Quick guide to visit the Colombian Caribbean
If you need a good vacation, we have the ideal destination: Colombia. Few hours are enough for you to fall in love with this country, although you would need several lives to discover all the secrets that it hides. To make your task easier, we tell you some curious facts about Cartagena and San Andrés.
Author: Eugenia Fernández
The Sea of Seven Colors
How many shades of blue do you know? The sea that surrounds this Colombian island can teach you some new ones. The fault lies with the corals and the different depths of the sand, which, when reflecting the sunlight, stain the crystalline waters with nuances that range from dark blue to a translucent light blue. This phenomenon, unique in the world, is best seen from the heights, upon your arrival by plane or practicing ‘kite surfing’ on one of its beaches.
To preserve this marine rainbow, Unesco has declared it a Biosphere Reserve with the name of Seaflower. With 300,000 square kilometers, it is one of the biosphere reserves with the largest marine area.
The (also multicolored) seabed
The festival of colors continues underwater. Snorkeling and diving lovers will enjoy all the biodiversity offered by the depths of San Andrés and the rest of the islands of the archipelago – Providencia and Santa Catalina – where more than 77% of the coral areas of Colombia are found.
One of the best places to explore this biodiversity is Rose Cay, an islet facing the eastern side of the island, which is also known as The Aquarium. Of course, it has nothing to do with the aquariums you know: fish and ray blankets swim freely through its calm and shallow waters.
The Portal of Sweets
Modernity is knocking on the door of Cartagena, with colonial mansions transformed into boutique hotels and gourmet restaurants which fuse Colombian cuisine with flavors from around the world. But there are traditions that remain, such as the Portal of Sweets, in Plaza de los Autos. A dream for the sweet tooth, it is a showcase of exotic jams, pastries and biscuits.
The palenqueras, descendants of the black slaves who founded the nearby San Basilio de Palenque, have been responsible for tempting the sweet tooth with their delicacies for generations.
Paradise right in front
Only fifteen minutes separate the coast of San Andres from the floating oasis of Johnny Cay. From the other shore, the islet of palm trees and white sand invites the observer to swim across if necessary. It is best to take a boat in Spratt Bay and arrive at its catalog beaches as soon as possible.
Once there, you just have to enjoy the sun and take the opportunity to soak up your Caribbean atmosphere. You can eat fresh fish in one of its restaurants, try Coco Loco, the local drink, or try to photograph some of the exotic reptiles that inhabit the island. Our favorite is the blue lizard, although its skin does not have as many nuances as the sea.
The Door of the Clock
Also known as Clock Tower, it is the main gateway to the walled city and the only one existing at the time of its construction. Previously, it was known as Boca del Puente, because at its feet was a drawbridge that linked the historic center with the Getsemaní neighborhood.
The clock was not placed until the early eighteenth century, but thanks to that, the Clock Gate is one of the most beautiful clock towers in the world, honor that shares with London’s Big Ben and Prague’s Astronomical Clock.