Why you should visit Cartagena
- Explore the beautifully preserved old town and Unesco World Heritage Site, with its vibrant colourful colonial homes, churches and balconies shrouded in bougainvillea
- Visit interesting museums and sites on offer, The Gold Museum, Palace of the Inquisition and San Felipe de Barajas Castle to name a few
- Sip cocktails as you watch the stunning sunset from Cafe del Mar, a bar set atop the ancient city walls, walls that form the most extensive fortifications in South America
- Take a boat trip to the beautiful Rosarios Islands, a national park made up of coral islands, beautiful beaches and mangroves
Our specialists 'Must Do'
Visit the real life and bustling Bazurto Market with a professional chef. It is a fantastic, vibrant market with almost anything on sale from fresh fish and vegetables to CDs and clothing. He will take you through the various areas meeting local characters, tasting delicious exotic fruits along the way and buying the ingredients for your lunch. Afterwards, the chef will cook up a delicious feast such as lobster rice at his beach house, all washed down with fresh mojitos!
A little more about Cartagena
Founded in 1533 by the Spanish conquistadores, Cartagena de Indias, the queen of the Caribbean coast, became one of the most important ports in South America, where much of the plundered jewels and gold from the continent was shipped to Spain, the mother country.
The essence of Cartagena’s old city is immortalised behind the robust fortresses and thick walls constructed to defend it from pirates and plunderers alike during the 17th century. It has now become one of Latin America’s great cities, well known for its friendly people and vibrant nightlife. It is a captivating city crammed with enough restaurants, museums, galleries and colonial churches to willingly lose time over.
Board a horse and carriage or wander aimlessly through the Puerta del Reloj, the old entrance to the city, and along the narrow cobblestone streets flanked by well-preserved colonial mansions and their overhanging flower-filled balconies. Sample delicious sweet delicacies sold along Portal de los Dulces and explore the beautiful yet grisly Palacio de la Inquisición (Palace of the Inquisition). Taste tropical fruit juices on the Plaza de Santo Domingo and contemplate the twisted bell tower that looms above the city’s oldest church, Santo Domingo, which according to local folklore was sabotaged by the devil.
When to go
This is a year round destination with little variation in the climate, averaging 28°C. There is the possibility of short tropical downpours at any time of year. There is an increase in rainfall between August and November when the heat and humidity also rises. It is worth noting that Christmas, New Year and Easter are busy periods in Cartagena.