As soon as you leave the Rafael Núñez International Airport, in CARTAGENA, you can already feel that rich warmth of the Caribbean coast and the joy of knowing that you are finally on Colombian soil. Personally, despite breakfast on the plane, I get ready to taste the culinary delights that this beautiful city has, because I have a very good appetite and I want to try fresh seafood, which is very difficult to find in the middle of the continent where I come from. “Direct from the sea to the pot.” Says my girlfriend, Vanessa, she likes light food more, so to speak. It’s vegetarian, so I hope we can get good vegetarian restaurants and better yet, vegans; so that she and I can satisfy the palate with our particular tastes. The people that are leaving around us are, as always rushing. They run with their suitcases as if they were going to finish the water of the sea of Cartagena or as if they were all important executives who were left behind to a meeting of extreme importance. (Cartagena enjoys an important convention center) We are going at a brisk pace. We intend to take things very calmly on this trip, and enjoy every second without daily stress. Already embarked on a taxi, the rain of questions to the driver begins. My girlfriend has that habit at any place in the world where we go and we can communicate. It is something that when I am alone, I avoid, but I admit that we have done very well and although sometimes they have tried to rip us off, with practice you learn to differentiate between an honest person who wants to help you, from someone who wants to take advantage of you. In this case, Ricardo, our driver, was a source of information, with the best intention of helping us. Of course we gave him his well-deserved tip. In Cartagena de Indias, as in the United States, it is customary to tip.
The traffic from the airport to the hotel, quite fluid, even though we are arriving at “rush hour” in the morning. Or maybe in Cartagena de Indias, there are no peak hours as widespread as in Miami, my home. Where the rush hour starts at 8:00 and nobody knows when it ends. There are many people on the streets, many tourists, it is March, high tourist season in Cartagena. I just saw a Hop on, Hop off Tourist Bus, (known in my city as a city sighseeing tour), which I hope to get on tomorrow and transport myself on it all day through the city. We stayed at the Cartagena Plaza Hotel. At the entrance of the hotel, as expected, there were very friendly people. The place looks very clean, a sober atmosphere, quite cozy and to my delight, there are no long lines of people checking in. This trip seems as if it will be perfect. The rest of the afternoon, we spent it in the pool, drinking cocktails. Resting, in short. A very nice place, but nothing more to tell. If Cartagena de Indias is what it claims to be and if Internet advertising has not deceived us, today our adventure begins. We have planned something that my girlfriend has insisted on a lot. We will go to bathe in mud from the Totumo volcano. Better said, the mini volcano of the Totumo, because they say that it is not more than 15 meters high.
THE ADVENTURE IN THE TOTUMO VOLCANO
We left the hotel very early, on a Hop on, hop off bus from the City Sightseeing Company. That we hired. Of on the way there trip, I do not know much, because I was very sleepy and I took advantage of that hour of travel to rest the hangover left by the cocktails of the previous night and my girlfriend accompanied me all the way in the arms of Morfeo.
Yes, the trip was in an air conditioned, very comfortable Hop on, hop off bus and the trip took about one hour. This statement I say, to give some credit to the transport company, which behaved very well and it is not my fault that I spent a night of drinks with my girlfriend.
Upon arrival, the weather was delicious. In front of us was the “imposing” Totumo Volcano, 15 meters high, “Up to here, I confess that I felt a little disappointed”, because the hotel structure is not the best.
When we entered the volcano, everything changed. And it’s not that it was the dream of my life to be immersed in mud. But the sensation that one acquires in that site is indescribable
First, one can´t completely submerge, so do not think that you should be floating on your own. In fact, there’s no problem if you do not know how to swim.
Second, the mud is not cold. It is warm, very smooth and feels delicious on the skin. Pretend that you’re getting into a flank yacusi before curdling. I can´t think of how else to describe it. Vanessa, did not want to even smile, so that the mud penetrates enough in those small lines of expression that she has and look radiant.
We were there for more than thirty minutes, then when we left, we went to a small lagoon, where some friendly locals helped us to remove all the mud from our body.
We took the opportunity to visit several places in the area. We had a fish dish, with patacones, a mixed salad and with coconut rice. (Typical dish of the region). Then we headed back to Cartagena, with great enthusiasm. The truth is that this was a very pleasant and unexpected adventure, I must confess.
Once in Cartagena, we went to the hotel to take a “decent shower” after resting a bit in the room and trying a dessert in the hotel lobby, we went to the next adventure of the day, a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride.
RIDE IN CARRIAGE,
A romantic ride At first, Vanessa opposed to enjoy this tourist attraction. We are both very fond of animals and we felt that somehow we were going to exploit the horse pulling the carriage. After thinking a lot and considering that we are not sure we were going to go back to Cartagena, we decided to try this trip. Which, we were very happy to do, considering that the driver told us how they cared for the animals, and more importantly, we saw the respect and affection that the driver felt for his friend and co-worker. It was a spectacular evening. In the tour there are some of the most important architectural sites. Plaza de Santo Domingo, Plaza de Santa Teresa, Plaza de la Aduana, Plaza de los Coches, etc. You could feel the romanticism that the guide told us that, once flooded this beautiful place. The treatment of our driver was excellent, the climate mild, humidity with some breeze. In short, the best style of romantic movies in Hollywood. We highly recommend visiting Cartagena de Indias in Colombia, enjoy its art, cuisine, its beaches and even the friendly and warm friendliness of its people. I also take this opportunity to thank the City Sightseeing company, the operator with whom we hired our tours, for their great service and also for allowing us to place this article on their website.
Hop On – Hop Off Cartagena Official Tour is available in Cartagena, Colombia. Follow the link and buy online.