Photographing the Pink Skies of Cartagena de Indias


We both love Colombia. It’s one of our favourite countries even though, we’ve only been staying here for a month now—but we don’t like every place as here as much. From Bogota, we started to make our way up North and visited some beautiful villages and smaller cities. The food is cheap and delicious and the people are ever so friendly anywhere you go.


Now, two weeks ago, we spent some time traveling along the north coast—Sant Marta to Cartagena to be exactly—and it just doesn’t feel like the rest of Colombia. It’s hard to put a finger on it but it seems like everything a bit rougher round the edges. Everything’s missing that Colombian vibe that I felt in the beginning. Now, that doesn’t mean we hate… We saw beautiful places like Tayrona National Park and we made a great hike around the town of Minca. It just doesn't feel like the real Colombia.

On top of that, we stayed in the wrong part of Barranquilla, which felt like the shady part and we started missing the real Colombia. But there was light at the end of the tunnel! Cartagena de Indias. It’s a touristy city yes, but it’s a great place to stay for at few nights and get lost in the old city. From the places we’ve visited on the north coast, this is our favorite one and it’s a great place for photographers. The light in the evenings when the sun starts to set is gorgeous. Add to that the colourful architecture and it’s a match made in heaven for photography.


The pink skies of Cartagena de Indias

We had booked a place close-ish to the historic old center of Cartagena. Every evening when the sun started to go down, we made the walk to the center. And boy, it was hot. During the hottest part of the day it was almost impossible to go out. The sun hitting the concrete and asphalt instantly burned our skin. Luckily, every evening, the wind started to pick up which made it a whole lot better.


The first thing we passed by was San Felipe de Barajas Castle. It is one of Cartagena’s most iconic landmarks and a place visited by almost all tourists who travel to the city... except us. Too expensive for our budget but it still looked nice from the outside, especially with those gorgeous pink skies in the evening. It has a remarkable history, stretching back over 480 years. The castle has been invaded by pirates, admirals, and barons in its long history, but stands proudly to this day.


The walled city

When arriving in the city, my favorite place to take photos and explore was the walls that surrounds Cartagena. The construction of the Walls of Cartagena, an effort mounted to defend the city from possible pirate attacks, lasted nearly two centuries, with construction ending in 1796.

The old center is surrounded by miles of these impressive stone walls, with fortifications and bastions, from which you can watch the sunset over the Caribbean Sea…


Even though, it’s very touristy, there’s something magical about Cartagena de Indias. The walls, the architecture and the pink and yellow skies in the evening—I get why people like this city and I really enjoyed photographing it… I’m also glad the great feeling we had being in Colombia came back here… Colombia is special and we’ll stick around for a while…

ColombiaJoris Hermans