We often get asked the question: What to do in Cartagena? (Colombia). Cartagena, located on the northern coast of Colombia, is a beautiful and historic city that offers a wide variety of activities and experiences for travelers. With its colorful colonial architecture, pristine beaches, and vibrant culture, Cartagena is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Colombia. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the top things to do in Cartagena to help you plan your trip.
Cartagena’s walled city, also known as the Old Town or the Historic Center, is a maze of narrow streets and colorful colonial buildings that have been restored and preserved over the years. The walled city is home to several landmarks and attractions, including the Clock Tower, the Cathedral of Santa Catalina, and the Plaza de Santo Domingo.
One of the best ways to explore the walled city is on foot. You can wander through the streets, admire the beautiful architecture, and take in the sights and sounds of this vibrant and lively part of the city. You can also take a guided walking tour to learn more about the history and culture of the area.
The Castillo San Felipe de Barajas is a historic fortification that was built by the Spanish in the 17th century to defend the city against pirate attacks. The fort is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist attraction.
Visitors can explore the fort and its maze of tunnels and chambers, and learn about the history of the fortification and the role it played in the city’s defense. The fort also offers panoramic views of the city and the Caribbean Sea, making it a great spot for taking photos.
Cartagena is known for its beautiful beaches, which are located just a short drive from the city center. One of the most popular beaches is Playa Blanca, which is located on Isla Barú and is known for its crystal-clear waters and pristine white sand.
Another popular beach is Bocagrande, which is located just a few minutes from the walled city and is known for its high-rise hotels and modern amenities. This beach is a popular spot for watersports such as jet skiing and parasailing.
The Rosario Islands are a group of islands located just off the coast of Cartagena, and are known for their crystal-clear waters and coral reefs. Visitors can take a boat tour of the islands, and explore the reefs and the marine life that inhabit them.
Some of the activities available on the islands include snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming. You can also relax on the beaches and enjoy a meal or a drink at one of the many restaurants and bars located on the islands.
The Palace of the Inquisition is a historic building located in the walled city, and is now home to a museum that showcases the history of the Inquisition in Cartagena. The museum features exhibits on the methods and practices of the Inquisition, as well as displays on the history and culture of Cartagena.
Visitors can explore the museum and learn about the city’s history, as well as admire the beautiful architecture of the building itself. The museum also offers guided tours and educational programs for visitors.
Cartagena is known for its vibrant nightlife scene, with several bars and nightclubs located throughout the city. One of the most popular areas for nightlife is the walled city, which is home to several bars and restaurants that stay open late into the night.
The city is also known for its music and dance, with several clubs and venues that feature live music and dancing. You can experience the local culture by taking a salsa lesson or attending a live music performance.
Cartagena is a culinary hotspot, with a diverse and delicious cuisine that combines local ingredients and flavors with Spanish, African, and Caribbean influences. Some of the must-try dishes include ceviche, a dish made with raw fish marinated in lime juice and spices, and arepas, a type of corn cake that is often filled with cheese, meat, or vegetables.
The city is also known for its street food, with vendors selling everything from empanadas to fresh fruit juices. You can sample the local cuisine by taking a food tour of the city, or by visiting one of the many restaurants and cafes that serve traditional Colombian dishes.
Cartagena is home to a vibrant arts and crafts scene, with local artisans selling everything from handmade jewelry to pottery and textiles. Some of the best places to shop for handicrafts are in the walled city, where you can find several artisan markets and shops selling locally made products.
One of the most popular markets is the Plaza de la Trinidad, which is home to several stalls selling handmade crafts and souvenirs. You can also visit the Getsemani neighborhood, which is known for its street art and graffiti, and explore the many independent boutiques and shops that sell handmade goods.
Cartagena is a beautiful and historic city that offers a wide variety of activities and experiences for travelers. From exploring the colorful colonial architecture of the walled city, to relaxing on the beautiful beaches and sampling the local cuisine, there is something for everyone in Cartagena. So if you’re planning a trip to Colombia, be sure to add Cartagena to your itinerary and experience all that this vibrant and lively city has to offer.