the select cities
As you probably know by now, I'm a sucker for a direct flight on JetBlue. My obsession begins at Terminal 5 at JFK, continues on to Cinema-Style Pop Corners and ends, of course, with free in-flight Wifi. So when I only have a few days to get away, the Destination list on the JB website is my BFF and this past March the lucky winner was Cartagena, Colombia. From New York, it's a super quick flight and I had heard such amazing things that I couldn't pass up the opportunity. Plus it was perfect for my whole family: historic city to explore and gorgeous beaches just a quick boat ride away. The Murphy version of Surf + Turf. So off we went and while I can't say it was my absolute favorite vacation, I can say it's worth a quick trip. Read on for my Selects!
A few tips on CARTAGENA:
- It's hot. I mean, hot like you read about. We were there in the "cool" season and it was no less than 98 every day with 180% humidity. And you're dangerously close to the equator, so please don't even consider going out without sunscreen and reapply every other minute. I let my son talk me out of an hour of protection and he ended up unable to walk and with a face full of sun blisters. Good times.
- While most places use filtered water, I would say bottled is still best.
- Don't forget you're in a Third World country. The hotels inside the walled city are mostly high end and the people are incredibly friendly, but things like food safety haven't quite reached US standards (or any standards, really). So while you might be tempted to eat raw fish off a dirty cafeteria tray in the middle of the ocean (maybe I did this), think twice. Because while I know we are all just one small parasite away form our ideal body weight, it sounds much more glam than it actually is.
- Eat palettas (popsicles) anytime you see them. Especially the flavors of the country: tamarind, green mango, dulce du leche.
- Also, wat arena's from street carts. I know what I said about being careful, and you should be, but the typical Cartagenian arepa is different from the ones you get here in America. They are fried and if you can snag one in the morning, there's a perfectly fried egg inside.
- DO NOT FREAK OUT AT THE AIRPORT. When you leave Cartagena, the security is intense. They pull you aside for "interviews" as you're checking in for your flight and everyone gets a friendly pat down going through security. It's standard procedure so