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Culture clash

In stark contrast, the Cartagena of today has never been so at ease with clashing cultures, and that’s what draws people in. A magical melting pot of Carib, African and European dwellers, it’s that which keeps it at the top of the list of Colombia’s must-visit destinations, producing a thriving fusion food scene and a diversity that makes daily life an endless round of sensory experiences. The to-die-for location on the Caribbean Sea doesn’t hurt, either.

Nowhere is this truer than Getsemani, a once run-down neighbourhood a five-minute walk from the Old Town’s landmark clock tower. Once a down-at-heel barrio riddled with drugs and gangs, significant improvements to policing and sizeable investment in the area means Getsemani now offers a buzz similar to that of London’s Dalston a few years back. It’s still gritty, sure. But a flurry of independent bars, the freshest hole-in-the-wall pizzerias, fairy-lit music dens and elegant, artistic coffee shops line the streets, enticing you with the prospect of a laidback ambience and throat-tinglingly strong rum con coco (rum with coconut cream). For just 7000 Colombian pesos (less than £2), this creamy concoction, drunk to a steel drum version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow, reminds me that I could be nowhere other than the Caribbean coast.


Colombia's Cartagena on the Caribbean coast offers a life more colourful
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