18 Finest Issues to Do in Cartagena – The Jewel of Colombia

I’ve needed to go to Cartegena since watching Romancing the Stone within the Eighties. This lovely metropolis has captivated the hearts of vacationers, filmmakers, artists, and authors. As I explored the highest issues to do in Cartagena, it was simple to know why town has been a magnetic backdrop for quite a few motion pictures and books.

On my journey there, I fell in love with the meals, the colourful colours, and the historical past. Cartagena is the proper spot to get your fill of historical past, tradition, and superb Latin meals. However there may be a lot extra to town than its wealthy previous.

Finest Issues to do in Cartagena

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There may be a lot to see and do in Cartagena that it’s arduous to suit every thing into your itinerary. Whether or not you’re a historical past buff or looking for journey, listed below are a couple of of our favourite issues to do.

1. Discover the Walled Metropolis (Ciudad Amurallada)

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Clock tower of the outdated metropolis

Cartagena’s walled metropolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Web site filled with colonial structure, vibrant streets, and historic landmarks and colonial buildings.

The outdated metropolis has among the finest locations to go to in Cartagena. Be sure you cease on the Torre del Reloj, Cartagena’s regal clock tower that stands on the entrance to the outdated walled metropolis. You can too e book a non-public tour of town for a extra intimate expertise beginning at $156.

2. Take a Strolling Tour

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Top-of-the-line methods to get acquainted with any metropolis is to e book a strolling tour. Free strolling excursions was supplied, nevertheless it appears to not be in operation anymore. Nevertheless, you may e book this strolling tour of the historic metropolis to study its wealthy historical past as you’re taking within the outdated city’s structure and see Cartagena’s elite, who nonetheless personal lots of the grand colonial houses within the outdated metropolis.

Whenever you stroll by way of the cobblestone streets, you get a glimpse into what town was like centuries in the past. The Cartagena Full Day Metropolis Tour takes you thru the highlights of town, together with Las Bóvedas, the streets of Getsemaní, the tunnel system of Castillo de San Felipe, and extra for simply $49 per individual.

3. Store at Las Bóvedas

best things to do in cartagena colombia las bovedas

A collection of vaults was retailers promoting native crafts and souvenirs. This bustling market is crammed with vacationers. Should you courageous the crowds, you’ll get an opportunity to buy distinctive trinkets, souvenirs, and exquisite mochila baggage made by the ladies of the Wayuu indigenous tribes.

Las Bovedas is a sight in itself. One of many final buildings constructed throughout the walled metropolis, it has forty-seven arches and twenty-three domes. It additionally has a checkered previous serving as a munitions retailer after which a dungeon earlier than its present standing as a bustling market. Get Your Information gives metropolis excursions and excursions round Cartegena with simple cancellation as much as 24 hours upfront.

4. Avenue Artwork of Getsemani Neighborhood

best things to do in cartagena colombia Getsemani Neighborhood

The Getsemani neighborhood is one other cease you need to add to your itinerary. It’s some of the necessary neighborhoods in Cartagena, plus a cultural and political hub. It’s crammed with superb road artwork.

Vibrant colours and exquisite murals adorn lots of the partitions there and maintain you captivated as you wander round. Recognized for its colourful streets, graffiti artwork, and energetic ambiance, this neighborhood is a cultural hotspot.

5. Go to Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

best things to do in cartagena colombia Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

Visiting Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas is not only a visit to the historic fortress of this fortified metropolis on the Caribbean Coast. It’s an immersive journey into the guts of Cartagena’s colonial historical past. This imposing construction, proudly standing atop the San Lázaro hill, is a logo of the strategic significance of Cartagena within the colonial period.

Acknowledged as some of the important fortifications constructed by the Spanish within the Americas, Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas is an architectural marvel and has unimaginable panoramic metropolis views. The Castillo is well one of many prime sights and probably the greatest issues to do in Cartagena.

