Let me start by saying, phew! I was scouring the web looking for an appropriate hotel for my upcoming combo business/vacation trip. Completely excited for my first trip to Cartagena, I checked in with friends who had been to Colombia before and asked them what they thought my best options were. I had always heard of the area called Boca Grande, but had heard even more about the historic city, the walled city of old Cartagena De Indias. Since most of my business happenings were taking place outside of that part of Cartagena, I opted to keep things simple and stay in Boca Grande at the InterContinental Cartagena De Indias. This was the place that offered me a great location, access to my business meetings and then when my friends arrived, we had everything we wanted just steps away and what wasn’t was easily reached by short taxi ride.
Plaza Bolivar was an urban oasis for me after meetings as I took a stroll back to the hotel. This park is surrounded by the brightly painted facades that are typical to the city. Filled with locals taking a break from their routine, or maybe this was part of their routine, I felt I was gaining some insight into their way of life, rather than being a mere tourist. When my friends arrived, my business obligations had all been taken care of and we took evening strolls. One night I showed them “my park” and to all our delight, there were hordes of people gathered in different corners of the public green, listening to live music. This was out of a movie for us. Normally at this time of year, hanging outside in a park means being bundled up in scarves and caps and coats, so hilling in shorts and light shirts made things that much cooler.
The areas that surrounded the hotel were exactly our vibe; very hip and full of Colombian culture and history. The InterContinental suited us perfectly. It is enclosed by the palace, churches and museums, it offered us a stunning view over the bay. We hardly ever left the place. We had private beach access for when we weren’t hitting up the swimming pool or jumping into the spa for some bonding time over shared experiences of getting all the kinks worked out. There was one day that we decided to spread our wings and do the proverbial touristy thing. We took a taxi into the walled city and shopped for gold, straw hats, ate fruit on the street and had the mandatory ceviche stop when we got puckish. That was a great day. When we came back to the hotel in Boca Grande, we spent the evening on the rooftop watching the sun set and called it an early night. Flights were being taken the following morning so a late night was not in the cards. We saw a lot here and know there is a ton more to see. We will be back.