The coastal city of Cartagena in Northern Colombia has long been a popular tourist destination. Its famous walled colonial city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it offers everything from great ocean activities to delicious food and amazing architecture.
If you’re thinking about traveling to Cartagena, check out these top five things to do there.
One of the great things about Cartagena is its location. It is close enough to the ocean that you can easily take a boat to explore some of the nearby islands for the day. Of these, the best-known are the Rosario Islands, where you can go scuba diving, swimming, and exploring.
The Walled City of Cartagena is a sight to behold, which you can enjoy on foot or in an old-fashioned horse-drawn buggy. You’ll love the colorful, old-fashioned apartments and street food.
If you enjoy historic locations, you should see the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, a large structure which stands on San Lazaro Hill and once guarded the city from enemy attack. You can tour this magnificent old structure and see the cannons and a great beach view below.
The Barrio Getsemani is a colorful neighborhood full of artwork, cobblestone streets and historic statues. You’ll also find plenty of small places to eat.
- Enjoy the ocean and beach
You’d be remiss not to enjoy the advantage of the warm ocean water nearby. The Isla Grande beach has many fun activities to choose from, including snorkeling and kayaking.
If you’re looking for a great beach experience but not sure if you want to get in the water, you can check out the Bomba Beach Club, a 10-minute boat ride from Cartagena.
There, you’ll get a kiosko with a hammock and tanning chairs, and be treated to delicious food like fried plantains, ceviche, and margaritas all day. They also have a pool to swim in if you prefer that to the salt water.
- Shop at La Serrezuela
This old shopping center has been updated and brings a beautiful modern flair to the area, with elegant architecture and fountains.
It is full of great restaurants, plays host to musical performances and has many shops to explore. In 2021, it was given a Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice award.
- Visit local museums
The Choco Museo is a free chocolate museum where you can learn about chocolate in Colombia and even help to make some. Of course, you can sample some of the delicious products, too!
Museo del Oro Zenu is a historical museum that holds artifacts from the Zenú people who lived in the area two thousand years ago.
Before you go, see what locals say about Cartegena!
See this article in the magazine