If you can bear the heat and humidity, there are plenty of rewards for photographers in Cartagena. Every ancient wall is a canvas, every wooden shutter and every rusted padlock a handcrafted sculpture. The Old City has been beautifully restored, with just the right level of peeling paint and scuffed wood to stop it feeling like a replica of itself.
Flora tumbles out of every window, down every ledge, off every balcony – and strangely tame birds skip between the branches, a poem come to life.
I read that people who visit Cartagena de Indias suddenly realise that Gabriel Garcia Marquez does not have such a wild imagination after all – he simply described the storybook scenes, the slightly fantastical nature of the city as he saw it, and how many have seen it since. They may be right. Cartagena is magic realism indeed.