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Where to stay in/by Cartagena? Manzanillo? On an Island?

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Brooklyn, NY
posts: 17
reviews: 4
Where to stay in/by Cartagena? Manzanillo? On an Island?

Hi. My wife and I and another couple are going to Cartagena for three days in March. We all feel like we want a quiet getaway, so we're thinking about staying in this place in Manzanillo. It looks okay, but the beach looks only decent--the sand is brown and the water's not that blue. Does anyone have any advice about how to spend these three days? We want to clock some beach time, but would love to do it on a beautiful beach...Thanks!

Oakland, California
posts: 723
reviews: 62
1. Re: Where to stay in/by Cartagena? Manzanillo? On an Island?

Cartagena is not the place to go for a Caribbean beach vacation. I'd suggest a different destination, you will be much happier if what you are seeking is white sand and clear blue water.

Bogota, Colombia
Destination Expert
for Colombia
posts: 2,714
reviews: 7
2. Re: Where to stay in/by Cartagena? Manzanillo? On an Island?

The better beaches are on the islands i.e. Baru, Islas Rosario and Islas San Bernardo; the Decameron Baru being the largest,other that the rest are smaller private resorts.

I would combine the best of both worlds<> Old City charm/Island beaches

Oshkosh, Wisconsin...
posts: 1
reviews: 38
3. Re: Where to stay in/by Cartagena? Manzanillo? On an Island?

The only good beach experience we had there was a boat ride to Punta Arena which is an island off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia. Near the highrise hotel district. We went to the hilton, talked to the activities person by the pool and paid $60 US dollars for a 10 minute boat ride to the island. It's a bit primitive (no roads or autos), but the beach isn't crowded with people. Warning though, the people are very poor there and we were told to make sure one of you stay on the beach with your things because if you go into the water your things wont be there when you get back. The beach seemed much cleaner, white sand and torquois colored water. We did not swim. We ended up having a couple local boys (late teens/early 20s) escort us along the shore, through and past their village. All to take some awesome photos. If you have interest in this, tell the guy at the Hilton that you want "Jessie" to escort you. Jessie had another friend go with. We walked for two hours, took motorcycle taxis back to the beach and tipped the taxi's and the guides very good. There is beer available on the beach as well. Probably some food too but we didnt hang out there long enough to find out. Take the boat ride, you won't be sorry. OH, I should mention, we were not guests at the Hilton. We just went to the desk and told them we were looking for a boat ride to the island. They are very friendly and helpful.

Los Angeles...
posts: 5
4. Re: Where to stay in/by Cartagena? Manzanillo? On an Island?

I agree that Cartagena is not the place for beaches...but I love the Getsemeni area for the culture.

Lecheria, Venezuela
Destination Expert
for Cartagena, Colombia
posts: 419
reviews: 46
5. Re: Where to stay in/by Cartagena? Manzanillo? On an Island?

Gillstein, stay in Cartagena. Go for a day trip to the Rosario Island.

Medellin, Colombia
posts: 5
reviews: 4
6. Re: Where to stay in/by Cartagena? Manzanillo? On an Island?

I went to Cartagena with my family for a week in January 2013. We had a lot of fun. It was the beginning of the slow season. We stayed at Crespo, which is like a "estrato 5" (a estrato one is the poorest one) area of Cartagena. Crespo is located next to the airport and you will see a few people with signs that say that there are apartments for rent. We paid 60k pesos per day on a one bedroom three bed half side of a house, but the rent in that house in high season is about 100k. The other side of the house was renting for 100k, but normally rents for 250k pesos and had about three bedrooms and about 5 beds or more. It was twice as large. Other places were charging 100k per day and there was a house that was renting for 250k per day. We had the AC turned on most of the day since it was hot inside. We walked to nearby beaches (there were one after the other and they looked different. The water temperature was great. It was not cold. We also went to a beach on the other side and had a lot of fun too. Then we went to beaches near the Bocagrande area and we also had a great time. The water is great, the waves are not strong and you could walk a very long distance into the sea and it would stil be at a low level. We went to the walled city about three times at different times and had a great time. We went to other attractions and took a lot of pictures. I thought of buying a place in Cartagena, but I do not like hot weather. I prefer the temperatures we get in Medellín. I have been in Medellín for several years and want to continue living there. Then make occasional trips to other cities such as Pereira, Bogotá, and some of the ones in the coasts. I have also been in Quito and is a great place to go. I give travel advise to people who want to come to Medellín and other cities I am familiar with such as Pereira.



Edited: 2:21 am, February 20, 2013
Oakland, California
posts: 723
reviews: 62
7. Re: Where to stay in/by Cartagena? Manzanillo? On an Island?

The OP said they are coming for three days. If they want a quick three day beach vacation, there are much better choices than Cartagena, where you have to wake up early and travel by boat to get to a decent beach.

8. Re: Where to stay in/by Cartagena? Manzanillo? On an Island?

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