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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Walking Around Cartagena, Colombia

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

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Located on the northern tip of South America and right on the Caribbean Sea, Cartagena is packed with history.

Together with Havana, Cuba and San Juan, Puerto Rico, the port of Cartagena was an essential link in the great commercial maritime routes of the West Indies. It played and important part in the history of world exploration.

Today, friendly people, a delicious variety of food, and with the colors of the Caribbean, this city offers a surprise at every turn.

Come take a walk with us!

Map at Pan de Bono coffee shop, Cartagena, Colombia

Map at Pan de Bono Coffee Shop

On the wall of our "favorite" coffee shop, Pan de Bono, you can see on this map that Cartagena borders the Caribbean Ocean. The Walled City itself is easily walkable. Parks, plazas, Colonial buildings, cultural expressions, churches, and miscellaneous vendors and shops all offer photo opportunities.

Lovely Afro-Colombiana outside a cafe, Cartagena, Colombia

Lovely Afro-Colombiana outside a cafe

The physical beauty of Cartagena's people is hard to miss.

 

 

 

 

Outside of cafes, restaurants and jewelry stores you will often find well dressed, engaging men and women who want to convince you to come inside the establishment.

The tropical headband with the cloth flower that this young woman is wearing is sold on the streets by vendors who make them. They are lively and beautiful and can dress up an everyday ponytail.

A typical corner building

We're in the tropics, and vines are everywhere climbing up buildings. Flowering plants drip from balconies, and the buildings themselves are brightly painted in Caribbean colors.

A vendor selling fresh coconut on the street, Cartagena, Colombia

A vendor selling fresh coconut on the streets of Cartagena

If you have never eaten fresh coconut in the tropics, I'm here to let you know it's heavenly.

I come from the Midwest, and I have memories of bags of dried coconut (almost down to a powder) on the bakery aisle shelves in the grocery stores. In the dead of winter, Moms all over the town would buy these bags of dried coconut to make a coconut cream pie in an attempt to bring some summer flavor to their families.

Nice try.

Really.

I can't tell you how many times I have heard other Midwesterners say: "I don't like coconut." And it's understandable.

Fresh coconut straight out of the nut itself is a marvel. Coconut water is refreshing and baked coconut is chewy and sweet, not dry at all.

Fresh coconut meat, and the fresh water itself, are good for your health. High in Manganese (think bone health and metabolism of carbs, proteins and cholesterol), rich in copper, iron, selenium and antioxidants, coconut has more potassium ounce per ounce than 4 bananas.

Perfect for hydration in hot climates!

The clock tower and main entrance into the Walled City of Cartagena, Colombia

The clock tower and main entrance into the Walled City of Cartagena

To the left of this tower and walled section is where the sea comes into Cartagena like a canal. In the olden days, ships docked a short distance from this entrance in order to unload their shipments and to pick up new cargo to be exported.

Inside the wall to the left is the Aduana Plaza, where goods were legally registered and taxed, both for unloading into the city, and for export.

Directly behind this clock is the Plaza de los Coches, previously known as La Plaza de los Esclavos or the Slave Plaza. This is where humans were auctioned off for purchase after their value had been determined at the Aduana Plaza.

Pirate ship museum, Cartagena, Colombia

Pirate ship museum

Here in the canal at the front of the Clock Tower (Torre de Reloj) is a pirate ship museum. Down further (you can see the masts in the lower right) is another pirate ship museum, called Galeon Bucanero. You can board these ships to see what it might have been like to sail on a pirate ship in the 17th century.

The Galeon Bucanero was built in Brazil in 1991 and sailed to this port. There are also restaurants and a bar in front of the ship (the fenced-in area did not make for a good photo) where you can enjoy Caribbean food and drinks.

Local Colombianas, Cartagena, Colombia

Local Colombianas

These young ladies are taking a break from the heat by sitting on a stone planter in the city.

If you look beyond these sun-hatted lovelies, you see a Palenquera in her native dress. The roll of yellow cloth on top of her head is where she rests the basket of jungle grown fruit she carries around town to sell.

A Palenquera on the phone, Cartagena, Colombia

A Palenquera on the phone

Palenqueras have vividly colorful local dress. They seem to embody the whole flavor of the Caribbean with their bold and fearless floral patterns.

Palenqueras are the direct descendants of the humans stolen from Africa to be sold here in Cartagena. In their town of Palenque, these Afro-Colombianos were able to salvage their customs, dance, food and language of Africa and to live in freedom.

Today, their influence is integral to the history and appearance of Cartagena.

Narrow streets in the city of Cartagena, Colombia

Narrow streets in the city

Many streets in the city of Cartagena are narrow with two and three story Colonial buildings. In this modern age, both the sidewalks and the streets seem barely able to accommodate the passing of locals and tourists.

A building the color of Key Lime Pie, Cartagena, Colombia

A building the color of Key Lime Pie

We are Retire Lifestyle Mentors. Our goal is to help you achieve your retirement dreams.

Here's another look at a narrow street in Cartagena. We saw several buildings the color of Key Lime Pie. They were just beautifully painted and perfect for a photo!

Butterscotch colored building with vine covered balconies, Cartagena, Colombia

Butterscotch colored building with vine covered balconies

Seriously, it's so delightful to walk around the Walled City of Cartagena. One can only imagine how things must have looked in the days of horse drawn carriages.

The Walled City of Cartagena has achieved the UNESCO title due to the city's integrity, authenticity and historical value. The city has been well-maintained and even though it has moved into the modern world, it has not suffered from "adverse effects of development and/or neglect."

Church of St. Peter Claver, the "slave to the slaves." Cartagena, Colombia

Church of St. Peter Claver, the "slave to the slaves."

Peter Claver was born in Spain but wanted to dedicate his life to helping humans who were suffering.

 

 

 

 

At 10,000 slaves imported yearly through this famous port of Cartagena, St. Peter Claver had his work cut out for him. He entered the crowded holds of the slave ships and nursed their wounds when they arrived from Africa. Through an interpreter, he ministered to their troubled minds and hearts.

When these men, women and children were herded from the ship and penned in nearby yards to be scrutinized by crowds of buyers, Claver joined them with medicine, food, bread, brandy, lemons and tobacco.

He took a personal vow to be the "slave to the slaves" and worked for them in every way for 40 years. Often he would beg in the streets to receive whatever he could, only to turn around and give those items to the Africans in need.

He became famous for his selfless love and devotion. So much so, that pirates and noblemen would go to him for confession and to receive his blessing.

He died on 8 September 1654 and was canonized in 1888 by Pope Leo XIII.

Delightful, fun and witty Palenqueras, Cartagena, Colombia

Delightful, fun and witty Palenqueras

These Palenqueras were fun, very engaging, sexy and spirited.

They live in Palenque, about an hour away from Cartagena, and come into town to sell their jungle-grown fruit. They will pose and dance for your photos or videos and in return, they ask to be paid. It's a pittance, really, but I would imagine that photo after photo, tourist after tourist, they could bring home a decent amount of money to their village and families.

Afro-Colombianos are an integral part of the culture and history of Cartagena.

For more information on Colombia, with photos, stories and videos, click here

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About the Authors

 
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.

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