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Cartagena is one of those places that can morph into what you need it to be. Having served as a main port for shipping Spanish loot back to the Spain, the city has a long and colorful (especially red) history, much of which is still on display in the form of castles, cannons, and well-preserved colonial architecture. For those who just want a beach resort experience, there are plenty of high end resorts to choose from. And for those who are looking for seedier pursuits, well, let's just say there's plenty to go around for them too. I personally found the old town to be very charming...for a while. As an area inhabited entirely by tourists, the number and aggression of the vendors selling hats and sunglasses was on a level I haven't seen anywhere else in my travels. Normally my most used spanish phrase is "buenos dias", but here, it is "no gracias". Still, visiting Cartagena can be a lot of fun, you just have to be prepared.

The view from the Castle San Felipe de Barajas.

If you need a sombrero, I assure you you will have no trouble finding one.

Roaming street rappers will rap for you for a few bucks. I'd translate, but, there might be kids reading this ;)

Strolling through the old town.

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