Before we started this trip we knew Panama would be our first "fork in the road." Continue further south? Go somewhere else like New Zealand? Well, we made our decision to go north. Go north to Colombia and continue our journey through the Americas. Yes, as it happens Cartagena, Colombia is north of Colon, Panama.
Elise made the decision a few days ago to continue the trip on to South America. She has been doing an incredible amount of research on Colombia and Ecuador during our respite here in Playa Coronado. I asked her how she came up with the decision to go and she said there were several factors. Reading current information and meeting other travelers who were recently there were her biggest factors. There are also a lot of blogs out there of fellow travelers and Elise was intrigued by their photos of Cartagena. Elise is correct in saying other traveler's opinions matter as we have not met any travelers to date that have been to Colombia and said don't go there. We don't anticipate staying long in Colombia, maybe two or three weeks while en-route to Ecuador. Elise has consulted the UK state department on travel to Colombia as they have helpful maps of green/safe areas. The US state department had the usual alarmist rhetoric that said the small towns and rural areas are still not safe (except the coffee district). Elise found the travel advice on the US State Department website to be unhelpful because it makes EVERY country sound so dangerous.
We already booked the ferry to take the 4Runner and our 4 souls over on August 4th (a lot of 4's so hopefully that's good luck). We also booked our hotel in Cartagena for 5 days, the hotel is within the historic walled city. We chose this hotel because there is parking, a kitchen, and we can walk everywhere within the historic district. Per a request from a blog regular, she wanted us to add links where possible of where we are staying to aid in future travels. So, on that note, here is the Cartagena hotel, http://www.sandiego974suites.com/index-en.htm