Cartegena

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ceylon_tea
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Cartegena

Post by ceylon_tea » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:50 pm

I'm planning a trip to Cartegena for Christmas. Looking at 10 days.

1. Is there any good diving and snorkeling easily accessible from Cartegena? Don't fancy flying to Providencia and San Andres. Isla Mucura any good?
2. I'm thinking 3 days in Cartegena. Need to find things to do for the remaining 7 days. Any thoughts?

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Re: Cartegena

Post by EMG » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:26 pm

The snorkeling off Isla Mucura was not good. Bleached out dead coral that the locals seemed to like to break chunks off of for tourists. (Hold this starfish. Touch that sea cucumber. Have a souvenir!) Not sure about the diving, I didn't dive.

Beautiful islands otherwise.

What about Tayrona park for the rest of the time? I didn't go because I had a pretty packed schedule on my short trip.

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Re: Cartegena

Post by Bill Barilko » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:41 pm

Three days in Cartagena is probably one day too many-flying up to Medellin is easy cheap and there's a lot more to see/do in the mountains.

Conservation in Colombia rhymes with lukewarm shit-people destroy everything they can lay their paws on so diving anywhere there are crowds is a joke if it's good diving you want head to the other side of the country.
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Re: Cartegena

Post by ceylon_tea » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:04 pm

Thanks both for your input. it's depressing to see people do shit like that.

I picked Cartegena because there are cheap direct flights from Toronto. Madellin interests me though. I will look into it.

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Re: Cartegena

Post by Bill Barilko » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:27 am

Medellin-the city of Eternal Spring!
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Re: Cartegena

Post by EMG » Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:28 am

I loved Cartagena. Beautiful city. But yeah 2 or 3 days seems enough to get it.

The diving off mucura could be great for all I know, just the snorkeling was not

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Re: Cartegena

Post by ceylon_tea » Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:09 pm

mucura looks grim all around. We've decided to fly to providencia. providencia looks more remote than san andres.

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Re: Cartegena

Post by Bill Barilko » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:01 pm

ceylon_tea wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:09 pm
...We've decided to fly to providencia.
Let's Be Hippie!




(Actually I'm rather envious.)
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Re: Cartegena

Post by Agent009 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:03 pm

There really isnt much to do in carte....
Spent my time in santa marta/taganga.
Did a few dives in taganga. Vis was bad one day. Saw the biggest barracuda evah. Corals kinda meh. It was cheap. This was 8 years ago.
There is also minca, tayrona, and the lost city nearby. Tayrona is not a white side crystal blue water caribbean beach, fyi. (nor is carte or santa marta)

Medellin is an amzballz city.
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Re: Cartegena

Post by truenic » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:38 pm

Cartegena is good for two days, but if you're diving on one of them, then 3 makes sense.

Ideas:

1) Tayrona National Park. Add a trip up to Minca if you're into birds. Palomino if you're into Caribbean beaches
2) Medellin-don't miss it. It's a place I'd love to get back to. 3-4 days is enough for there.
3) Bogota-we really like it there as well. Lots to do, never had any problems. Side trip to the Salt Cathedral was pretty darn cool.
4) If I had a million dollars...San Andres Islands

I think I have a trip report on here somewhere
Last edited by truenic on Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cartegena

Post by truenic » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:40 pm


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Re: Cartegena

Post by ceylon_tea » Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:40 pm

Thanks nic. Where have you been? Good to hear from you.

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Re: Cartegena

Post by nycfellow » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:26 am

3 days is not too much for Cartagena. It's a lovely city. You should have a look at Tayrona National Park, up the coast. It's remarkable. Also, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is an exceptional, isolated, ecosystem with many endemic species, if you are interested in that sort of thing.

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Re: Cartegena

Post by ceylon_tea » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:38 am

Thanks NYC. That's right up my alley. Definitely wanna go to tayrona and santa marta. I'm looking into booking those ecotents in tayrona trunic posted about.

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Re: Cartegena

Post by Scrubb » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:41 am

We went to Providencia last year around XMas. It's a pretty chill little island. The diving was good... but we only got 2 days of it, when we had planned 6, because of a tropical storm that kept us stranded in San Andres for 2.5 extra days. NO flights out, the Providencia airport was closed. Then when we finally got there, the ocean was so stirred up that they didn't allow diving at all for another day. Then when they finally did allow diving again, they only opened one spot the first day. It was shallow and kind of unremarkable. The next day things were finally back to normal and we had a couple of excellent dives.

Anyway, if you don't get hit with a tropical storm, it should be good! It's a picturesque little island with a few decent restaurants. We rented a motor bike and rode around the island, when we couldn't dive, and there are some nice places to stop. We also had a great dinner on the beach right by our hotel one night - out of a tent, on plastic tables, it was an amazing seafood platter. The Xmas decorations were wonderful too - along with snowmen and santa and bells, etc., they had crabs, octopi, palm trees, etc.

HOwever, I would say that going there when you have a tight schedule might not be a good idea. The airport is small and served only by very small planes and I am not sure how If you're willing to not book in advance, you could decide when you get there if the weather looks good.
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Re: Cartegena

Post by Bill Barilko » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:57 pm

Note that closures in Tayrona due to overuse/indigenous issues and the like have become SOP-check carefully and have a plan B.

Pacific Choco is definitely not overused.