The fortress, initially constructed within the Seventeenth century, performed a vital position in defending town in opposition to pirates and invaders throughout colonial instances.

Guests can take guided excursions to be taught concerning the fortress’s historical past, strategic significance, and development particulars.

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas is situated simply outdoors the walled metropolis and is well accessible by a brief taxi trip or a average stroll from town middle. Its outstanding place on San Lázaro Hill makes it a visual landmark. The highest of the fortress gives breathtaking views of Cartagena and the Caribbean Sea, ideally suited for images fans.

6. Calm down at Playa Blanca

best things to do in cartagena colombia playa blanca

Positioned on Barú Island, this beautiful white-sand seashore is a slice of paradise, identified for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and picturesque setting.

The seashore is good for swimming as a consequence of its calm, clear waters, and sunbathing on the comfortable, white sands is a soothing strategy to benefit from the tropical solar. You possibly can go snorkeling, and there are a number of beachside eating places and shacks to get pleasure from recent seafood and conventional Colombian coastal dishes.. Enjoyable at Playa Blanca in Cartagena gives an ideal mix of pure magnificence and serene ambiance.

Playa Blanca is a well-liked day journey from Cartagena, and you’ll go to it as a part of a tour or by yourself. The preferred strategy to attain Playa Blanca is by boat. You possibly can catch a ship from the Muelle de los Pegasos close to the Cartagena Conference Middle. These boats often depart within the morning and return within the afternoon.

You can too attain Playa Blanca by street. It’s a few 1.5-hour drive from Cartagena. You possibly can rent a taxi or be a part of a bunch tour that features transportation. These idyllic islands provide crystal-clear waters and are excellent for snorkeling and diving.

7. Take a Rosario Islands Day Journey

Simply 100 kilometers (62 miles) offshore, however seemingly a world away, is the Rosario Islands. The Rosario Islands are a bunch of over 28 islands and are a part of Colombia’s Nationwide Pure Park system.

There you may benefit from the native seafood and every thing that you just love concerning the Caribbean – the clear blue skies, white sand seashores, and dwelling on “island time.” The islands boast among the most lovely seashores in Colombia.

The clear Caribbean waters and coral reefs make this a main spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. : Many excursions provide the prospect to discover varied islands within the archipelago, every with its distinctive appeal and options.

To succeed in the Rosario Islands, contemplate Sundown Crusing Cartagena, which gives day excursions. This extremely rated tour gives crusing journeys to the Rosario Islands beginning at $86.

Taking a day journey to the Rosario Islands is a spotlight for a lot of guests to Cartagena, providing a chic escape into an archipelago famend for its beautiful pure magnificence and vibrant marine life.

8. Expertise the Nightlife in Cartagena

best things to do in cartagena at night

The Outdated Metropolis comes alive at evening with a wealthy, vibrant nightlife.

Make certain to go to the energetic bars, golf equipment, and cafes, particularly within the areas of Getsemaní, the Outdated City, and Plaza de la Trinidad. Plaza de la Trinidad has loads of meals stalls promoting road meals at affordable costs and road distributors promoting unique fruits and souvenirs. The sq. is alive with road performers, dancing, and music.

Within the night, Plaza de San Diego additionally transforms right into a vibrant nightlife spot.

9. Go to the Palace of the Inquisition

The Palace of the Inquisition is a museum that provides insights into the Spanish Inquisition’s historical past in Colombia. This iconic landmark, situated in Plaza de Bolívar within the coronary heart of Cartagena’s walled metropolis is just not solely a window into Colombia’s colonial previous but in addition a testomony to the resilience and transformation of its individuals.

Visiting the Palace of the Inquisition in Cartagena is a profound and enlightening expertise, delving into a big side of town’s wealthy historic tapestry.

The Palace of the Inquisition is located within the bustling Plaza de Bolívar, simply accessible from any a part of the Outdated Metropolis. Its central location makes it a handy cease for guests exploring the historic district.

