Students Carry on Tradition of Cartagena Thanksgiving


11th Graders ot the bay in Cartagena during this year’s trip.

Throughout their middle and high school journey, many await eagerly as they come closer to their Junior year, imagining going to Cartagena during the Thanksgiving break. It is the trip everyone waits for, the trip everyone talks about.

 This year approximately 160 students flew to Cartagena for 5 days to spend time with their friends and have one of the best high school experiences ever. 

​​”I have always known about Cartagena ever since my sister was in high school, and even then it was one of the biggest events of the year. Not only because it’s a chance for students to connect and socialize but also because it’s an exciting event where we can have a break from school and at the same time be with our classmates,” Amalia Sierra, Grade 11, said.

Days and activities

The trip starts months before the actual Thanksgiving break, due to the logistics of renting an apartment or house, multiple boats, and getting plane tickets; done months in advance to get cheaper deals. 

“My friends and I started planning everything in May, and as the trip was getting closer it was unreal. Of course, we had some ups and downs and some times of stress but finally, everything was worth it,” Ambar Alvarez, Grade 11, said. 

The weekend began on Wednesday when most students traveled to Cartagena after school. Those who traveled in the morning had all day to relax and prepare, because at night the first gathering with all students at “Casa Guerrero”. 

Thursday is the day everyone waited for, the first boat trip to Cholon, Islas del Rosario. Usually, students divide themselves into groups of 20 friends and rent a boat in order to head to Cholon. When arriving on the island the “Regata” is formed, and it last approximately 4 hours (sometimes more than that). At night juniors and seniors had the opportunity to eat a nice dinner or just relax. 

Friday, all students enjoyed a rest day to visit Cartagena’s best tourist locations like Ciudad Vieja, Islas del Rosario, restaurants, sea activities, and much more. In the evening most people went on long boat trips where they visit many islands, beach clubs, and end the day in the bay where everyone went in their best clothes to celebrate the trip and their new connections. 

On Saturday students went back to Cholon to finish off the trip with a memorable day in the sun. They spent the day enjoying all the beachy activities with their friends, and by 3:30-4:00 pm, they returned to Cartagena. That night everyone has the opportunity to enjoy a last meal and hang out with their friends. 

The weekend ends on Sundays when everyone head back to Medellin, some of them in the morning and other in the afternoon but everyone with the illusion of getting some rest and going back next year. 

“Another aspect of the Cartagena trip is the time. You always hear people complaining about it being “too much rumba” or too much time over there, but once you’re actually there, the time flies by. Each day mixes into another and before you know it, you’re already at the airport waiting for your flight back home. The thing, however, is that every day is more than enjoyable. There’s always something to do and the time you’re there even seems like too short of a stay,” Senior Tomas Gutierrez said.

Importance of the trip

The trip was an experience for the students as and a great opportunity to bond with their classmates outside of school. School is often a very serious, monotonous, and sometimes intimidating environment where people do not often have opportunities to mix with other students outside their immediate circle of friends. This trip is a chance for students to open a social circle and create a more collegial environment at school. Cartagena is basically an integration event where people are very open to making new friends. 

“This trip is great for shy kids, is a chance to get out of their comfort zone and make unforgettable memories. I remember when I went I hadn’t met any of the 12th graders and by the time the trip was over I had met more than half,” Raquel Londoño, Class of ’20, said.

How and when it started 

This memorial trip began in 2018 when seniors’19 had to cancel their Cartagena trip in December. They still wanted to enjoy Cartagena in all its glory with their friends and classmates so they decided to use thanksgiving break as an opportunity to go on the trip. Ever since then, the thanksgiving trip to Cartagena has become a yearly Columbus School tradition. 

“I was in 11th grade when seniors of 2019 decided to take advantage of the thanksgiving break that school gives us and enjoy the weekend in a different way, what they didn’t know was that that was going to mark a before and after in our school,” Matias Velez, Class of ’20, said.

“Overall it was the best trip I have ever experienced in my entire life, i had a very good time with everyone, everyone was very friendly, and everyone was having a good time. Everybody was always together and we take care of each other no matter what. Also, we had a group chat where we communicate everything so it was very nice to be so close to everyone,” Joaquin Jaramillo, Grade 10, said.