The best things to do in Cartagena

Cartagena, a city located on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, is a vibrant and colorful destination that offers a mix of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re looking to explore the city’s colonial architecture, relax on beautiful beaches, or indulge in delicious local cuisine, Cartagena has something for everyone. Here are some of the top things to do in Cartagena.

Explore the Old Town

The Old Town, also known as the Walled City, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is home to many of Cartagena’s most iconic landmarks. Here, you can stroll along cobblestone streets lined with brightly colored colonial buildings, admire the stunning architecture of the Palace of the Inquisition, and visit the impressive Cathedral of Santa Catalina. You’ll also find many museums, art galleries, and shops selling traditional crafts and souvenirs.

Visit Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Cartagena is the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, a massive fortress built by the Spanish in the 17th century. The fortress offers panoramic views of the city and the Caribbean Sea, and you can explore the tunnels, bastions, and barracks that make up the complex.

Relax on the Beach

Cartagena is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Colombia. Some of the most popular beaches include Playa Blanca, a white-sand beach located on a small island about an hour from the city, and Bocagrande, a long strip of beach that is popular with locals and tourists alike. You can also take a boat tour to the Rosario Islands, a group of small islands that offer crystal clear waters and excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities.

Try Local Cuisine

Colombian cuisine is a delicious blend of indigenous, African, and Spanish influences, and Cartagena is a great place to try it. Some of the local specialties include seafood dishes like ceviche and fried fish, as well as traditional dishes like bandeja paisa (a platter of meat, beans, and rice) and arepas (corn cakes filled with cheese or meat). Be sure to try some of the local fruits like lulo and maracuya, and wash it all down with a cold beer or a Colombian coffee.

Take a Boat Tour

Cartagena is surrounded by water, and taking a boat tour is an excellent way to see the city and its surroundings. You can take a tour of the city’s coastline, visit the nearby Rosario Islands, or even take a sunset sail. Many boat tours include food and drinks, and you’ll have the chance to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the area.

Explore the Nightlife

Cartagena is a lively and vibrant city, and its nightlife is a must-experience. The city is home to a wide variety of bars, clubs, and music venues that offer something for everyone. Whether you want to dance the night away to salsa and reggaeton, listen to live music, or enjoy a cocktail on a rooftop terrace, you’ll find it all in Cartagena.

Shop at the Mercado de Bazurto

The Mercado de Bazurto is one of the most colorful and authentic markets in Cartagena. Here, you’ll find a wide variety of goods for sale, including fresh produce, meats, seafood, clothes, crafts, and more. It’s a great place to pick up souvenirs and gifts, and you’ll also get a glimpse into the everyday life of the locals. Be prepared to haggle and negotiate prices, as it’s expected at the market.

Visit the Palenque de San Basilio

Palenque de San Basilio is a small village located about an hour from Cartagena. It was founded by escaped slaves in the 17th century, and it has a unique culture and history that is different from the rest of Colombia. Here, you can learn about the history of slavery in Colombia and the Afro-Colombian culture. You’ll also have the opportunity to see traditional dances and music, and sample local food.

Take a Day Trip to Baru Island

Baru Island is a beautiful tropical island located just a short boat ride from Cartagena. It’s a popular destination for ecotourism and adventure sports, with activities such as snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and bird watching. The island is also home to a number of beautiful beaches and a nature reserve. It’s an ideal place to spend a day or two away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

In conclusion, Cartagena is a destination that offers a wide variety of things to do. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or nature, you’ll find something that appeals to you in this beautiful Caribbean city. With its rich history, delicious food, and lively nightlife, Cartagena is a must-visit destination in Colombia.