New week, new topics – same writer. I hope that’s a combination that works for you. LOL. This week we have news from the USA, London, Colombia and Germany. Quite an interesting mix of topics too – everything from a fire to beer to a volcano. Got your attention?
Cartagena de Indias, often described as one of South America’s true jewels, certainly is a fascinating city. I have actually never seen so many colourful, colonial houses next to each other. And since Cartagena is the premier weekend destination for rich Colombians and the place of choice for festivals and exhibitions, the city is always packed with people looking for a good time.
And since the easiest way getting from Colombia’s major cities like Bogotá or Medellin is the air, Cartagena has a sizable airport which is even offering some international direct flights. Rafael Núñez International Airport (IATA: CTG) as it is officially called is located only a short taxi drive north of Cartagena’s walled city. It’s not the most exciting airport, but there are (as always) still a few things you can do if you get bored:
- Enjoy a last Caribbean heat flash in the courtyard before the arrival hall
- Walk to Kekoriko (on the corner where the taxis get off the main road) and try this ubiquitous fast food chain (I wasn’t that impressed though).
And after security:
- Buy a last-minute-packet of Juan Valdez coffee
- Renew your flip flops at the small shop (from 35,000 pesos)
- Buy refreshments from the small yet surprisingly fully stocked stall in the waiting lounge
- Check your emails through the free Wifi (connect to “Sacsa”)
|Airport Name||Rafael Núñez International Airport Cartagena de Indias|
|no duty free Shop|
|no duty free Shop|
My recent travel brought me to Colombia’s capital, Bogotá. Even now with improved security and a thriving economy, Colombia is still an adventure, even for the most experienced traveller. On the other hand, the contrast in this fascinating city, 2,640m above sea level, is stark. The south of the city is a very poor area and not safe for tourists while the north is wealthy and houses modern eateries and bars that don’t have to hide from top-notch addresses in other countries.
So how does the airport rate? Basically, the airport is divided into two passenger terminals: El Dorado International, the main terminal for all international flights, built in 1959 and Puente Aéreo Terminal (Air Bridge Terminal, in English), built in 1989 which serves Avianca’s and its subsidiary SAM’s, domestic and regional flights. As I had the pleasure to experience both terminals, here’s what you can do if your flight is delayed:
Make sure you don’t go through security until shortly before your flight as after that there is nothing more than a few toilets and a couple vending machines. Therefore the subsequent tips are for the area before security:
- Buy some strawberries at “Aerofresas” for 4,000 pesos (they looked a bit unripe but tasted actually really nice)
- If you are the sweet type, get some dark Lindt chocolate from “Colosinas”, not far from the strawberries place
- And of course, don’t forget to taste another of these wonderful Colombian coffees. I had an Espresso at “Inter-Cafe”, right next to the chocolate place.
- Now that you’re well fed you can walk south to the slightly more upmarket part of the terminal and stroll around the stores there
- By now your flight should be ready, if not, you probably shouldn’t board it anyway. Just kidding. If you still have time, go to the Orbitel shop on the north side, call your family and tell them about how nice Bogotá was and that there is nothing for them to worry about.
International Terminal “El Dorado”
Again, the better area for spending time is before security. But here you don’t want to leave it to the last minute as you will have to go through the passport control and another security check before getting to your gate. Also, be prepared for a detailed bag search.
- After you checked in, go upstairs as all the shops and restaurants are on that floor. If your flight is in the morning, go to “Crepes & Waffles” for a descent breakfast (if not see 2.). Even though I was not very lucky with what I ordered, the food looked really good and the place is an institution throughout Bogotá
- If you are still hungry or your flight is later in the day, go to “El Corral”, Colombia’s best burger chain and order a 1/2lb “Corralisima”. You will have to wait about 15 minutes, but, oh boy, this burger is worth the wait – trust me!
- Go to one of the music shops and buy that Colombian music you have heard throughout your stay. I bought the CD of Silvestre Dangond with the song “Me gusta, me gusta”.
- If you still have time, go through security and buy that delicious coffee from the Juan Valdez store towards the end of the small stalls.
The rating below is based on the International Terminal:
|Airport Name||Bogotà El Dorado International|
[Picture from Flickr]