Convento de la Popa
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Convento de la Popa information
On a 150m-high hill, the highest point in Cartagena, stands this convent. A beautiful image of La Virgen de la Candelaria, the patroness of the city, is in the convent's chapel, and there's a charming flower-filled patio. There is also a chilling statue of a speared Padre Alonso García de Paredes, a priest who was murdered along with five Spanish soldiers for trying to spread the good word. The views from here are outstanding and stretch all over the city.
Take a cab and expect to pay up to COP$40,000 including waiting time. Haggle politely but insistently and you might get it for less than that.
The convent's name literally means the Convent of the Stern, after the hill's apparent similarity to a ship's back end. Founded by the Augustine fathers in 1607, its official name is actually Convento de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria. Initially it was just a small wooden chapel, which was replaced by a stouter construction when the hill was fortified two centuries later, just before Pablo Morillo's siege.
There is a zigzagging access road leading up to the convent (no public transportation) and paths cutting the bends of the road. It takes 30 minutes to walk to the top, but it's not recommended for safety and climatic reasons – walking up would be equivalent to a trek in the desert! Take a cab and expect to pay up to COP$45,000. Haggle politely but insistently and you might get it for half that.