Arepa: $.80
Panaderia Mozzarella Bread: $.33
Mall Mani/Pedi and wax (1 person): $9.83
Giant Waffle and a beer: $6
Café Del Mar Calamari and 4 shots of Colombian liquor: $28
Gelateria Tramonti double scoop gelato: $2.50
Café De La Trinidad (dinner for 2), 3 happy hour cocktails and a soda: $40 (pre-tip)