- What if we don’t like what they plan for us?
- What if the people in our group are weird?
- Will we be in one of those heinous tourist groups that follow a guide with a megaphone & a giant flag?
- What if the hotels aren’t my taste & God forbid do not have a fluffy robe that I can wear at all times?
On top of that, I wondered, how could I possibly let someone else plan my vacation without my input, AND deal with the fact that we wouldn’t know our exact itinerary OR hotels until two weeks before? The control freak inside me said HELL NO, but my gut told me to let go and do something different. So we took the leap. And it was AMAZING.
It’s important to note that this is not sponsored in any way, but I feel compelled to give props to El Camino for curating such a memorable, elevated and authentic experience, and encourage anyone on the fence about Colombia to RUN DON’T WALK to this beautiful country.
- Cartagena is EXTREMELY hot & humid. We went in May, and it was an actual sauna, so be sure to bring light, airy clothes because you will sweat through everything (but you’ll be having so much fun you won’t care!)
- I brought my hair dryer + wand and never used them once, so save yourself some luggage space & embrace the air-dry!
- While I brought several pairs of heels, I never wore them once. The vibe is very island-y and laidback, so if you’re looking for an excuse to wear comfy sandals on your vacation – this is the place!
- You should NOT drink the water in Cartagena, so make sure to pop in a corner store and buy some big bottles to have on hand. Even when brushing your teeth, use your bottled water.
- Ubers in Cartagena are apparently sketchy, but there are taxis on the street if you need them and they are perfectly fine. We never once took one though, since we could walk everywhere.
- When paying with a credit card, they should always process it with a handheld machine in front of you. They shouldn’t ever take it away to run the check, so just be aware.
- Eat all the seafood you can, try the limonada de coco, eat a cheesy arepa (or eat 100 like I did), and buy all the coffee!
Cartagena was an absolutely magical destination and totally worth adding to your travel bucket list. If tackling it alone seems daunting, I cannot recommend El Camino Travel enough. Whether you’re traveling solo, with a friend or your partner, it’s truly the best way to get an authentic cultural experience with a side of adventure and built-in friends. We met so many incredible people on this trip – we loved it so much we even booked a second trip with El Camino to Cuba. Another post on that to come!
If you have any questions about our trip or have other favorite spots we should check out next time we visit Cartagena, would love to hear from you in the comments below!