Cartagena is one of Colombia's most vibrant cities, located along the Caribbean coast. The city is an hour flight from Bogota, and 30 degrees warmer and 100x more colorful. As soon as we landed, we were greeted by tropical humidity and rain.
We drove along a scenic coastal road with the Caribbean Sea right outside the window and epic cumulous clouds along the horizon. The beach was packed with tourists and locals alike, many oblivious to the rain as they continued their beach activities. To our left was the Old Town, a UNESCO site noted for the historic fortress walls that span blocks, if not miles. Ahead, we saw towering clusters of glass skyscrapers which reminded me of Hong Kong on the beach. Cartagena is a city of contrasts, excitement, and culture and we couldn't wait to dive in and explore.
Welcome to Cartagena!
Top places to photograph in Cartagena:
1. Bocagrande - The modern metropolis, filled with hotels, beaches, and restaurants.
2. Isla Baru - The beach getaway, 40 minutes by car from Cartagena.
3. Cartagena Old City - Colorful doors, old walls, and cobblestone streets.
4. Catedral De Santa Catalina De Alejandria
5. Cartagena Old Town - The Old City is walkable and filled with Spanish beautifully preserved colonial architecture.
6. Castillo San Felipe de Barajas - The old city walls span the perimeter of Cartagena and offer amazing views of the city.
The castillo is one of the best places to photograph and enjoy the ocean views.
7. Plaza de San Pedro Claver - Historic plaza filled with Spanish architecture.
8. Calle San Andres - Beautiful street filled with colorful flags.
9. Musica - A trip to Cartagena is not complete without music and dance! If you hang out in the Old City long enough, you are bound to encounter talented musicians and dancers.
10. Street Art - Cartagena is filled with street art around the city. The best way to see it is via the Biking Tour.
What is your favorite thing to see in Cartagena? Comment below!
In our second trip to South America, we visited Colombia's stunning cosmopolitan capital city of Bogotá. The city is home to many artistic treasures, diverse landscapes, a rich political history, colorful neighborhoods. In addition, it is a great time to visit Colombia as they were recently listed as "Country of the Year" by the Economist in 2016 for their historic peace agreement, and named the world's happiest country. After our trip to Bogota, it's easy to see why.
Bogota is home to over 8 million people with an altitude of 8,500+ feet (higher than Denver!). It is surrounded by beautiful mountain typography and offers an enjoyable temperate climate (a perfect 70 degrees during our stay in late May). Many of the city's sights are easy to visit by foot. We explore the city via the Beyond Colombia Free Walking Tour which meets at 10am outside the Museo del Oro. The tour gives an excellent overview of the city's highlights and history.
Behind the scenes travel vlog of Bogota:
Here are the top 5 things to see in Bogota:
1. Museo del Oro -
One of the most popular museums in Bogota, the Gold Museum attracts over 500,000 visitors per year. The museum is filled with pre-Colombian gold treasures, ranging from jewelry, masks, to intricate artifacts. Much of the art was destroyed and turned into riches during the Spanish colonial expeditions, so it is amazing to see that these pieces survived.
2. Street Art -
Bogota is one of the top cities in the world for street art, some of which span entire building blocks. Walk through La Candelaria District to view some on your own or take the street art tour, which will show some of the best art in town.
3. Botero Museum -
The Botero Museum is a free museum in Bogota that features the works of iconic Colombian artist Fernando Botero. His works are easily identifiable because of the large figures that he depicted in painting and sculpture, which Botero explained were a play on proportions. Throughout Latin America, you will find many Botero works on display in city plazas which are considered a status symbol.
Grounds of the Botero Museum:
4. La Candelaria District -
This area is considered the historic old town and is filled with beautifully preserved architecture, colorful buildings, churches, and unique bars and restaurants. The district is a delightful place to walk around, photograph, and enjoy the local cuisine.
Pops of color in the streets - local merchants sell everything from tropical fruits, hats, desserts, to jewelry.
5. Monserrate -
Walk or take the aerial tram to the top of Monserrate for the most stunning view of Bogota. We took the tram, which offered a scenic view up the mountain. The hilltop rises about 10,341 ft above sea level and is considered a pilgrimage destination as well as a tourist attraction. At the top, you will find the Monserrate Monastery, a restaurant, and sidewalks filled with shops. It is the perfect place to capture the sunset over Bogota.
Monastery at the top of Monserrate:
View from the top of Monserrate - perfect place to capture the city from above:
We hope that you get a chance to visit Bogota, it truly is one of the most breathtaking cities in South America.
What are your favorite places in Bogota? Comment below!
Welcome to Valle De Guadalupe! This is Mexico's premiere wine region with over 100 wineries and counting. It is known for its low key atmosphere, offering a more authentic wine tasting experience and farm to table restaurants. On this day trip from San Diego, we take a guided tour to get an inside look into this exciting wine region.
We travel two hours from San Diego by car with our tour guide Mario from Baja Winery Tours. After taking the scenic route, we arrive at Santo Tomas, one of the largest wineries in the region. We take a tour of the winery where the winemaker explains the history of the region and the micro-climates that make the various types of wine.
Next, we visit Lomita, a boutique winery where we get a glimpse into the wine making process. Lomita is a smaller, more intimate setting filled with artistic murals made from a Tijuana muralist. During our visit, we got to see the wine-makers in action as they were sorting the grapes onsite.
Now time to eat. Mexico is one of my favorite foodie places in the world because of the exquisite, complex, and creative dishes. We go to Javier Plascencia's farm-to-table restaurant called Finca Altonzano, one of the top restaurants in the region. Javier is a Tijuana native, credited for helping to start the culinary scene here in Baja California. His restaurant has an onsite farm, where the ingredients are picked fresh. It makes for a truly unique and memorable experience.
If you are looking for an exciting alternative to Napa Valley, be sure to check out Valle de Guadalupe!
Finca Altozano Restaurant:
► ► http://fincaltozano.com/
Wine Tasting Tour:
Be sure to book a guide to get the most out of your trip and skip the drive!
► ► http://www.bajawinerytours.com
Purchase the Wine:
► ► http://www.trulyfinewine.com
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