Encounter Cartagena

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The magic of Cartagena lies at the foundation of its fortified walls, warmth of its people, wealth of its architecture and endless cultural expressions of a fierce and courageous people.

This city overflows with romanticism and is shrouded in history from when the Spanish first discovered gold in the tombs of Sinu to the five dreadful sieges on the city by pirates in the 16th century, including the most famous (or infamous) one which was led by Sir Francis Drake!

Cartagena, Colombia is often called Cartagena of the Indies. The historic center is within the old city walls built by the Spanish between the 16th and 18th centuries. Getsemaní is the place for street art with less expensive restaurants and vibrant community life, while Boca Grande provides a stretch of more upscale hotels and all-inclusive resorts outside the historical city center.


This UNESCO World Heritage Site is surrounded by an impressive 8 mile (13km) colonial stonewall and is made up of gorgeous cobblestone alleys in which you will find elegant balconies packed with colorful flowers, massive churches and eye-catching terraces. Founded in 1533 by Pedro de Heredia, it is a magical place telling a story of piracy and battles that led to the city’s nickname, the Heroic City. The city is perfect to just stroll around and soak up the relaxing and sensual atmosphere.

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Plaza Santo Domingo

One of the more central and popular places in Cartagena to meet people, with plenty of options for food and drink. Singers, dancers, and vendors animate the plaza, lovely terraces with bars are numerous, makes perfect for plenty of time for resting, having fun or getting to know the world. All venues close at 1:00 am and several head towards Plaza de los Coches or Plaza de Santa Teresa to continue the night.


A burgeoning hipster neighbourhood, Getsemaní was once the town where the workers lived that served in the walled city. The neighbourhood then became a haven for crime and prostitution but has turned a corner in the last 10 years, into a hip and stylish place for young travellers, artists, and musicians. While it still is a little rough around the edges, it’s a bustling neighbourhood full of life and Caribbean charm.

Explore Cartagena by bicycle

Exploring Cartagena by bike tour for first-time tourists is breezy and easy, it’s mostly flat and different areas of the city seem more accessible and easy to maneuver, you can cover much more of the city and in between. One of the best neighborhoods for the bicycle tour is Getsemaní, which has very little street traffic on the weekends, and you’ll see the true colors of this Caribbean gem from a more local perspective.

Cartagena Bazurto Market

It is noisy, busy and may be daunting for many, Mercado de Bazurto is a must for travelers looking to experience the true local Cartagena. Selling everything from fresh fruit to cooked turtles. Your expert local guide share the vast array of produce and food on sale as you hunt for some of Colombia’s most delicious produce, and interact with local businesses.

Rosario Islands

Isla Majagua is one of 30 islands that make up the Rosario Islands archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. Take a boat trip to the San Martín de Pajarales Natural Aquarium to see sharks and dolphins. Enjoy the beach and the atmosphere of the tropical Caribbean on this boat ride to the island. You will return to Cartagena later that day for an incredible panoramic view of the area.

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

On the outskirts of the old city walls lies the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, a fortress built during the Spanish colonization and was the largest military complex of all those built by the Spanish military, on the entire American continent. This enormous fortress was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1984, the breeze and view of the Caribbean is powerful.

