Take a chance at winning a trip to Cartagena.
Cartagena was one of Spain’s most highly prized cities in the New World during the colonial period. Spices, exotic animals, gold, silver, gems, natural resources, and people flowed through its port and across the Atlantic, making the city one of the wealthiest in the Western Hemisphere. Likewise, for 250 years Cartagena was a prime target for privateers, pirates, and other invaders; it was sacked, burned to the ground, and taken over on multiple occasions. Though the city had always risen again — it’s still there.
Though the tangible wealth of Cartagena’s colonial past has long been looted and carted away, some unexpected riches were left behind. Oddly, the dilapidated 200 year old colonial buildings that stood half abandoned and virtually forgotten for decades have become Cartagena’s new claim to economic prowess. The old city is still standing behind its venerable 12 km of stone walls and castles. It was named a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1984, and the city soon became a beacon for invaders of a different type: travelers and tourists.
Over 200,000 visitors are flooding into the Cartagena each year and over 200 cruise lines now stop there. Centuries-old buildings are being restorated and converted into boutique hotels and nightclubs, and streets that were once havens for criminal activity are quickly being cleaned up and gentrified, as the city climbs as one of the top tourist destinations in South America.
I arrived in Cartagena in the winter of 2011, and it was easy to see why it was becoming so popular: the place was impressive. The old city’s wall and castles rise right up from the glistening Caribbean and there are expansive beaches that line the coast. The city’s antiquated architecture spans across entire districts, providing enough fodder for many days of strolling and gawking. Some of the buildings are old and worn, providing a feeling of genuineness, while others have been restored, providing an impression of what they were like when the city was among the richest in the world.
I’d spent many years traveling through Latin America — from Mexico to the south of Patagonia — and Cartagena immediately struck me as something very different from anything else I’ve seen in this region. I stayed for a month, walking before the towering walls that flank the sea chatting with fishermen, befriending a troupe of mimes who reenact scenes from the city’s history in the streets, eating good food, interviewing street vendors, watching dancers decked out in an array of costumes in the plazas, and gazing at architecture.
LAN Airlines is giving away a free trip for two to Cartagena. They will provide the winner with round trip tickets from anywhere in the USA along with a four day, three night stay at the Casa San Agustin, a hotel located in a restored colonial building within the walled old town. Entering this contest is free and only takes a few moments: Click here to enter the contest now.
*Contest ends on September 4, 2014.
*The contest is only open to citizens of the USA.
*This is a sponsored post. This means that we are getting paid to promote this contest. The views and opinions are our own.