Colombia: Palenque

Palenque | Colombia |


On the second afternoon in Cartagena our group headed to Palenque. 

Palenque is a village about an hour from Cartagena. Cartagena served as the main slavery port for the Spaniards for many years. This article does a great job describing some of the history of the slave-trade in South America. The village is a very unique and special place; it was formed by the South American slaves that escaped during the 17th century. The residents of Palenque didn’t even have electricity until only a few years ago. Visiting Palenque was my favorite part of the stop in Cartagena. 

In Palenque, our group was welcomed by a local tour guide.

Palenque | Cartagena | Colombia |

His house is one of the first ones upon entering the village. He showed us around  and explained what the different monuments stand for.

Palenque | Cartagena | Colombia |

We also visited the home of Rafael Cassiani, a local elderly man, who can’t read and has had issues with alcohol but went on to become a world-famous musician. It was such an honor to be welcomed into his house and have him perform for our group. 

If you’re going on the tour with the group, you will likely be greeted by the same tour guide. He has adorable kids so plan ahead an bring a gift (just ask him first to make sure your gift is ok). I didn’t inquire, but perhaps you can make a donation to a local school. They also sold books in Spanish about the history of Palenque. 

Palenque | Cartagena | Colombia |

The history and culture of Palenque is so raw, unfiltered, and real. This is another great article I recommend to learn more about Palenque and the African history in Colombia. If you’re in Cartagena, don’t miss this historical gem!


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