Where do I even begin when talking about a place like Cartagena, Colombia?
I arrived at Rafael Núñez International Airport at around 1 PM CST after a chilly morning trying to get to LaGuardia on time for my 6 AM Delta flight (thank goodness for Pre-check). As I walked off the plane at my destination (after a short layover in Atlanta), I was met with a virtual wall of moisture in the form of a fine mist of water hovering in the air.
A coastal city near the equator, the humidity in Cartagena was off the charts, but not unpleasant and sticky, unlike New York City during the summer months. The consistent gentle ocean breeze keeps the air from becoming stagnant, and whatever dry skin issues I was dealing with in New York quickly disappeared as I made my way to the customs entrance at the airport.
Getting through immigration and customs was a chore; it always is no matter what when you travel internationally. Long lines and clearly disinterested workers make for a burdensome experience every time.
I finally got through the line and exchanged my funds, that’s when the REAL pimping began, starting with a seemingly friendly porter who took my luggage literally five feet and wanted a tip. I gave him a few dollars, but be warned. Insist on taking your own luggage to the cab.
The cab driver and I settled on a price (extraordinarily reasonable) and I was off to my home for the next 2.5 days; the Hotel Intercontinental in the Bocagrande section of Cartagena. I talk more about my hotel experience here, but needless to say, it was the right choice for a luxury and creature comfort monster like me. The trip down the coast really made an impression on me. It’s one thing to go to Miami and see this, but to be in a foreign country where beach = life, smartphones aren’t prominent, and kids are genuinely having fun running around was refreshing.