Cartagena Colombia

When my brother informed us that his wedding would take place in his wife-to-be’s hometown of Manizales, Colombia, I was elated. A trip to Colombia wasn’t something that made on our list of countries to visit and a wedding is always a fun excuse to travel somewhere far and exotic.

During our 10 days in Colombia we experienced the warmth of the people (seriously, some of the nicest people I have ever met), the natural beauty of the country, and the richness of both food and culture. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Colombia, do it!

We flew into Pereira and on our hour + ride to Manizales we stopped on the side of the road for an arepa snack.

Walking through Manizales we stumbled across this beautiful park tucked into the side of a steep hill.

The streets of Manizales are narrow and steep. In some areas road and sidewalk are nearly indistinguishable.

Fresh fruit is available all-year-round due to Manizale’s temperate climate and can be found almost every where you go.

High caloric foods in Colombian cuisine can be worked off walking around the streets of Manizales.

A great way to take-in the topography of Manizales is by taking a ride on the city’s cable car. Some people use it as a means to commute.

Callejeros (street dogs) are all over the place in Manizales. Eating anything they can find, no matter where they find it. It’s best to steer clear of them, but this one followed us around for a bit as we walked around the city.

Manizales is in the very important Zona Cafetera (coffee zone) so our trip wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a Coffee Farm (finca). Luckily for us, my brother and his wife arranged an amazing group tour for out of towners.

The finca’s main operating area had, what seemed like, an endless supplies of the huge burlap coffee bags.

After exploring the finca we had a filling traditional Colombian lunch. Colombian food is so rich and delicious. I wish could eat it everyday.

Manizales is knicknamed the Sunset Factory, the sunsets are supposed to be breathtaking when the conditions are right. Unfortunately for us, the conditions were never right, but we didn’t have much time to spare to try to catch on anyhow. I’d imagine this would be an amazing place to catch a sunset.

After the wedding festivities, we spent some quality family time with my mom, brother and new sister. Our first stop was Salento, a small mountain town famous for it’s delicious trout and home to the world’s tallest palm trees.

If you like Jeeps then Colombia is the place for you. Willys are refurbished and used all over.

Salento is an adorable town, great to stroll around for the day, enjoy some lunch and pick up some trinkets for yourself or someone back home.

Callejeros are not limited to Manizales.

After our time in the Zona Cafetera, we flew to the Caribbean to bask in the tropical sun and explore the historic city.

Food vendors can easily be found on the streets of Cartagena.

Art vendors are not hard to find either.

The historic walled in portion of Cartagena is oozing with charming buildings and beautiful flowers.

See? It’s just so darn charming in Cartagena.

These woman added some extra flare to selling fruit on the streets in historic Cartagena.

It was HOT when we were in Cartagena. Up in the 90’s and humid. This vendor was selling something very similar to shave ice in Hawaii. A nice cool treat on a hot day.

Just outside the walls of the historic walled in portion of Cartagena is a huge fort. Here you can explore tunnels and see where new meets old in Cartagena.

Our Airbnb in Cartagena had an amazing rooftop terrace, which we attempted to take advantage of every night for drinks and sunset.

Very similar to Europe, Cartagena had multiple plazas full of restaurants, cafes, ands street performers. Some illuminated their buildings to showcase the architecture and vibrant colors.

Our last full day in Colombia, we spent in the popular area called Isla Rosario. It requires a boat ride out to the islands, but considering the water and beaches in Cartagena don’t evoke the traditional Caribbean feel, I think it’s worth a visit. We relaxed, swam, and kayaked at Playa Gentes de Mar.


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