After strolling through the beautiful historical centre of Cartagena, we decided to visit one of the main sights: the Castillo San Felipe. It is a fortress in the city which was built on the Dan Lazaro hill and due to its strategic position protected the city from attacks by land or sea. Together with the historical centre of Cartagena it was declared Unesco World Heritage site in 1984. The castle is a very impressing construction in triangular shape and owns four control stations and eight canons. Nowadays it is used as a popular location for big events and one of the must-see sights for tourists in Cartagena.
At night we decided to go for a salsa tour which would take us completely off the beaten tourist track to famous salsa bars where only locals go. During this tour we were able to dive completely into the culture and two salsa teachers were accompanying us! This way my friends were able to learn the basic salsa steps in totally original and authentic places! Our first stop was still very touristy as it was the salsa bar “Donde Fidel” in the historical centre. We even met Señor Don Fidel there. The bar was filled with hundreds of photographs with the salsa master and the music was so loud that you should actually take some earplugs.
Then we went by car to a neighbourhood far away from the touristic historical centre to another part of Cartagena – normally no tourist would find their way there. Our next stop was “La Charranga de Josep Black” which has been a famous salsa bar since about 15 years. It was still pretty early when we got there and therefore a little empty. First the locals looked a little bit confused of seeing tourists in their bar, but as soon as we started dancing they were very happy and started to share their bottles of rum and aguardiente with us and asked us to dance with them. So we enjoyed some great time there before we headed on to the next bar – the famous “Safari Salsa Club”. Here we also rocked the dance floor and everyone looked suprised about seeing the tourists dancing. The salsa teachers who accompanied us taught the basic steps to my friends and we really loved this local dancing experience.
Afterwards we went to “El Koreano” where we had a midnight snack with an egg arepa which is very famous for the Caribbean Coast. At this place which was outside everyone just enjoyed dancing and listening to salsa music and watching football while drinking beer, rum or aguardiente. Our last stop of the tour was the salsa bar “Vueltabajero” which was a bar of two floors and full of salsa lovers! Here we also moved our bodies to the salsa rhythms in the middle of the plastic chairs and tables! Actually it was the same in every place we entered, the locals looked a little surprised but as soon as we started dancing they were just happy and started dancing with us and offered us to share their alcoholic drinks with us! My friends told me afterwards that this experience was one of their highlights during their trip through Colombia. Thanks to Cartagena Insider for such an amazing experience. And while we were enjoying a great tour, we supported the artists and communities in these neighbourhoods as a donation for them is included in the tours!
We finished our dancing night at the famous Havanna bar which is in the Getsemani neighbourhood. But after this local experience it was pretty weird to be in this bar full of tourists (who mostly didn’t know how to dance) but we enjoyed the live music of a Cuban band there and finished a great salsa night with some more dancing and the typical Colombian aguardiente!