Cartagena is located on the northern coast of Colombia and it one of the most visited cities by tourists to the country. Overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Cartagena has many wonderful attractions including its walled colonial centre with centuries-old buildings and wonderful beaches offering soft sand and nearby coral reefs. Cartagena is a colourful and inspiring city that is a feast for the eye even for seasoned travellers.
THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN CARTAGENA
- Cartagena is a great city to visit wander with delights around every corner, especially within the walled parts of the city which show fine examples of the city’s architecture during the Spanish colonial period. Along with the impressive walls are many coral stone forts that date back 500 years including Castillo de San Felipe, a fortress dating to 1657 which was built by the Spanish to help protect their gold-carrying ships from pirate attacks. Next to the castle lies La Popa hill which rises to 150m in height and is well worth a visit for the fantastic views over Cartagena it affords. The 17th century Santa Cruz Monastery can be found here offering a beautiful courtyard and a majestic image of the Virgin de La Candelaria.
- Cartagena offers many historical sites well worth the time to visit. These include the Cathedral Tower set in the old town and the Palace of Inquisition which is located on Plaza de Bolivar and is where the Spanish inquisition judged and tortured men accused of crimes against religion. Beaches are also a great option as a welcomed break to sightseeing and to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Caribbean Sea. Playa Blanca is a popular sandy destination offering beachside cafes, water sports and trips out to the nearby coral reefs and mangroves.
- Cartagena has several harbours and there are boat trips available to the neighbouring Playa Blanca and Islas del Rosario. Boat trips to the islands typically include lunch and a visit to the aquarium which generally isn’t included in the price.
EATING OUT & NIGHTLIFE IN CARTAGENA
Cartagena offers a good variety of cuisine to choose from including South American, African and Arabian with the old town being a good place to start. A set meal of the day is generally good value and a typical dish could include fish or chicken, coconut rice, fried plantains and salad.
GETTING AROUND IN CARTAGENA
Walking is the best way to see Cartagena’s attractions, especially those in the Old Town. There are good bus routes that transverse the city and if you’re unsure as to which one, most waiting passengers would be happy to help. Taxis are easy to find and it is important to ensure you have negotiated the fare before you travel as printed figures may only be used as a minimum unless a fare has been arranged beforehand.