Going to school at Humboldt State University was great for my education and social life. It was mellow and laid-back, as well as crazy. And that could be said for Arcata’s nightlife as well, where my fellow classmates and I, friends, and sometimes professors would descend down to the local watering holes and start the trifecta at Everett’s. Then we’d work our way to Toby and Jack’s. Then, if we were willing enough, we’d hop our way over to Sideline’s and watch National Geographic at work.
Those three bars opened my eyes to what else could be out there around the world, where there are different venues and nightlife options to choose from. I have been privileged to travel to the countries I’ve been to, and been fortunate enough to receive hangovers in almost every single one, all with the unique beverages that each country is famous for. All have their own beer, and I tossed back those from every country, along with the cocktails unique to the region. And the same could be said for venues, from street festivals to nightclubs on the top of the world.
Now, to pick a favorite would be something like choosing between eating Mexican food or Italian. You can’t choose, for it depends on your mood for the day. It depends on the type of drinking you want to do, the type of dancing you want to do, or the type of venue you want to be at. I really began to look back at all the places that I have been and tried to figure out a place, let alone just a city, and couldn’t figure out where I have been that possibly had it all.
But the second I flew home from a long six-month trip through South America, I realized that there was one place I missed more than the rest. And I realized that I missed it because it did have it all: Beauty, scenery, culture, and most importantly, the greatest variety of party venues anywhere on the continent.
Cartagena, Colombia, on the Caribbean coast, has the allure of the tropics, the history of the Spanish, the culture of its past, and a nightlife that combines all into one giant melting pot of a good time. The hallowed historic one-way streets scream for a walk through while hoisting a beer or mojito. Or if you fancy, walk into a small bar where you can see older married couples swinging each other around to soft salsa music. If you feel like grooving to the same music but at a faster tempo, you can go to the modern salsa clubs where the younger crowds are swinging faster and more complexly. And finally, if you want what all of us want in this time and era, you can climb the stairs to the top of the modern music era and get your freak on at the modern clubs.
When I traveled through South America, I found that all the countries had venues like I described above, all with their natural music and their own dance. But none had all of what I described above, all within the same city, let alone the same boroughs. So Cartagena, Colombia holds a special place deep inside me and will always be in the back of my mind if I feel the need to go on a quick party vacation with a taste of flavor.