Sticky. Sweet. Milky. Moreish. Wicked sweeties in big jars from more than a dozen sellers in a shady arcade on the Plaza de las Coches. This being Colombia, it's not coconut teacakes and licorice allsorts, but 'bebes de leche' - think supersized jelly babies made of fudge - and coconut-condensed-milk mixes, and tamarind sweets. Definitely the best come from Dona Silvia, in my opinion - she was mixing up a bowl of tamarind while we were there and let us try it straight from the bowl. One sweetie, 500 pesos is the going rate - about 25p a piece.
Plaza de las Coches, Cartagena
Playa Blanca is a short (exciting) ride away from the busy tourist city of Cartagena. Playa Blanca is a small slice of paradise, with clear blue sea's, white sands and the delicious tranquility of Caribbean life. The gross scape of art inspiration is hard to describe, a world of photography, painting and writting is open to anyone who finds themselves on this desolate island. Playa Blanca's beach is lined with coconut palms and banana tree's, smells of mango infused bonfires fill the air. Any traveller to arrive at Playa Blanca will be instantly drawn in to the chilled way of island life. A sure place to find your self relaxed and inspired to indulge in your choice of creative outlet.
Mama Ruth's Paraiso
To get there:
The safest and easiest way to get to Playa Blanca is to take a boat from the Muelle in Cartagena which is 35.000 pesos plus the insurance 15.000 pesos.
Google map: tinyurl.com/yjvde33
Had a lovely time with my family. Kids loved it. Mother-in-law loved it. Lovely house with all of the amenities we needed and the privacy of our own place.
We found it on www.casasofiacartagena.com but it has other websites as well that are more current.
I cannot recommend the Caribbean city of Cartagena, on the north coast of Colombia, enough. I went for two weeks with my girlfriend and we never wanted to leave. Within the fortified old city are charming cobbled streets lined with immaculate Spanish colonial architecture, statues of fallen heroes and smiling people talking in the squares. Overhead will be baroque church steeples and domes, punctuated with colour spilling out from window flower boxes. There are superb restaurants offering fine seafood and other local specialities, a thriving, but not intimidating, nightlife and the full spectrum of accomodation, all enclosed within the walls. And the sun will be shining, but not so that you have to stay indoors, and advantage of the gentle Caribbean breeze.
Outside the old city are the white sands, green waters and palm trees the area is worshipped for. Take a boat trip to the offshore islands and see the island you'll both buy when you win the lotto! It is remarkably safe, and don't assume you will be queuing the entire time either - this is no Disneyland - you can have sweet little restaurant all to yourselves, or a park with a fountain, or a stroll atop the city wall, so romance is hard to avoid. However, if you feel like a film and a pizza, just grab a cab over to the new city and send an email home while you're at it. Definitely a winner - the most romantic place in the world.
Cafe del Mar is, like its namesake in Ibiza, a cocktail/lounge bar, spread across the top of the 17th century defensive wall surrounding Cartagena. A wonderful place to have a drink and watch the sun set into the Caribbean - and a good place to get out of the city heat and find a breeze.
Centro Historico, Baluarte Santo Domingo;
tel: (+57 5) 6646513;
These islands are an hour away from Cartagena. There is an open water aquarium, where you'll enjoy a dolphin show, sharks, giant turtles, and all kinds of tropical reef fauna. The islands are coral formations which have grown in size over hundreds of years, so just about anywhere you will find good Snorkling and Scuba Diving. Also, the Rosario's still waters make it attractive for water sking, canoing, swimming and wind surfing.
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