🇨🇴 Cartagena de Indias
This city is considered the beautiful girl of the Caribbean and the colonial pearl of Colombia, where you can glimpse a very colorful place, full of smells and flavors. The colonial architecture of Cartagena is mixed with authentic works of street art and music and parties filter through every corner of the city, it is the most touristic corner of the country and we are going to show you the best things to see and do in this charming town.
Cartagena was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and is one of the most beautiful and preserved cities in America, with a history of conquerors and pirates that led it to be a true walled fort.
The recommendation is to stay in the historic center, since there are hotels or inns at a good price and you will find the best of the city in that area. It is important to take into account that the important thing about Cartagena de Indias is not precisely its great museums, monuments, viewpoints or something like that, since the best thing about the city is Cartagena itself, where you will find incomparable colonial architecture everywhere. You can get lost aimlessly through its colorful streets, beautiful perfectly preserved buildings, old churches, balconies with flowers and charming squares. But in the same way we are going to recommend the most emblematic places of the city.
The most important squares to visit are the great Plaza de la Aduana, the Plaza de Santo Domingo which has impressive sculptures by Botero, the Plaza Bolívar, the Plaza de San Pedro Claver and the Plaza de Santa Teresa.
The Clock Tower is one of the icons of Cartagena that connects the walled city with the Getsemaní neighborhood, it is an impressive construction with a large clock that is bright yellow.
From almost anywhere in the historic center you can see the Cathedral of Cartagena de Indias, which is one of the oldest and most colorful in America, it has a large dome with shades between yellow and salmon, with a marble pulpit and a large wooden altar that it is only compared to the cathedral in Mexico.
The Getsemaní neighborhood offers you one of the most authentic versions of Cartagena where its small brightly colored houses intermingle with incredible quality murals and small art shops, it’s like being in an open-air museum. But at night you can go for drinks and dance until dawn.
But if you prefer to visit or stay in a modern and very touristy neighborhood, the best is the Bocagrande neighborhood where you can see high and impressive skyscrapers, travelers stay there for its multiple services and beaches.
It is important that you take a walk along the walls towards sunset where you will find 13 km loaded with canvases, forts and bastions. Although its construction began in the 16th century (after the attacks of the pirate Francis Drake) it is one of the best preserved walls in the world and has the best sunset, you will be able to see the sunset from the terraces of two cafes integrated into the wall or drink some of the cool drinks sold by street vendors.
For a romantic experience you can take a boat ride towards the sunset, on a small cruise with dinner included in the bay of Cartagena, both excursions being very cheap.
Another of the sites that you cannot miss is the Castillo de San Felipe built in the 17th century by the Spaniards who, together with the historic center, were named by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, and are also the largest fort in America.
Cerro de la Popa is the best place from which to contemplate the city, since it is its highest point and it has a beautiful convent where you will find a cloister worthy of admiration.
If you prefer to enjoy a beach with turquoise waters, we recommend the Barú Peninsula, which is located approximately one hour from the city center and can be reached by land, since the peninsula is linked by a bridge to the mainland. There you will find the famous and very extensive Playa Blanca beach, very frequented by tourists, with restaurants, small hotels and vendors of all kinds.
Within the peninsula there is also the Enchanted Lagoon where you can see the phenomenon of bioluminescent plankton at night, it is an amazing and beautiful experience.
If you want to take a gastronomic tour of Cartagena, it will not be precisely for lack of options, since from the most humble restaurants, those of street food, to the most luxurious, they offer you the opportunity to try different types of dishes from both Colombia and internationally. international. But if what you prefer is a luxury restaurant, you can go to the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara and even if it’s just to enjoy its impressive patio, it’s worth going in for a coffee. In the Bohemia restaurant it is for generous pockets, but you can enjoy a romantic evening and live music. However, in Cuba 1940 you can enjoy Cuban music, excellent food and have a mojito to spend a pleasant evening.
If you prefer paradisiacal beaches but without so many tourists, you can take an excursion to the Islas Corales del Rosario, which is the name of an archipelago characterized by small islets with crystal clear waters and coral reefs. Although it is true that it is quite visited, people are spread out among its 28 islands and you will be able to find greater privacy.
The other possibility is to go to the islands of San Bernardo, which, although they are even further away from Cartagena, is precisely what makes them not as crowded as the Barú peninsula and even less populated than the Rosario islands. To get there you must take a transport to Santiago de Tolu and from there the boats leave for the San Bernardo archipelago, whose journey takes approximately one hour, but it is worth the trip to enjoy Eden.
Cartagena de Indias is a place to calmly savor and lose yourself in its picturesque and beautiful alleys, as well as being a more than perfect starting point to enjoy the warm and crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.