The Celia Cruz song goes ”La vida es un carnaval” and it is certainly true now in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. The city is now having their yearly celebration of the city’s independence from Spain. Cartagena was important in this independence as it was the first Colombian city to declare independence from the Spaniards. Even the great liberator Simon Bolivar spent a few years in Cartagena where he, after the fall of the first republic, wrote the Cartagena Manifesto.
Cartagena has their carnival in November in contrast to the usual carnivals that are held in February around the world. The Cartagena carnival is for Cartagena only and it is a four day festival of parades in the streets and on water. It is a crazy atmosphere in the city and make sure not to wear your finest cloths as you will most certainly be bombarded with water, flour and paint.
I had my first trip to Cartagena in 2006, but I had to go back again in 2008. It is obvious that this festival is catching attention as the crowds had more than doubled in those two years.
The carnival culminates in the crowning of Miss Colombia on Saturday. In the days before the candidates are being paraded on the main parade going down the main street by the sea just outside the city wall of the centre of Cartagena. There is also a parade on water. You can get tickets and join one of the many boats that offers to take tourists. Bring many water balloons cos it is wild out there. You can also go to one of the two marinas in Manga and try to get a ride with one of the sailboats there.
There is a foam storm over Cartagena de Indias this week
Do not wear your best suit for this party
Miss Colombia candidates on parade in the main street outside the city wall
People crowd together on the old city wall to see the parade
If you enjoy my posts – please spread the word to your friends and followers