The Oh So Fun Art & Culture of Colombia's Cartagena


Do you feel the beat?  I sure did this last week in Cartagena Colombia!  This was my first trip to Colombia and with a few salsa beats and welcoming hugs it had me won over and wanting more.

Our itinerary was jam packed with local experiences and adventures beginning with dinner with a local family in the Cartagena suburbs — a great introduction to Colombian cuisine and the incredible warm hospitality of the Colombian people.

Bazurto Market Colombia

We spent a morning at Buzurto Market – a dingy, gritty, smelly, local experience that had me smiling from ear to ear.  This was the best market I’ve ever been to in the world – but it’s not for the faint of heart.  What made it amazing was the soul of the market – happy people, working hard, with a constant musical beat in the background.

I even tried fish testicles fried up at the market – and that was probably one of the more tame things I could have tried! We also spent time learning more about Colonial history of the city, taking salsa dance lessons (and putting them to use at a local salsa club), and we even went island hopping in the Rosario Islands.  Cartagena had it all.

It’s hot & spicy in the Bazurto market in #Cartagena . People dancing, laughing, cooking, drinking, & eating at this local market which turned out to be one of my favorite market visits in the world!  

Rosario Islands Colombia

Beach day! Enjoying water sports in the Rosario Islands – a great day trip from #Cartagena.

Cartagena Colombia flowers

A beautiful start to the morning in #Cartagena ! Touring around the city today wearing lots of sunscreen! This shot is from my lovely hotel – Casa San Agustin.

Palenquera women Cartagena

2 Palenquera women sit in the shadow of the old city walls in #Cartagena selling fruit. The women have a fascinating history that tells the story of the slave trade and subsequent freedom in Cartagena.

Getsemani Cartagena

Explored the colorful neighborhood of Getsemani in #Cartagena by foot. It allowed me to find fun little hidden alleys like this one to explore. All of the locals were eating lunch in their homes with the doors open and really welcoming! I have no idea tho why they had plastic bags hanging in the alley – but they added to the atmosphere!

Salsa Cartagena Colombia

Dancing and music is the heartbeat of #Cartagena we found a fun local bar in the old city to dance the night away. The locals had us up on our feet in no time and I was able to practice my new salsa moves!

Casa San Agustin

The streets of the old city in #Cartagena are lined with colonial houses that have been refurbished into beautifully designed boutique hotels. The best designs highlight the old structures and the history while bringing fresh elements to the old. Such as an old cistern turned into a pool. I love the textures & design of Casa San Agustin where I’ve been staying – it’s a patchwork quilt of Spanish tiles and coastal colors that all works together beautifully.

Within 2 hours of landing in #Cartagena, we were having dinner in a cute little suburb with the most affectionate local family. The outpouring of hospitality and cultural exchange had me buzzing like the Colombian coffee they served me!  

Kohsamui Hotel Colombia

Slowing down & enjoying the beach view at Kohsamui Hotel.


Sherry Ott
Sherry Ott is a refugee from corporate IT who is now a long term traveler, blogger, and photographer. She’s a co-founder of, a website offering career break travel inspiration and advice.

Additionally, she runs an around the world travel blog writing about her travel and expat adventures at
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