"Love in the time of Cartagena" Top 5 Page for this destination Cartagena by richiecdisc
Cartagena Travel Guide: 573 reviews and 1,596 photos
Immortalized though admittedly not referred to directly by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in “Love in the time of Cholera,” Cartagena de Indias may not be immediately recognized by those who come expecting the dilapidated colonial architecture, colorful slave quarters, and rat-infested sewers of the author's time. But make no mistake, despite a restoration that would make the destroyed WWII countries of Europe proud, it manages to ooze at least some of the sensuality and still much of the vitality of Marquez's novel. As romantic as a less pristine vision of Cartagena may be, there is little denying just how gorgeous a city it has grown to be. It is heralded as the most beautiful in all of South America and it is easy to see why, with fairy tale balconied colonial gems strewn with bougainvilleas at every turn. It's no wonder it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This is however no Disney recreation of another era but a real thriving South American metropolis with all the grime and crime associated with such things. The bus ride from wherever you came from will give you a glimpse of life outside the walled oasis that tourists will likely confine themselves to and even this small area will easily fill quite a few days of leisurely sightseeing. Languid might be a better word in this sometimes stifling heat. An afternoon siesta is a delightful local ritual best observed as well by those who come to pay homage to a city made famous by a novel with love in the title.
As with all restored places that beg to cater to the well-to-do, Cartagena has its share of upscale eateries, bars, and boutique hotels. Thankfully, it remains a true city with many options. There are budget places to stay in parts of town less perfect but possibly more in tune with the steamy side of a romance novel. Many local delicacies are available in small economical neighborhood restaurants and by colorful street vendors that will bring you back to another time, a time perhaps that you came to see in the first place. A time not of cholera, but still of love in a place built for and of romance.
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