The constructing itself is an architectural marvel, with its baroque structure, lovely façade and well-preserved inside courtyards reflecting the Spanish colonial fashion. It was as soon as the seat of the Holy Workplace of the Inquisition in Cartagena, established to evaluate and condemn heresy and different spiritual offenses. One of many extra chilling displays contains the devices of torture used throughout the Inquisition, offering a stark glimpse into this darkish interval of historical past.

The museum additionally showcases quite a lot of historic artifacts, colonial artwork, and paperwork that paint a vivid image of life in Cartagena throughout the colonial period.

10. Discover La Popa Monastery

Exploring La Popa Monastery is a mesmerizing journey to one in every of Cartagena’s most iconic landmarks, perched atop the very best hill within the metropolis it offers beautiful views of town and homes spiritual artwork and artifacts. La Popa Monastery, formally generally known as the Convento de la Candelaria, gives not solely a non secular retreat but in addition among the most breathtaking views of Cartagena.

La Popa Monastery is situated on La Popa Hill, the very best level in Cartagena. It’s simply accessible by taxi or a guided tour, which is really helpful as a result of steepness and seclusion of the street resulting in the monastery. The journey to the highest gives glimpses of town from totally different views.

Initially constructed within the Seventeenth century, the monastery is steeped in historical past and has served varied functions all through the centuries, together with a fortress and a non secular middle. Inside, guests can see a wealthy assortment of non secular artwork and artifacts, together with the well-known statue of the Virgin of the Candelaria, the patroness of Cartagena.

Maybe essentially the most beautiful characteristic of La Popa Monastery is the panoramic view it gives of Cartagena, the Caribbean Sea, and the encompassing areas, making it a improbable spot for images.

11. Go Dancing

Find out about native dances like salsa and champeta. The individuals of Cartagena love to bop and one of the best ways to immerse within the tradition is to exit and dance with the locals.

Should you aren’t assured about your dance expertise, don’t fear! Brush up in your salsa expertise at Loopy Salsa. Their skilled dancers will enable you grasp your strikes very quickly and introduce you to this common Latin American dance. Cafe Havana is one other place that has salsa experiences the place you may watch individuals dance or take part.

There are excursions that cater to dancing your approach across the outdated city and its native bars. This can be a nice tour that features consuming at native road meals spots, a mixology class, and an evening of dancing.

12. Go to the Gold Museum (Museo del Oro Zenú)

Visiting the Gold Museum (Museo del Oro Zenú) in Cartagena gives a deep dive into Colombia’s pre-Columbian heritage. It shows a set of gold and pottery from the Zenú tradition. This museum is situated within the coronary heart of Cartagena’s historic downtown and showcases the cultural historical past and craftsmanship of the Zenú indigenous individuals.

The Gold Museum is conveniently situated within the Plaza de Bolivar, within the historic middle of Cartagena. This central location makes it simply accessible on foot from many different vacationer sights, accommodations, and eating places within the Outdated Metropolis. Plus, the Gold Museum gives free entry, making it an accessible attraction for all guests.

The Gold Museum presents a novel alternative to know the traditional civilizations that when thrived on this area.

13. Calm down within the Plaza de San Diego

best things to do in cartagena Plaza de San Diego

Enjoyable within the Plaza de San Diego is a quintessential Cartagena expertise providing a vibrant slice of native life. This picturesque sq. is nestled within the coronary heart of Cartagena’s historic district. It’s a excellent spot to unwind and people-watch.

The plaza is surrounded by quite a lot of cafés and eating places, providing an opportunity to style native Colombian delicacies in addition to worldwide dishes. The sq. typically comes alive with road performers, musicians, and artists, including a energetic cultural vibe to the ambiance.

Plaza de San Diego is situated throughout the walled metropolis, making it simply accessible on foot from lots of the metropolis’s prime sights. Its central location within the San Diego neighborhood locations it shut to numerous accommodations, eating places, and retailers.