destination map

Title Address Description
Bogotá, ColombiaColombia’s capital is surrounded by cool Andean peaks and, to give you an impression of its size, it consists of approximately 1,000 neighborhoods, each adding a different angle to this lively metropolis. The city is located in the center of the country at 8,660ft (2,640m) above sea level. With people coming from all corners of the country, this capital city is as diverse as the entire country. Read more…
Medellín, Antioquia, ColombiaOnce the home of Pablo Escobar, Medellin also known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ has become the Silicon Valley of South America and is a jewel in the crown of Colombia. Nowadays this thriving city is one of the safest cities in Latin America offering mountain and valley views, Medellin has a friendlier and provincial town feel to it rather than a bustling metropolis. Read more…
Cartagena de Indias
Cartagena, Provincia de Cartagena, Bolívar, ColombiaThe magic of Cartagena lies at the foundation of its fortifications, warmth of its people, wealth of its architecture and endless cultural expressions of a fierce and courageous people. Gorgeous cobblestone alleys with elegant balconies, colorful flowers, massive churches and eye-catching terraces. The city is perfect to stroll around and soak up the relaxing and sensual atmosphere. Read more…
The Coffee Triangle
Eje Cafetero, ColombiaExploring family-run coffee plantations, staying at gorgeous colonial-style fincas and relaxing surrounded by the region’s lush rolling hills makes Colombia’s Coffee Triangle a highlight destination in South America. The region will easily seduce you with its visually stunning and expansive views of plantations and rolling hillsides. Read more…
Villa de Leyva
Villa de Leyva, Boyacá, ColombiaCobblestone streets, Spanish-style villas, and small-town pace give Villa de Leyva a charming, frozen-in-time feel. Villa de Leyva and surrounding countryside are among the safest places in Colombia to wander off the beaten track to explore the multiple waterfalls, a nearby desert, adventure-sport opportunities, and even a couple of vineyards. Read more…
Santa Marta & Tayrona
playa de Cañaveral, Santa Marta, Magdalena, ColombiaUnrivaled architectural heritage, Santa Marta is the perfect starting point to visit Tayrona National Park or visiting the “Lost City”. There is a small beach and boulevard, Santander Park and Bolivar Square are pleasant places to stroll around. Santa Marta’s climate is hot, but the sea breeze makes it pleasant to sip from a fresh fruit juice or cocktail in one of the open-air cafes. Read more…
San Agustin & Neiva
Neiva-San Agustín, Neiva, Huila, ColombiaNeiva serves as a hub for travelers headed to San Agustin, declared a UNESCO World Heritage in 1995, San Agustín preserves the relics of a pre-Colombian culture that thrived in the area for more than 7 centuries. Visitors to the Archaeological Park can stroll back through the centuries marveling at the huge life-sized statues symbolizing fertility, maternity, and the alter ego as well as realistic and sacred animals.Read more…

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Best times to

The climate in Cartagena is always hot and humid, even during the rainy season, you can still get more than enough sun. While you can go at any time of the year, it’s all about timing with Cartagena and in order to avoid crowds we recommend the time between the high and low seasons. The peak season is between December and mid-January, during Holy Week (March or April) and mid-June to July. Cartagena’s off season is from May to mid-June and August to November with October and November being the wettest months. There is a sweet spot between mid-January and April with the dry season a great time to walk through the colonial center and relax on the white sandy beaches. In November visitors can enjoy the Independence of Cartagena festivities that include the famous national beauty pageant.

practical information


Cartagena’s Rafael Núñez Airport is about 2 miles (3km) from the historic Old Town and is served by national and international airlines. There are domestic non-stop flights from Medellin, Cali, San Andrés Island, Bogotá, Pereira, Montería, Barrancabermeja, Bucaramanga and Cúcuta. There are many direct international flights from Panama City, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, New York and Atlanta in the United States, as well as from many cities in Canada, Madrid (Spain), Quito (Ecuador) and Helsinki (Finland). some of the major cities in South America.

The bus terminal is 6.8 miles (11km) east of the old city with frequent Metrocar buses going to the old city every 15 to 30 minutes and costing about COP$1,800 (USD 0.60).


The old town of Cartagena in particular is best explored on foot with the main highlights in walking distance. To reach other destinations such as the San Felipe Fort and Bocagrande there are a number of buses that run throughout the city and there are taxi’s everywhere.


As the commercial and tourist hub of Colombia, Cartagena has a wide range of options in accommodation, so you should have no problem in finding a place to feel comfortable. Midrange small boutique hotels and the world’s most well known five-star hotel chains can be found in the inner walled city. Most budget establishments are located outside of the city walls in Getsemani.

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