Day 2 In Cartagena, Colombia: Enjoying Our Last Night In The City

After our afternoon excursion of mud-bathing in Volcán de Lodo El Totumo came to an end, it was time for us to return to our hotel and enjoy our final evening in Cartagena. During the drive back to Hotel Carribe, we came across multiple motor taxis. We were told that you can spot a motor taxi if you see a motorcyclist with two helmets—one on his head and one in his hand.

An individual would take a motor taxi if he or she doesn’t want to wait in traffic, or if he or she is in a rush. There are roughly one hundred accidents each day involving motor taxis, and it doesn’t help that they don’t have licenses to drive others or even insurance. The issue at hand is that the first rule in the constitution states that all individuals have the right to a job. Therefore, if the government were to ban motor taxis, so many individuals would be out of a job. This would lead to protests, strikes, and the blocking of streets. So, while motor taxis are not legal, they are socially accepted in Cartagena.

Similar to Bogotá, Cartagena has zones that classify residents according to socioeconomic standings. However, unlike Bogotá, the zones in Cartagena are dispersed and not in order. So, for example, a poor neighborhood can be located next to a very wealthy one, whereas in Bogotá, the nearby neighborhoods slowly progress into wealthier or poorer neighborhoods.

After arriving to the hotel, we decided to take a walk along the beach and enjoy a nice dinner before having to pack our things and get ready for an early morning flight. As sad as it was to leave Colombia, we had a great trip, and I hope I can say I’ll be back soon!

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Day 2 In Bogotá, Colombia Continued: Andrés Carne de Res

After a long day of exploring Bogotá, we had the night off to do as we pleased—which really meant continue exploring the city on our own. As we were dropped off in the center of the city, we decided to stop at Andrés Carne de Res, also known as Andrés DC. First opened in 1982 by Andrés Jaramillo as a small restaurant with only ten tables, Andrés DC is now known throughout the city as a go-to restaurant and club for tourists and locals alike. Each floor in the restaurant is designed differently, as one represents hell, another represents purgatory, the third represents earth, and the last represents heaven. The concept of the restaurant is just as fascinating as the food is delicious.

After grabbing some appetizers and drinks at Andrés DC, we continued to walk throughout the city center until we found a restaurant to have dinner. As the night came to a close, we walked a little longer until returning to our hotel to prepare for a long day ahead—traveling to Cartagena, Colombia.

Day 1 In Bogota, Colombia

Last month, my mother took my brother, sister, and me to Colombia where we spent two days in Bogota and two days in Cartagena. Throughout the next few days, I’ll be writing about our travels and experiences.

We flew out of Miami on the afternoon of Friday, August 7th, and arrived in Bogota later that evening. August 7th happens to be a national holiday in Colombia, as it celebrates the Battle of Boyacá. The Battle of Boyacá resulted in Colombia’s independence from the Spanish monarchy and is celebrated as a national holiday every year on the seventh of August. Every four years on this particular day, the elected President of Colombia is announced in the Casa de Nariño—the official home and workplace of the President of Colombia.

There are roughly nine million people living in Bogota, but there is no subway to transport everyone who lives there. Instead, the official means of transportation is public busses. There are designated lanes on the highways solely for the busses called TransMilenio. However, since the busses are always crowded, the name is commonly called TransMilleno as a joke by the locals. (Lleno in Spanish translates to full).

Upon arriving to our hotel, we were given a few minutes to drop our bags off in our rooms before being served dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. As we sat down in the restaurant, we were each given a delicious hot drink consisting of Aguardiente—a Colombian alcohol also known as “fire water”, in addition to cinnamon, sugar, and panela—unrefined whole cane sugar, common in both Central and  Latin America. We were then brought a creamy chicken soup with carrots to begin, followed by chicken, potatoes, and vegetables.

Since it was already dark outside by the time we arrived, there wasn’t much we could take pictures of besides for the food (hence the pictures of food below). Shortly after dinner, we went to sleep for the night before officially commencing our trip in the morning with a tour of the city.

Day 2 In Antigua, Guatemala Continued

To pick up from my last blog post, after lunch, we continued to walk around Antigua to see some of the more well known sites. We happened to have eaten lunch right next to the Arco de Santa Catalina, which was built in the 17th century as a passageway for the Santa Catalina covenant and an adjoining school. Its purpose was for the nuns to pass from from one building to the next without having to go out into the street. This arch is the only remnant of the covenant, and is considered by many to be a “must-see” in Antigua.

From there, we continued to walk along the street and pass through a local market shop with traditional trinkets and goods. We then came across Convento Santa Clara which like so many other buildings had been destroyed by various earthquakes since the 1700s. Following our time at Convento Santa Clara, we found La Merced Cathedral which was built in 1548 and rebuilt in the 1700s since it had been destroyed twice by earthquakes. The Cathedral was beautiful and had a stunning view outside of both the scenery and of locals picnicking and enjoying the sunset.

We made our way back to the hotel (and passed the Arco de Santa Catalina once more) to get cleaned up before going out for dinner. We had to get a good night sleep though because we had a big day ahead of us the following morning.