Cartagena is a wonderfully vibrant city full of history and culture, from its colonial architecture and original city walls to its many and varied museums. There are also many parks and beaches providing opportunities to relax and unwind. A trip to Colombia would be incomplete without a visit to this city boasting Café Havana, Casa Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and its local mud bath volcano. Below I’ve put together a three-day itinerary for seeing the best of Cartagena, with ideas for what to do afterwards.
The capital of Colombia’s Antioquia province, and the second largest city in Colombia, Medellín is a monstrously large, thriving metropolis. The city has done a huge amount of work to move away from its notoriously violent past and reputation as the ‘murder capital of the world’ and is now known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ due to its consistently temperate climate. Within the city you will find an eclectic mix of commercial, colonial, industrial and urban areas, as well as multiple outdoor spaces, tourist-centric areas, affluent areas and the poor barrios, all connected by the Metro system. AJ and I spent five days exploring Medellín and nearby attractions and found that, while overall we had a brilliant time, there were things about Medellín that we did not enjoy. In this article I’ll be going through my favourite and least favourite things about Medellín.
Cali is a beautiful city in the southwest of Colombia, full of a mixture of new and old-style buildings, beautiful examples of colonial architecture, impressive street art, fabulous (and not-so-fabulous) parks, and interesting museums. Top all that off with some really nice food options and Cali is definitely worth a visit. AJ and myself spent two days exploring the San Antonio area of Cali; in this article, I will go through the sights we explored and how we found them.
Over the course of a month AJ and I flew, bussed and hiked our way around Ecuador, soaking up everything the country had to offer. We found Ecuador to be a land of wildly varying climates and environments – from the humid and lush cloud forest of Mindo, to the scorching hot beaches of the Galapagos Islands, to the ever-changing weather within the urban landscapes of the mountainous cities and towns. We had the opportunity to experience many different activities during our time there and came away from this incredibly beautiful country with a whole slew of amazing memories. Here are my favourite memories from our time in Ecuador.
You can read all about my Ecuador adventures here.
Cuenca is a lovely colonial town in the south of Ecuador, full of beautiful buildings, street art, and interesting museums. Everything in the town is within walking distance, so you can easily spend your days there wandering from place to place, enjoying the scenery as you go, and taking a break in one of the many cafes and restaurants dotted throughout the town. AJ and I spent three days there exploring as much of Cuenca as we could, including;
If you look at a map of Ecuador, you will see that there are numerous towns called Baños, which is a little confusing. The town I’m talking about, and the Baños that most travel books and blogs will be talking about is Baños de Agua Santa which is located just south of Ambato. It is best known for its hot springs and adventure activity, and after the Quilotoa Loop hike, it was the perfect place to chill out and have some fun in for a few days.
While it once had a less-than-stellar reputation (and in a sense still does – I get strange looks every time I tell people that I enjoyed my stay), Guayaquil is growing as a city and a tourist destination. A lot of work has been done to improve its appeal and I would encourage travellers to take a few days to explore and enjoy this vibrant city, rather than just using it as a pitstop on the way to the Galapagos Islands or other Ecuadorian cities. Here are my top things to do while staying in Guayaquil.
After five weeks of travelling around Peru, hopping from town to town, experiencing absolutely everything there was to experience everywhere we went, AJ and I were EXHAUSTED, and clearly suffering from traveller burnout. We were out-museumed, out-churched, just totally out-travelled. What we needed was a break, and we found the perfect haven in Máncora.