Solo travel in Cartagena in five Vignettes

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Caution as well as Payoff

My guard is up as I land in Cartagena. Not only is this my very first time in Colombia, it’s my very first time in South America since 2008. as well as that trip was just to Buenos Aires, which one might suggest is Europe’s most southwesternmost point.

This trip is different, even for a seasoned solo female traveler like me. I don’t understand exactly how risk-free it’s going to be on the ground, as well as I requirement to be more careful than usual.

With no ATM at the airport, I have my driver stop at a bank on the method to my guesthouse. I take my valuables-stuffed day bag into the vestibule with me as well as keep an eye on the taxi — he wouldn’t drive away with my huge bag, would he?

Of program not. He waits for me as well as I return to the vehicle flush with cash.

He drops me off at my guesthouse; I inspect in (cheering on the inside that I did it completely in Spanish!); I location my tech gear, jewelry, as well as passport in my portable risk-free as well as lock it around the base of the toilet; I procure a SIM card (again in Spanish!).

Later in the streets of Getsemaní, Cartagena’s onetime red light district, I yearn to photograph whatever in sight however keep my camera in my bag. I don’t understand exactly how risk-free it is to have my camera out here. I’m sure I can do it — however not just yet.

Over time, I relax a bit. I get comfortable photographing Getsemani — however only during the day. I take Ubers house from the Old City after dark instead of walking. whatever remotely valuable is locked up in the portable safe.

Maybe it’s a bit excessively cautious. however I end up leaving Colombia without a single mishap.

Blending In

I throw on skinny jeans, a storage tank top, as well as flip-flops before heading out.

It doesn’t noise like much of an outfit, however this was intentionally planned. I gown to blend in anywhere I go. Latin American women tend to keep their legs covered during the day, so that’s what I do, too. denim are the rule, even if temperatures soar above 100 degrees.

I’m not trying to pass as Colombian. I’m trying to pass as a woman who understands Colombia well, perhaps a longtime expat or regular visitor. At the extremely least, covering my legs provides me with significantly less street harassment. I discovered that in Nicaragua.

I soon show up in the Old City, gaping at the vibrant colors as well as giant doors. This location is lovely however touristy as hell. as well as almost every foreign female tourist I pass has her legs bared. Rompers, a garments product to which I’ve never warmed, are especially popular.

Soon it becomes remove that denim aren’t the most comfortable thing to wear. It’s HUMID. Grotesquely so. growing up in Massachusetts, I’m utilized to hardcore humidity in the summer, the kind that you can almost carve with your fingers — however Cartagena is a number of times worse than anything I’ve ever felt.

Within minutes my denim feel like ten layers of thermal underwear. I ultimately throw myself into an air-conditioned cafe to recover, a pattern that will repeat with frequency over the next few days.

I look at the weather condition forecast as well as it will be thunderstorming on as well as off for the next week. August is a great time to go to Bogota as well as Medellin, however not so much for the Caribbean Coast.

I inspect out the report for Santa Marta, a few hours up the coast. exact same deal.

For the very first time, I’m regretting my option to go with Colombia instead of Peru. winter would have been so much much better for the coast.

I do a bit flight research study as well as the decision is made: I’m leaving Cartagena after three nights, skipping the rest of the Caribbean coast, as well as heading directly to Medellín. It’s in the mountains with a spring-like climate year-round. as well as it is. Medellín is pure sunshine.

Later, well-traveled buddies tell me that Cartagena is the most damp location they’ve ever been, too.

The Beginning

I stop by a nice-looking bakery as well as inspect out the situation at the front, full of beautiful, painstakingly built pastries.

I’m about to grab a table when a blonde woman stops me as well as says, “Kate?”

I quickly suck in my tummy as well as pull my resting frown into a gracious grin, increasing my eyebrows in friendly expectatnullnull

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