From the wintery blister of Buffalo, we headed to tropical Cartagena, Colombia for New Year’s. Cartagena is located on the Caribbean coast and features an old colonial city surrounded by a protective wall. I didn’t expect to like Cartagena because I expected it to be just like Panama City. It totally exceeded my expectations. While the colonial city felt similar to Casco Viejo in Panama City- it was much bigger and focused on tourism. Usually this would be a turn off, but the spirit was so lively and colorful that we really enjoyed it.
The first day, we actually escaped the city and took an hour long boat ride to Paradise Island. We had a day pass to a resort there so we were able to relax, use their paddle boards, swim in their cove, and explore the island. The boys were in their element back on the beach.
The next day, Lita flew down to join us. The boys loved running atop the city wall to find canons and pretend fight pirates. We also took a carriage tour and had some fun at a chocolate making workshop.
We also were able to watch an incredible firework display from our apartment for New Year’s Eve. By some miracle the kids and Lita slept through it
After Cartagena, we flew to Medellin. Medellin is a very popular destination for expats living in Panama. It has a reputation for being beautiful, modern, cheap, etc. I have to say- it didn’t live up to the hype for us. Maybe we’re just tired of being away from home or maybe cities are just stressful for us, but we found it crowded and hard to navigate. The mountains around it are beautiful, and I certainly appreciated the cooler weather. The best thing is the museums. We spent two whole days exploring Parque Explora, Parque Norte and the planetarium. We even visited the water museum organized by the city works. This is the type of stuff I miss having in our small town.
Parque Explora has a dinosaur themed area and PJC was in heaven. AJC got really into the music room. I think I might have a drummer on my hands.
Parque Norte is filled with little carnival rides and also housed the city’s biggest Christmas light display.
The boys grew very close during this trip. There is nothing better than seeing them have fun together. However by the end of the trip, we were grateful for the experience and ready to go home. It had been a month since we left our house. It’s always good when you love the home you return to.