From the most delicious restaurants to the hottest clubs, to the best hotels in Cartagena, let the locals who know the city best be your guide. Whether you’re just visiting for the day, or are spending the whole week in the city, you can get the authentic experience by immersing yourself in Cartagena culture.
Cartagena is a port city on the northern coast of Colombia in the Caribbean Coast Region. The city, founded in 1533, is an eclectic mix of Spanish colonial architecture, vibrant Colombian culture, stunning beaches, music, art, dance, and more. Nearly one million people call Cartagena home, but it’s also the country’s tourist hub, which means that you’ll find something for everyone in this lively town. While Spanish is typically spoken throughout the city, you’ll find plenty of places that cater to English-speaking tourists, or you can hire guides to help you get around.
Whether you’re a foodie, a nature lover, a history buff, or a beach bum, there are lots to see and do in this city and the surrounding area. If you’re planning a trip to Cartagena, read on for some great tips on where to go, what to do, and things you can’t miss in the city.
EXPERIENCE CARTAGENA LIKE A LOCAL
When you arrive in Cartagena, you can choose to hop right into the action or kick back and relax. But, no matter what you choose, if you want to get the best of the best, make the most of local favorites. The city is full of friendly people who are glad to help you get the most out of your Cartagena experience.
Each of Cartagena’s dozens of neighborhoods offers a unique experience and flair, from the bistros cafes, and the hip, laid-back vibe of Getsemani to the casinos, hotels on the beach, and tourist-centered cityscape of Bocagrande. Explore the city, follow your heart, and try not to attempt to cram too much into a single day!
WHAT TO DO
If you’re wondering how to make the most of your time in Cartagena, think about your favorite activities and experiences. Culture can be found in spades throughout the city, but here are a few things to do in Cartagena Colombia, you can’t miss:
Sightseeing – Architecture lovers, rejoice! Cartagena’s Old Town is loaded with historic churches, cathedrals, covenants, and other buildings that beautifully depict its 500-year history. In its early days, Cartagena was a target of pirate attacks, which is why the downtown area is protected by centuries-old stone walls. If you want to see all the best spots, sign up for a guided walking tour or bike tour.
Shopping – Whether you’re looking to pick up a few souvenirs or spend your entire day shopping, Cartagena is a shopper’s delight! Locals (and adventurous visitors) love Mercado Bazurto, a sprawling street market packed full of fresh produce and fish. If you’re looking for locally-made goods, Las Bóvedas, formerly a dungeon, is a popular place to pick up Colombian merchandise. There are modern shopping malls nearby, and luxury shops where you can buy yourself the latest fashions.
Exploring – With just a short trip outside the city by boat, you can reach the stunning Rosario Islands. This archipelago is a protected national park, which means it’s a great spot for those who want to get out of the city and explore the natural beauty of Colombia. Kayak through mangrove tunnels, dive into the pristine coral reef, walk along the miles of stunning beaches, or take a dip in the Caribbean Sea.
Learning – If spending a quiet day at the museum is your kind of thing, you’re in luck. The Naval Museum of The Caribbean will teach you all about the naval history of the Caribbean while the Museo de Arte Moderno de Cartagena highlights Colombia’s most famous artists of the 20th century. History and art museums dot the city, and you can spend days exploring all they have to offer.
Dancing – What better way to end an exciting day than with a visit to one of Cartagena’s hottest nightspots. Dance the night away at Bazurto Social Club, or try out some salsa or champeta lessons to spice things up.
Relaxing – Want to just kick back and relax? You are on vacation, after all! Luckily, in addition to endless beaches, Cartagena Colombia offers some of the best when it comes to massages, day spas, and wellness centers.
Of course, this is just the beginning of all that Cartagena has to show you. No matter which activities you choose, though, you’re bound to have fun and create lasting memories.