The girls and I recently sailed through the Panama Canal and stopped – all too briefly – in the beautiful, beautiful Colombian city of Cartagena.

Cartagena architecture

Strolling through the lively old city, I was struck by the vibrant colours of the colonial architecture. Seemed to go well with the sultry heat, too.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has included the city on its list of cultural heritage with outstanding universal value. For very good reason, I think.

Cartagena and pirates

Cartagena – such a fabulous name, isn’t it? It evokes thoughts of mystery, romance, and … well, Jack Sparrow.

This busy, lively Caribbean city was once one of the three most important ports in the West Indies (along with Havana, Cuba and San Juan, Puerto Rico) and very attractive to pirates. (Shouldn’t be surprised if a few of them ended up at Execution Dock in London).

Sir Francis Drake did his best to wreak havoc on Cartagena – a hero home in England but a brutal pirate in the eyes of the Spanish. Interesting how nothing really changes… one country’s hero is another country’s terrorist.

I fell completely in love with this city and immediately put it near the very top of my list of places I want to explore further. Think I might like to stay in this hotel (above), for the gorgeous, deep orange colour alone. Sadly, I can’t remember the name. Are you familiar with Cartagena? Perhaps you know the name? Do let me know, please.

What’s your favourite city and what do you adore about it?

unesco logo

The Port, Fortresses and Group of Monuments, Cartagena is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Here are more UNESCO World Heritage sites around the world.