Day 29: San Jose – Panama City – Cartagena (Colombia)

Friday, April 26th, 2019

Just a day traveling from Costa Rica to the Colombian caribbean coast via Panama city and spend an afternoon in Cartagena, Colombia.

“Get picked up at DoubleTree by Hilton Cariari, San Jose at 05:00 am by Interbus shared shuttle.

Take flight CM0193 and the CM0686.

Get picked up at Cartagen Airport by a shared shuttle from Pure! Colombia and brought your accomodation at Selina hostel Cartagena.”

4:15 am, the alarm clock goes crazy.

At least I have a coffee machine in the room. I heat it up.

I ate my cookie.

Finalize luggage.

Out of the last “hotel” for 2 months. Now is the begin of the hostel, tent, hammock phase.

The interbus is there 10 minutes before 5:00 am. The hotel would have had offered free shuttle between 4:00 am and 23:00 pm. Bamba planning.

Airport is modern, empty, no queue at cops desk, luggage below 23 kgs, I can’t believe it.

There is a big Lavazza sign, I go for it. 6:40 am at the gate, 1:30 hrs to wait … zzzz ….

FLIGHT 6 26.04.2019 Copa Airlines CM0193 San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) 07:43 am – Panama city, Panama (PTY) 10:01; 1h14; Economy: free luggage 23 kg checked (surprisingly I am below, must be the shampoo consumption), 10 kg carry on; Seat 17A-C, Emergency Exit row, Boeing 737-800, star alliance bonus miles

Row with a view

Hallo panama!

Very hot and humid.

FLIGHT 7: 26.04.2019 Aero Republica CM0686 Panama, Panama (PTY) 11:16 am – Cartagena, Colombia (CTG) 12:23 pm; 1h07; Economy: Freigepäck: 23 kg checked, 10 kg carry on; Seat 17D-F, Emergency Exit row, Boenig 737-800, star alliance bonus miles

Row with a view. Middle seat empty.

Is the boeing xxx-9 (max) a dangerous one? The winglets look so …

Welcome to Cartagena, Colombia. Very hot and humid. 3.000 people in the queue for immigration. 30 minutes later, all fine, customs sleeps, I get out, the preordered driver awaits. I get into the small Peugeot and he drives on.

A lot of horn usage, I donot understand Spanish, but all the other drivers on the road must be idiots. I arrive at Selina hostel, Cartagena. Home for 3 nights. Room not ready, I put everything in a locker. The norwegian girl at the reception is super friendly, explains everything, books us in a more quiet room, recommends restaurants, directions, ATM, Claro shop, …

Mission 1: Money. I check out ATMs around the hotel. Plenty. Bank density in Cartagena is enormous, 12 different banks around the hostel. First one takes 14.500 charge (aprox 4 eur for 130 eur in local currency, too much).

At Davivienda I donot get charged at all with our DKB Visa. But I get only 400.000 mex pesos at once. But I change use twice. 2 times 400.000 mex for 111,98 eur; 3578 peso = 1 eur, that’s ok. The notes are 50 mille.

Mission 2: Claro SIM Card. In the hotel I checked a Claro store. Internet says you need a claro store to register your imei. I find one in la cascada, 25.000 pesos later I have 2 GB for 15 days. The prepaid sim was 5.000 (1.5 eur). Hard to check consumption. Nobody speaks english, even with Google translate, I donot find a solution. Later I find out the only possibility is with claro app.

Mission 3: Food. I didnot eat since morning. So I walk the old City for food. At the cathedral de Santa Catalina Alejandra I find a frozen yogurt cereal fruit bowl shop (goyurt). Delicious.

On our way to the city tour I find a bakery gokela and buy a sandwich. even better.

The alley of the misses, all misses of Colombia and very important, two made it to miss universe. Where are the Misters? Mee, too!!

The clocktower, symbol of Cartagena…

Mission 3: Free city walking tour. I go to the main plaza for the free walking tour. I am preregistered for the tour at 16:00 hrs. The two guys with blue umbrellas divide the group in English speaking (majority, ~20), Spanish speaking (5). 10 minutes past 16:00 they start, both are equipped with micro and speaker. Within 15 min our guide sweats. He explains the history and the buildings, while we walk.

Simon bolivar:

The guide recommends 8 usd per person for the free tour. I give him 20k pesos for 2 and go back to the hotel, nice tour. But not to impressive. A lot of recommendations for consumptions. Hell of street seller here. Thet sell everything, water, fruits, sugarcandy, sundglasses, caps, …

I back to selina and get my room. -5° C inside. Bigger, better than expected. No outside window, but to the staircase. Everything here and clean. Sort out laundry. Bring it to the lobby. Have to fill out a form for every piece. Checkout rooftop pool and restaurant. Ah, it is a discotheque.

Walk for dinner to the place next to selina the Norwegian girl from reception recommended “oh la la”.

White fish in maracuja.

Yucca gnocchi in gorgonzola.

Mashed potatoes.


After dinner I go back to my room, put my hostel-noise-protection made2measure earplugs from neuroth in and sleep like a baby.

Accomodation: Selina Hostel, Cartagena, Colombia

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