April 7, 2021, 11:21 pm
La Boquilla is a humble fishing village and beach 20 minutes from Cartagena, Colombia’s historic district. I visited the tranquil area during a Cartagena day trip in December. I’m not big on fishing, but this experience turned out to be my favourite day tour in Colombia. Let me break it down the day for you.
an early morning start for adventure
A driver and English-speaking tour guide picked me and my friend up from our hotel at about 7 a.m. We drove north and the scenery changed very quickly. Regal, Spanish-colonial buildings in the old walled city of Cartagena were replaced by colourful shacks close to the beach.
We hopped out of the car and hopped into a long, wooden canoe. This sucker was big enough to fit me, my friend, our English-speaking guide and the local fisherman who was going to teach us his fishing ways. We glided through tunnels of mangroves. The tangled roots formed an arch so our canoe could pass through. It was such a beautifully peaceful passage.
learning traditional fishing
When we arrived to more open water, the fisherman showed us how to cast a net. The guide explained it was the traditional way of catching fish in the area. After a few attempts of trying to throw the heavy net in such a way that it spread out over the surface of the water, it became clear my calling was not fishing. But it was fun trying to cast the net and cheering when our fisherman buddy executed a perfect net throw. It’s all in the wrist, he told me. It’s always all in the wrist.
We used the smaller fish caught in the net as bait for crab traps. One by one, we plopped simple wire boxes in the water then made our way through more mangrove tunnels. As we cruised along the water, our guide taught us more about the different kinds of mangroves, the history of the fishing village and more fun things to do in Cartagena.
After a while, we returned to the crab traps and dumped the feisty critters into a bucket in the canoe. Some of the more daring crabs escaped and scuttled around the boat’s floor. You don’t know excitement until you’ve attempted to paddle a canoe while trying to scoot angry crabs back in a bucket with your flip flop, all while keeping your feet elevated so they don’t get your toes. Talk about a core workout.
chowing down on our catches
It was lunch time, so we docked near a small house with an outdoor kitchen. Our hosts cleaned and cooked the fish we caught (read: the fisherman caught) and shucked the oysters pulled from some mangroves. A warm breeze blew as we sat around a wooden table waiting for the food to be ready and watched little kids draw pictures in the sand with sticks. We chowed down on fresh fish, coconut rice, salad and fried plantains – a very traditional meal along Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Our host even sent us back with some homemade vinegar sauce we couldn’t get enough of.
Around 2 in the afternoon, the driver picked us up and dropped us back off at our hotel. This Cartagena day tour was the perfect combination of relaxation and fun activities. We saw a different side of this Colombian coastal city, a beauty not many tourists get to enjoy.
how to take this day tour
You can take this same Cartagena day tour while visiting Colombia! Uncover Colombia strives to provide unique cultural experiences for travellers of all ages. See all the tour details and more pictures from this day tour here.
Share with your traveller friends!