How to drive from Medellin to Cartagena

Cartagena Walls Colombia

Last updated on January 23rd, 2021 at 02:25 pm

Dear Reader

My name is Frank and I run a travel agency in Bogota, Colombia. Have fun while reading!

Driving from Medellin to Cartagena

When driving from Medellín to Cartagena, I was reminded once again how mountainous Colombia is. Due to the topography and a lack of infrastructure, most of the main roads lead you over the mountains, as opposed to using tunnels that go through them. This explains why there is always heavy traffic when crossing the mountains. By the way, I also wrote the absolute best Travel Guide for Medellin where you will find all the valuable information you need for this great city.

Driving in Colombia

Colombians are extremely nice people, and I have rarely met friendlier people in my life. When they get behind the wheel, however, everything changes, as they think they are Michael Schumacher. When driving from Medellin to Cartagena, I almost collided with two trucks driving side by side. Passing other cars seems to be a popular sport in Colombia Even if the view is limited or hardly available, drivers will pass each other. This makes it all the more unpleasant if you are in a steep area, with nowhere to go. Apart from a full on brake and a quick Hail Mary, there are no other options in such a situation.

Arrival in Cartagena

After about 3 hours of descent, the panorama changed dramatically. At last you could drive was along a straight road. The climate became much warmer and the road was lined with shady trees. I passed quite a few stands selling fresh fruits, and after about 9 hours of driving, , I arrived at the Jewel of the Caribbean. Cartagena welcomed me with open arms, but when I got out of the car in front of the hotel, the sultry heat of the Caribbean coast hit me with full force.

After a long sleep and a good breakfast, I got up early the next morning to visit the various hotels in the old town. I was surprised by the high quality. The majority are boutique hotels. There was a lot to admire, such as incredibly high rooms, fantastic roof terraces, classic designs, and extended luxury. At noon, however, the temperature rose so much that I longed for an air-conditioned hotel room. I also let myself be tempted to have an extended siesta after lunch. Between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm, it is hard to think about work in Cartagena.

In Cartagena there is lots to discover, as this city possesses so much history. Fortunately you will find everything in my Cartagena Travel Guide.

A day of sun on Playa Blanca

In the afternoon and evening, however, it is wonderful to stroll through the old town and enjoy a cold beer. The selection of restaurants in the different segments is very large. As a pedestrian, however, you have to be on your guard constantly since there are also coaches with horse-drawn carriages. These coaches are usually faster and wider than you think. Something irritating is the fact that in the evening, many sex workers in the middle of the old town are blatantly advertising their services.

Despite all this, however, I never felt insecure and the police presence is one of the highest in the country. After a few days and kilometers on my feet, I reserved a day for Isla Barú and a beach day at Playa Blanca. Although I was not on holidays, it felt almost like that. Playa Blanca can be reached by boat or by bus within an hour.

The beach is very nice but lined with salesmen. You can hardly lie 15 minutes, without being addressed. In addition, I was told that on weekends and during peak season, people are crowded like sardines at the beach. Jet skis on the water, venders, and women advertising massages made the place unideal for relaxing.

For me, Cartagena is almost like Disneyland, and I always like to spend a few days there. The great romantic, almost kitschy ambience makes Cartagena a gem of the Caribbean. You are also looking for a luxury custom made itinerary from a highly specialized Colombian travel agency? Well this is what we are.

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