Highlights of Mountainous Medellín & Coastal Cartagena

For Thanksgiving 2017, I visited my 58th country: Colombia. A week in mountainous Medellín and coastal Cartagena. This is my #1 recommendation from each city, in photos…

Medellín #1 Recommendation: Comuna 13

Until just a few years ago, Comuna 13 was the most dangerous neighbourhood in one of the most dangerous cities in the world: Medellín. You probably heard the stories of drug cartels murdering entire police forces.

Thankfully, the police eventually prevailed over the cartels, and the Colombian government has since invested a lot of resources into rebuilding a surprisingly warm community.

But the government aren’t responsible for the main thing that makes Comuna 13 special today.

Credit must go to the people themselves.

Specifically, the street artists.

I would highly recommend the Comuna 13 graffiti walking tour (run by the artists themselves and supporting the community) to anyone visiting Medellín.


Cartagena #1 Recommendation: Old Town

The best thing to do in Cartagena is completely free. Just explore the walled Old Town.

Cartagena is the most comparable city to Havana that I have ever visited.

Cartagena’s architecture truly is spectacular. I fell head over heels for it.


Cartagena Runner Up: Isla Bella

Since it’s unlikely anyone would visit Cartagena without exploring the old town anyway, my recommendation for a less obvious experience would be Isla Bella.

I knew I wanted to visit one of the gorgeous islands of Cartagena, and did a lot of research into the various options before settling on Isla Bella. It was more expensive, but as a private island, there would be no crowds, no hawkers, and low risk of theft.

Plus, it’s just plain gorgeous.

One of the most relaxing mornings I’ve ever had!