Cartagena was the second half of the packaged deal with Gate 1 Travel (5 Day Highlights of Colombia).
I stayed at the Hotel Caribe. This hotel is located across the street from the Playas de Bocagrande (beach) and it is only a 10 minute ride from the old city. Across the street you will find a seafood restaurant called Kiosco El Bony. This restaurant serves delicious fried snapper and pina coladas.
What I Did In Cartagena
Activities Included with the Tour
For Cartagena, the Gate 1 Travel tour package includes transportation and a visit to the Castillo San Felipe, a walk through the walled city, San Pedro Claver Sanctuary and Church, and the Emerald Museum (optional). I highly recommend Castillo San Felipe for excellent views and photos of the city.
Day Trip to Isla Baru (Rosario Islands)
I took a day trip with Guianza Express to the Rosario Island Isla Baru. This company provides pick up and drop off from your hotel. After pick up, you embark on a 1 to 1.5 hour drive to Isla Baru where you will board a speedboat. The ride on the speed boat is about 4 minutes and takes you to the non-crowded area of the Playa Blanco beach, which was very nice. Beach chairs and umbrellas were included.
Playa Blanco is a beautiful beach and has become one of my favorites. Included with the price of the excursion (besides transportation and the beach chairs/umbrellas) is water, a fruit bowl, lunch (fried red snapper with vegetables, rice, tostones, and a soda). Alcohol is available at the bar for a fee.
At Playa Blanco you will find vendors trying to sell their products or services, however they are not annoying at all. Overall, I highly recommend this excursion and you can find it through tripadvisor.
Ramba in Chiva Bus
While on the Gate 1 Travel tour, I met another solo traveler who told me about the Ramba in Chiva bus. I decided to join her and bought a ticket for $20 USD. The Ramba in Chiva bus is a party bus with loud music, singing, dancing, and drinking (coca cola and bottles of light and dark rum, which are all included in the price). The bus makes two stops: 1) plaza with vendors and entertainment (very touristy) and 2) a club. After the bus makes its two stops, it is up to you to get back to your hotel or Air B&B (taxis are widely available).
Watching the Sunset
At the top of the walls that surround the Old City, you can get a fantastic view of the sunset. If you decide to go, you should arrive early to get a good spot. You can also get great views at Castillo San Felipe or Cafe Del Mar with a drink and or dinner.
Overall, Cartagena is an amazing city to visit! I highly recommend using Gate 1 Travel for this package deal (Cartagena and Bogota) and many other tours as well.