Monthly Archives: August 2014

La Popa – The Convent with the Best View of Cartagena

You first notice the white buildings at the top of the hill as you flash by them while landing at Cartagena’s Rafael Nunez International Airport. But if you do not know their significance, they quickly vanish from the forefront of your mind as you first step off the plane and into the heat of the day in this city with an eclectic mix of Caribbean flair and native style that sits right on the Gulf of Mexico in the northern tropical region of Colombia.


But once you learn of the significance of that small but eye-catching cluster of white buildings at the top of the hill that splits Cartagena almost in two, from either a local, a taxi driver or an online travel site, you realize you must make a point to get to the top of that hill. For at that top, some 500 feet above the rest of the city sits a chapel that truly dominates the religious history of Cartagena, while also offering the most spectacular 360° panoramic view from one side all the way around and back again. Here is a diorama aerial model of La Popa that resides in one of the show rooms surrounding the inner courtyard:


The story goes that the Convento de la Popa was founded in 1607 by local Augustian order Father Alonso de La Cruz Peredes after he received a divine message to build the chapel in honor of the city’s Patron, Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria. Of course, he and his local Catholic followers evicted the pagan worshipping residents in the process – but that part of the story barely gets a mention. The exquisite gold altar pictured is part of the homage to her namesake.


After walking inside the chapel and taking time to soak in the ornate beauty of the aforementioned alter and back drop, there is a side door to the right that leads into La Popa’s courtyard – a beautiful, serene area filled with native plants, trees and floors.


The several rooms that surround the other sides of the courtyard are filled with relics, religious artifacts, maps and garb worn by the priests and nuns who had resided there. The Convent itself is a very interesting place to visit, filled with over 400 years of history that you can feel as you walk through the rooms, particularly in the chapel itself.

In the second entry of this blog dedicated to La Popa discusses the other part of what makes La Popa such a popular tourist attraction – the spectacular panoramic view of the entire city of Cartagena. This is definitely one of the best, most interesting tourists spots in Cartagena, and a must see when you visit the city.

Labor Day and autumn are coming and you need to make your plans now if you are going to travel to exotic places like Cartagena. If you wait any longer, you will not be able to pull together a trip in time. You deserve an awesome vacation, so let Smart Travel & Incentives help you with your plans. Their travel vouchers can help you find the perfect place to stay that fits into your budge, and their reviews should keep you away from any destination that is less than you truly desire. With help from Smart Travel & Incentives of Lake Mary, Florida, get ready for the best and most affordable vacation you’ve ever had!

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Cartagena, la Heroica – A Colombian jewel of the Caribbean


One of the best aspects of living the American lifestyle is the opportunity many of us are afforded to travel outside of our daily environments and experience something new and different. Although there are plenty of good reasons for spending your valuable vacation time at one of the many tourist attractions available in virtually every state here in the U.S., there is something extra special to traveling outside of the country.

Opening yourself up to different cultures, languages, histories, climates and exotic plants and animals can have an amazing effect that is almost impossible to explain. But once you have experienced it, you realize you will never see life in quite the same way again.

Whether it is enjoying a pint of authentic German beer in a 870-year-old pub in Regensberg, Germany (the Historische Wurstkuche); spending a day in reverence on Corregidor Island at the mouth of Manila Bay learning about the pain, suffering and resolve of the Philippine people combined with our American soldiers to endure the Japanese occupation and eventual ousting there during World War II; or bargaining over a price on two beautiful, handmade plaques in the outdoor shopping market of Usaquen (a picturesque district in the northeast part of Bogota, Colombia); literally every place you can go has sights and sounds that you will be experiencing for the first time.

My latest trip is a perfect example of this… Cartegena is a beautiful, unique city that sits on the northern coast of Colombia, just waiting to be discovered by anyone who likes to experience new, warm, exotic places so different in culture, yet so close by airplane.

There are many positive reasons for traveling to foreign countries, like the opportunity it affords us to open ourselves up to different cultures. Smart Travel & Incentives of Lake Mary, Florida can help you experience the trip of a lifetime.

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