Caribbean coast of Colombia, Cartagena is a vibrant and historic city that exudes a unique charm and beauty. Steeped in rich history and culture, this colonial gem is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular destination for travelers seeking a blend of old-world charm and modern delights.
Historic Walled City:
The heart and soul of Cartagena lies within its historic walled city, known as the “Ciudad Amurallada.” Strolling through its narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll be transported back in time. Admire the colorful colonial buildings with their intricate balconies and flower-filled courtyards. The main square, Plaza de los Coches, is a bustling hub where you can sip a refreshing drink while soaking up the vibrant atmosphere.
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Castillo San Felipe de Barajas:
Standing proudly on a hill overlooking the city, Castillo San Felipe de Barajas is one of the most impressive fortresses in the Americas. Built by the Spanish in the 17th century, this colossal structure offers panoramic views of Cartagena and its surroundings. Explore its labyrinthine tunnels and learn about its fascinating history as a strategic military stronghold.
Just outside the walls of the old city, you’ll find the trendy neighborhood of Getsemani. Bursting with colorful street art, lively squares, and hip cafes, Getsemani has become a vibrant cultural hub. Join the locals in Plaza Trinidad, where you can enjoy live music, street performances, and mingle with both locals and fellow travelers. The vibrant nightlife scene in Getsemani is also not to be missed.
Escape the city’s hustle and bustle and embark on a boat trip to the nearby Rosario Islands. This archipelago is a tropical paradise, boasting crystal-clear turquoise waters, pristine white-sand beaches, and thriving coral reefs. Indulge in snorkeling or diving to explore the underwater wonders, or simply relax on the beach and soak up the sun. Don’t miss a visit to the Oceanario, an open-air aquarium that showcases the region’s marine biodiversity.
Located within the old city walls, Las Bóvedas is a series of arches that were originally used as dungeons and storage spaces. Today, they house a collection of artisanal shops where you can find local handicrafts, jewelry, and artwork. It’s the perfect place to pick up souvenirs and unique mementos to remember your trip to Cartagena.
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Convento de la Popa:
Perched on the highest hill in Cartagena, the Convento de la Popa offers stunning panoramic views of the city and the Caribbean Sea. This beautifully preserved 17th-century convent is a tranquil oasis where you can learn about the city’s religious history and enjoy the serene atmosphere of the convent’s gardens. Don’t forget to sample the delicious local candies made by the resident nuns.
Cartagena Gold Museum:
Immerse yourself in the rich pre-Columbian history of the region at the Cartagena Gold Museum. Located in a beautifully restored colonial building, the museum houses an impressive collection of gold artifacts crafted by indigenous cultures. Marvel at the intricate craftsmanship and learn about the significance of gold in ancient Columbian civilizations.
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For those seeking a relaxing beach getaway, Playa Blanca is an idyllic destination. Located on the nearby Isla Barú, this picture-perfect beach is famous for its powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters. Spend the day lounging under a palm tree, savoring fresh seafood from the beachfront restaurants, or take a dip in the inviting Caribbean Sea.