Sail into Backpacker Paradise – Cartagena, Colombia

Top Backpacking Destinations Ranking – 8/10

Backpacking is about adventures, experiencing things you would never do at home and living life to the full. One thing that very few people will do in their lives is sail across Caribbean waters and play on an island which only has room for one palm tree and a handful of people. This is the adventure that is on offer when you reach Cartagena on Colombia’s north coast.

But Cartagena is not just a gateway to a sailing adventure, it is a beautiful city, full of character and containing a beautiful mix of South American charm and Caribbean atmosphere. The main town illustrates its colonial history, fully walled with decorative, colourful buildings that will delight any backpacker worth their salt. Whilst its nearby beaches are not incredible, a short trip up the coast will leave you spoilt for choice, whether you go to Taganga, Santa Marta or the myriad of other options. But unless you have been totally starved of the best beaches South America has to offer then you should certainly hang around in the city for a while to savour the incredible feel and take in the wonderful architecture. And that’s not all. Other once in a lifetime experiences on offer include a mud bath in a volcano – and if that’s not enough to get your backpacking juices flowing then you deserve to be on the first plane home!

And then we get to the sailing. If you have just a drip of adventure in your travelling blood then you can’t miss the 5 day trip which leaves from Cartagena and drops you off in Panama with a lovely 2 day stop over in the San Blas islands, miles from civilisation. It’s the trip of a lifetime, and if you’re backpacking around South America it should be top of your list. But more details will be revealed in a blog post all of its own…

Moral of the story, go backpacking to Cartagena and you won’t be disappointed. And dont be fooled into thinking it’s just a gateway to other great destinations, because it’s a top spot all on its own.

Disagree with these tips or have even more beauties of your own? Share them in the comments for all to enjoy!

Want to discover more backpacking destinations in South America?

Or get the Lonely Planet Guide here: Colombia (Lonely Planet Country Guide)