14. Set Sail on a Sundown Cruise

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Benefit from the coastal fantastic thing about Cartagena from the water. Top-of-the-line issues to do in any tropical vacation spot is to go crusing. This romantic sundown cruise leaves from the Muelle de la Bodeguita pier in entrance of the walled metropolis. E book it right here.

You’ll set sail by way of the Bay of Cartagena de Indias as you hearken to music and take within the skyline of spectacular Cartagena. You’ll see the Manga and Bocagrande neighborhood, Castillo Grande, and Manzanillo Island, and then you definitely’ll proceed alongside to the El Laguito neighborhood and Tierrabomba Island.

15. Stroll Alongside the Metropolis Partitions at Sundown

Should you aren’t up for hitting the water, take a stroll alongside town partitions for a view of the historic centre from above. These partitions provide a romantic and picturesque view of town. Make your strategy to Cafe del Mar for sundown cocktails.

The partitions had been constructed to guard from pirates as Cartagena de Indias was a strategic location and port for export to Spain.

16. Espresso tasting at San Alberto

Do a espresso tasting at Cafe San Alberto, led by third technology espresso grower Gustavo Villota. Within the class, you’ll study espresso vegetation and the best way to course of espresso. You’ll expertise a sensory train as you get pleasure from freshly brewed espresso.

This is without doubt one of the most awarded and well-known specialty coffees grown in Buenavista, Columbia. Whenever you style this, it simply is perhaps the very best espresso you’ve ever tasted. After your class, go to the cafe beneath the classroom to buy high quality beans to convey residence.

Libertario Espresso Roasters is one other cafe the place you may get pleasure from scrumptious Colombian espresso. You actually can’t go unsuitable with any cafe. Colombia has nice espresso.

17. Rum and Chocolate Tasting at Sofitel Legend

Tempt your senses with a rum and chocolate tasting on the Sofitel Legend. There you’ll expertise among the best aged rum within the Caribbean completely paired with an array of scrumptious Colombian chocolate, all curated by the somellier.

Whereas there, soak up views of this historic resort, which was previously a convent.

18. Go to the Nationwide Aviary

Should you love birds, then go to the Nationwide Aviary of Colombia Tour. It homes 135 species of untamed birds and lets guests be taught concerning the totally different species by way of 21 interactive stations. Anticipate to see flamingos, parrots, emus, Harpy Eagles, and lots of extra.

The place to Keep in Cartagena

Historic residences and restored convents now home among the luxurious boutique accommodations in Cartagena.

Sleeping in quarters inbuilt Spanish colonial instances, you will see that that a lot of the rooms are centered round open-air courtyards however have been up to date to deal with trendy facilities. Listed below are a couple of of our favourite locations to remain.

Casa San Augustin – The Casa San Augustin is a boutique resort that exudes luxurious from its colonial-era white-washed buildings to its prime location within the coronary heart of Cartagena.

It’s Seventeenth-century grandeur at its best. The 20 rooms and 11 beautiful suites are situated in three homes to present it the texture of residence.

The architectural particulars are second to none, from the wooden beam ceilings to the spiral staircases in among the two-story suites. Suites are furnished with all of the creature comforts, robes, and Ortigia Italian facilities.

The resort additionally features a stress-free spa and a 300-year-old aqueduct within the middle of the resort with a picturesque L-shaped pool. Positive eating is accessible within the Alma restaurant, which additionally serves because the breakfast room within the morning.

Casa Cochera del Gobernador – Staying on the Casa Cochera del Gobernador for 2 nights and we may have simply stayed extra.

Positioned within the historic Cartagena de Indias by the Santa Catalina Cathedral and is housed in one of many metropolis’s oldest buildings, relationship again to the sixteenth Century.

The rooms are fantastically appointed with luxurious bedding and a lightweight and ethereal really feel, supplying you with the proper backdrop for a night of relaxation. A scrumptious breakfast is served by pleasant workers on the second flooring, and the recent, native fruit on the buffet is mouthwatering.