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Re: Cartegena

Post by ceylon_tea » Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:28 pm

Scrubb wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:41 am
We went to Providencia last year around XMas. It's a pretty chill little island. The diving was good... but we only got 2 days of it, when we had planned 6, because of a tropical storm that kept us stranded in San Andres for 2.5 extra days. NO flights out, the Providencia airport was closed. Then when we finally got there, the ocean was so stirred up that they didn't allow diving at all for another day. Then when they finally did allow diving again, they only opened one spot the first day. It was shallow and kind of unremarkable. The next day things were finally back to normal and we had a couple of excellent dives.

Anyway, if you don't get hit with a tropical storm, it should be good! It's a picturesque little island with a few decent restaurants. We rented a motor bike and rode around the island, when we couldn't dive, and there are some nice places to stop. We also had a great dinner on the beach right by our hotel one night - out of a tent, on plastic tables, it was an amazing seafood platter. The Xmas decorations were wonderful too - along with snowmen and santa and bells, etc., they had crabs, octopi, palm trees, etc.

HOwever, I would say that going there when you have a tight schedule might not be a good idea. The airport is small and served only by very small planes and I am not sure how If you're willing to not book in advance, you could decide when you get there if the weather looks good.
Thanks for the info. We always book in advance. As it's the christmas season I don't want to take a chance. Did you do any snorkeling?

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Re: Cartegena

Post by ceylon_tea » Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:30 pm

Bill Barilko wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:57 pm
Note that closures in Tayrona due to overuse/indigenous issues and the like have become SOP-check carefully and have a plan B.

Pacific Choco is definitely not overused.

Image
Thank you

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Re: Cartegena

Post by ceylon_tea » Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:34 pm

I'm thinking of not going to Medellin. Don't want to do too much traveling in that short period of time and traffic seems insane. How does Santa Marta compares to Medellin?

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Re: Cartegena

Post by Scrubb » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:27 pm

ceylon_tea wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:28 pm
Thanks for the info. We always book in advance. As it's the christmas season I don't want to take a chance. Did you do any snorkeling?
No - there were no snorkeling spots near the shore in the area we stayed, and basically the ocean was super stirred up after the days of rain and wind. Maybe on the day that the shallow dive spot was open, there would have been ok snorkeling in some areas, but given the less-than stellar visibility where we dove, I doubt it.
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Re: Cartegena

Post by Scrubb » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:30 pm

Christmas decoration on Providencia:
Image

Beach restaurant (great seafood platter):
Image
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Re: Cartegena

Post by ceylon_tea » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:54 pm

Scrubb, Did you go to crab caye?

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Re: Cartegena

Post by nycfellow » Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:38 am

I haven't been to Medellin, but have heard good things. Santa Marta is not really much of an attraction, as a town.

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Re: Cartegena

Post by Bill Barilko » Tue Jan 22, 2019 4:16 am

Medellin is the Best city in the whole country but don't let that stop you from skipping it this time and returning in future-because you will want to return.
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Re: Cartegena

Post by Scrubb » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:16 am

No, didn't get to Crab Caye. It looks really gorgeous.
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Re: Cartegena

Post by truenic » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:41 pm

Santa Marta is a shithole compared to Medellin. Sorry.
I really wanted to like Santa Marta, but it's a little uh, edgier than it is cute.

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Re: Cartegena

Post by Andrea1 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:05 pm

I liked Santa Marta, really enjoyed the central streets, full of food, strret sellers, hustle and bustle. Not so touristy. Plus it was walkable.

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Re: Cartegena

Post by ceylon_tea » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:07 pm

Scrubb, how did you go to Providencia? Where did you fly from?

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Re: Cartegena

Post by Agent009 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:47 pm

I really liked santa marta, spent a few months there, taganga, tayrona.....
It was kinda a shithole, but in a charming run down way.
I even found an infamous river of shit flowing through downtown santa marta.... What more could one ask for?

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Re: Cartegena

Post by Bill Barilko » Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:48 am

Santa Marta has-or had-a train


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Re: Cartegena

Post by Scrubb » Sat Feb 02, 2019 4:00 am

ceylon_tea wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:07 pm
Scrubb, how did you go to Providencia? Where did you fly from?
Bogota to San Andres (where we were stranded 2.5 days due to a tropical storm. Not a ton to do in San Andres during torrential rain, especially if you're spending all day in the airport hoping to get on a plane) to Providencia. On the way back I think we flew Providencia to San Andres to Manales.

We flew into Bogota, spent one night, then back to the airport in the morning to go to Providencia.
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Re: Cartegena

Post by ceylon_tea » Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:22 pm

Decided on
3 days - Medellin
4 days - Tayrona
2 days - Cartagena
3 days Providencia (haven't booked anything yet) Keeping it open and only go if the weather is nice. Plan is to fly from Cartagena to San Andres. If the weather is bad, will check out the islands close to Cartagena

Any recommendations on islands close to Cartagena? They all look very crowded.

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Re: Cartegena

Post by Bill Barilko » Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:02 am

Any recommendations on islands close to Cartagena? They all look very crowded.

They are crowded and thus unremarkable.
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Re: Cartegena

Post by EMG » Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:01 pm

Islas del Rosario were very pretty. I didn't mind the crowds, they were small enough that you could go off on your own a bit down the beach.

I just did a daytrip though. Had a lunch of fried snapper, drank a coconut, took some picture and looked at the beach.

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