Breathtaking Cartagena is one of the most beautiful cities in Latin America. Above the historic city walls stands the Tower of San Pedro Claver. The charm of Cartagena is at times overwhelming, historic sites, narrow cobbled lanes and a bustling streetscape. Cartagena exudes the exotic charm of a Caribbean city.
Numerous high quality restaurants and hotels await you in the city, Cartagena is arguably the city most geared towards mainstream tourism in Colombia, a status readily endorsed by the international cruise liners that are making Cartagena a unique and unforgettable stopover in their itineraries.
In 1984 the walled city of Cartagena was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Set behind those walls lies the imposing San Felipe Fortress, the perfect spot to watch the sun go down across the old town. If you prefer your sunsets with a cool tall cuba libre to hand, then check out the Café del Mar and watch as the sun slips below the horizon across the Caribbean.
After dark enjoy an evening at the Plaza Santo Domingo against the backdrop of the vallenato music that is typical of the Caribbean coast. Each night the unique atmosphere of Cartagena descends upon its colonial streets.
A sensational range of excellent boutique hotels awaits you. Typically built within large colonial houses set around multiple communal patios and courtyards, a journey to Cartagena truly is a journey back in time to the colonial era.
For all but the most ardent bus-fanatic, your arrival will be by air at Cartagena’s well appointed international airport. There is roughly one flight each hour from Bogotá’s El Dorado airport.
- Do not underestimate Cartagena’s sunshine, especially at lunch time. Always wear a hat, drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and don’t forget a high SPF sunscreen.
- Cartagena is Colombia’s most famous destination for not only international tourists but also for Colombian nationals. Especially around Easter and Christmas Cartagena becomes busy and the hotels book out rapidly. We urge you to plan well ahead for your visit to the city.
Cartagena is the perfect place to do precious little apart from soak up the ambience, relax and have yourself a cocktail. We would encourage you to base your visit around one of the colonial hotels in the walled city, and consider combining your stay with a city tour.
Also consider building Cartagena into a larger itinerary. Direct flights to Cartagena are available from both Bogotá and Medellín and it is common for holidaymakers to travel overland afterwards to Santa Marta and Tayrona before returning to Bogotá or elsewhere.
Heritage and architecture buffs should consider heading inland to Mompox, another UNESCO world heritage site and recently voted Colombia’s most photogenic pueblo.
Such is Cartagena’s popularity that it appears in six of The Colombian Way’s round trips. The Colombian Beach Hopper, The Colombian Extreme Adventure, The Colombian Pacific Explorer and our most popular tour The Colours of Colombia.
Cartagena is a wonderful place to do nothing, but to go deeper into the city’s history, we recommend a city tour.
Cartagena has far more opportunities for activities than we have listed on our website, contact us to ask also about fishing trips, craft workshops, snorkelling, kayaking, camping and horse riding.