Get pleasure from Native Delicacies

Strive conventional dishes like arepas, ceviche, and recent seafood.

The town’s culinary scene is flourishing in Cartagena. Regionally sourced meals are ample right here.

From the bounty of the ocean to the recent, domestically grown fruits and veggies, lots of the native eating places use this wealthy useful resource to create conventional dishes with an island aptitude. Right here, you will see that conventional dishes like ceviche, or Arroz con coco or Pargo Frito.

Whether or not you might be eating at a five-star restaurant or grabbing a fast chew from a road vendor, you gained’t be disenchanted. In Cartagena, there is no such thing as a scarcity of fantastic eating places and cafes to expertise.

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Concina de Pepina – Relying in your tastes, you may strive the ceviche or Mote de Queso at Cocina de Pepina, for conventional Colombian fare and some of the well-known eating places on the north coast.

Simply be sure you get there early, as they don’t take reservations.

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Carmen Restaurant – One in every of my favourite lunch spots is Carmen Restaurant.

I cherished the picture-perfect trendy décor and the luxurious tree-filled patio. Meals is artwork at this family-run restaurant, serving up native flavors with a contemporary twist. Strive the artfully offered salads and ceviche dishes, and mains with recent fish.

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Marea by Rausch – One other waterfront choice is the Upscale Marea by Rausch Restaurant. There, you may get pleasure from scrumptious watermelon salads, Ceviche, and recent seafood dishes.

Carne lovers can get pleasure from well-prepared beef filets served with wine jus. Anticipate to get pleasure from Michelin-star service and meals with out the hefty price ticket delivered to you by the well-known Rausch brothers.

  • E book forward for a desk on the sought-after waterfront terrace, the place you not solely get a tremendous river view you may benefit from the cupolas of San Pedro Church.

About Cartagena

Cartagena de Indias is the jewel in Columbia’s crown. This seaside metropolis is wealthy with maritime historical past and bustling with journey, appeal, and a previous crammed with pirates.

Based in 1533 by Spanish commander Pedro de Heredia, town grew affluent shortly, and with the newfound riches got here the specter of assaults from marauding sea pirates.

After a number of assaults, Cartagena started to guard itself by establishing walled compounds and castles. Many of those exist in the present day and await being explored.

  • Cartagena is situated in Colombia, South America. The principle language is Spanish.
  • The foreign money is the Colombian Peso: 1 USD = 3019 Colombian Pesos. See Foreign money Converter for up-to-date charges.
  • Copa Airways gives every day flights to Cartagena by way of Panama Metropolis (airline hub).
  • Flying with Copa Airways permits you a  ‘24-hour layover in Panama’ at no further value.
  • It’s an amazing alternative to go to Casa Viejo and the Panama Canal.

When to go to Cartagena

The climate stays fixed in Cartagena. It’s scorching year-round. The one issues that change are humidity and precipitation.

December to March is the very best time to go to Cartagena: The climate is heat throughout the day and breezy at evening, and the humidity is low. However it’s the excessive season so there are extra vacationers. Should you like nightlife, the bars can be hopping at the moment of yr.

There may be one other secondary excessive season the week earlier than Easter. It’s crowded throughout this time, and costs are dearer. June by way of September is the moist season and the most popular months. Temperatures vary all year long from 24 – 32  levels Celcius. (75-91 Fahrenheit)

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And now that you already know extra about all of the issues to do in Cartegena, I’ll go away you with a narrative.

Probably the most well-known writers from Colombia was Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Whereas working as a journalist for El Common, the native newspaper, he realized concerning the discovery of a corpse of a younger lady with copper hair as they had been renovating the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Lodge, a former convent and hospital. The crypt the place she was discovered can nonetheless be accessed by way of a glass gate at Santa Clara’s El Coro Bar.

This expertise impressed his bestseller, Of Love and Different Demons.

Photograph courtesy: Joe Ross from Lansing, Michigan through Wikimedia Commons

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