Cartagena Vacations & Travel
There's no other place like Cartagena. Its birth as an essential port city gives it a distinctive flavor, where Spanish, Caribbean and indigenous Colombian culture meld to create a destination with something for everyone. History buffs and art lovers alike can lose a day wandering within the towering stone walls of the old city, a quiet neighborhood where travel on foot is encouraged and driving is limited. The massive fort that once guarded the port looms above, while local artisans sell their crafts below.
Then there's the beaches. Sun worshipers flock here to take advantage of the warm waters of the Caribbean, and there's miles of beaches to enjoy. Stay close to the city or leave dry land - the nearby Rosario archipelago features over 40 tiny tropical islands, known for their gorgeous white sands and laid-back attitude.
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What To Do
Explore the walled city - Tall stone walls still circle the old town of Cartagena, a relic of the city's past. Within the walls, motor vehicles are strictly limited, making it the perfect place to walk and sightsee.
Hop on a chiva - Brightly painted wooden buses, called chivas, are a great way to tour the city in Cartagena style.
Sail away - Cartagena has miles of beautiful beaches, but it's worth a day trip by boat to the small islands that lay just off the coast.
What To See
Convento de la Popa - At the top the tallest hill in Cartagena you'll find this historic convent. Built in the 1600s, it features well-preserved colonial architecture, beautiful gardens in flower and an expansive view of the city.
Torre del Reloj - This iconic clock tower guards the entrance to Cartagena's walled city.
Castillo San Felipe de Barajas - Built to withstand attacks from pirates and other invaders by sea, this massive fort rises along the coast of Cartagena. Tour the walls and step back into the city's colorful colonial history.
At night, Cartagena lights up - get ready to party by the beach! Visit one of Cartagena's salsa clubs to dance the night away, or just sip a cold drink and enjoy the ambiance.
Cartagena's seaside location means a variety of cuisines, from Caribbean eats to traditional Colombian fare. It also means fresh seafood, and plenty of it! Deep-fried, stewed or raw - you can enjoy the day's catch any way you like it.
Be sure to try Cartagena's signature dish, posta negra Cartegenera - marinated steak served with a savory-sweet sauce made from Coca-Cola.