Cartagena de Indias, Bolívar, Colombia

Cartagena de Indias is a port city and the capital of Bolívar Department, Colombia. It is located on the northern coast of the country, at the edge of the Caribbean Sea, about 120 km from Barranquilla. It has been very important to the Spanish Empire for almost three centuries; it was also a center for the slave trade itself as well as the transit of gold from looting destined for Spain. The city and its fortress are classified as World Heritage by UNESCO. There are several fortifications such as the fortress of San Felipe de Barajas and its twelve kilometers of ramparts. The historic center is inside the ramparts. It has a semi-arid tropical climate. To see: the San José Bastion, the San Fernando Fort of Bocachica, the Church of Santo Domingo, the Cathedral of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, the Gold Museum, the Church of Saint Peter Claver and the sanctuary with the relics of the saint. It is a very touristy city and also receives a lot of people thanks to the cruise ships. Most hotels, restaurants and shops are located in the Bocagrande area.

Tips

Avoid traveling in May-June or October-November as rain will be present.

Let yourself be charmed by the old colonial city, you will find many colorful and flowery balconies, monuments, even churches as small restaurants very pleasant.

For a lively night out, go to Santo Domingo Square, the perfect place to have a drink and mix with the city’s residents. You will also find a famous statue of Botero, the Gorda Gertrudis (the fat Gertrude).

If you like the beach, ask about visiting nearby islands either by land or with small excursion boats.

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada’s Pacific coast; about 100 kilometres from the city of Vancouver on the mainland. It’s one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest. It was built in 1843 as a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post. Victoria, like many Vancouver Island communities, has First Nations presence, composed of people from all over Vancouver Island and beyond. The city has a great number of students coming from other cities or countries to attend the University of Victoria, the Royal Roads University, the Victorias College of Art, among other important institutions. Lots of tourists come to visit the city too for its beautiful beaches, for its climate, not so cold as the rest of Canada and also by cruise ships that dock at Odgen Point near the city’s Inner Harbour. You’ll find restaurants, night clubs, pubs and theatres in the city centre with different regional events all year long. To see: the Parliament Buildings (1897), the Empress Hotel (1908), Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria Station Museum, Victoria Bug Zoo, Chinatown, among others.

Tips

Victoria is considered an ideal city for cycling, you’ll find hundreds of kilometres of bicycle paths, bike lanes and bike routes.
There are other activites like rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, golf, water sports, jogging; that are also very popular.
You can also take a tour to watch the whales that are often present near the coast.
You can also take the ferry all year long to go to Seattle (USA).

Bilbao, Biscay, Spain

Bilbao is the capital of the province of Biscay and the comarca of the Greater Bilbao located at the estuary of the river Nervion, in the north of Spain. This is a city that has gone through a lot of development, being other times a harbor and industrial city, with a lot of pollution. Today is a city considered as an example for several other cities that would like to change their urban planning problems. The urbanized part of the city is limited by two small mountains; Pagasarri to the south and Artxanda to the north. The old town has a medieval and Renaissance style, with seven streets leading to the Market Square of La Ribera. To see: the Cathedral of Santiago (14th and 15th century), the Basilica of Begonia (1620), the Convent of the Incarnation, the Academy of the Basque Language, the Guggenheim Museum, the Arriaga Theater (1890), the Town Hall (1892), among others.

Tips

The best time to visit the city and find it full of activities is during the celebration of the Great Week that takes place for 9 days and 8 nights, starting on the first Saturday after August, 15th. Spectacles of street, fairs, concerts, everything is there for the occasion. To get around the city by public transport, get the Creditrans which is a standardized pass that allows you to travel through the different fare zones. To get a nice view of the city, take the funicular that will take you to the mountain of Artxanda where you will also find a park. There are also two metro lines and a tram with which you can reach the Guggenheim Museum.