"CARTAGENA: PLAZAS & COLONIAL ARCHITECTURE" Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia Tip by swesn

The old town of Cartagena has several lovely plazas and colourful colonial architecture. The whole area is just a maze of monasteries, plazas, churches, lovely mansions with flower balconies, etc...

You can get plenty of information about the various sights in the normal guidebook but my tip here is: Meander aimlessly around the centre, turning this corner and that, and just 'happen upon' the plazas and be charmed by the colours of the buildings and ornate wooden gates.

Puerta del Reloj is a Clock Tower with arched gates. These gates seem to be the unofficial 'entrance' (of course, you can enter anywhere you like) to the centre of Cartagena that is still half-surrounded by a wall. In front of the gates, you find many minibuses at the round-about. Here is where you catch the minibuses to head off to the bus terminal or anywhere out of the centre.

Plaza de los Coches has a section of archway called El Portal de los Dulces (Portal of the Sweets) where traditional home-made sweets are sold in large glass jars.

Plaza de la Aduana is quite large, with a statue of Christopher Colombus and Plaza de Bolivar is a green park with a statue of Simon Bolivar. Many locals gather under the shady trees. There are shoe-shiners, lemonade and coffee sellers, etc... A slice of Cartagena life can be seen here.

The plazas are all picturesque and some have charming alfresco dining as well. My favourite little plaza has a Botero sculpture of a reclining fat lady.

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  • Written Oct 21, 2007
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