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Cartagena

Cartagena! The heroic city!

Travel to Cartagena Colombia is always a priority for everyone coming to our country. Continue reading and you will know why and what to do to avoid bad experiences! Cartagena is the most visited city in Colombia. The reason why is simple, Cartagena is magical. We are talking about a combination of culture, architecture, gastronomy, romanticism, beach and we can continue! But what makes exactly Cartagena so magical? First of all, Cartagena is a big city. This means that there are nice and not so nice places. But be careful, the fact that a place doesn’t look so nice, it doesn’t mean that it is not magical! Let’s start a description of Cartagena, from the very center no the surroundings.

 

travel cartagena colombia

Walking tour Cartagena old city

 

City center Cartagena

The city center is called the old city. It is very famous because it has a Caribbean vibe. Cartagena was 500 years ago know as a big harbor. A lot of commercial exchanges were done there, but not just commercial, also cultural, architectonical, gastronomical etc.

The Spanish were the colonizers and with them, they brought infinity of influences who makes now Cartagena so special. The architecture of the houses is a combination of the Spanish influences (in turns influenced by Mudéjar-Musulman architecture) and the Caribbean. Some places make you feel like in a pirate scene with balconies in every window and noisy market.

On the other hand, Cartagena is still protected by a wall, constructed by the Spanish to protect the city against pirates and the British. (BTW the British were fighting pretty hard). This wall is one of the symbols of Cartagena and the spectacle is just amazing. Just sitting in one of its corners and spend a while looking at the sea, or drinking something refreshing in one of their pubs is also an amazing idea!

Highlights

    • Baluarte Santo Domingo: Perfect place in the walls in front of the see to visit during the sunset. It is pretty amazing.
    • Bolivar Park: It is a perfect place to have a refreshing walk. It is all cover by huge palms who give you shadow and make the place perfect to escape from the warmth.
    • Los choches square: It is a very colorful and busy place to get closer to the culture. For sure there you will see the famous “Palenqueras”. This square has a downside and it is its past. It was the market square for black slaves inthe colonial age.
    • Los Martires square: It is a place where dozens of statues are beautifully organized to commemorate the suffering of independence. It is an impressive place actually and even more if you read about the stories behind the statues.
    • Casa Marques de Valdehoyos: It is a spectacular mansion! This amazing place inspired books like “ Love in the time of Cholera”. Book your tour in advance!
    • San Diego neighborhood: Colorful houses, amazing flowers falling from the balconies, umbrellas paths and colorful flags everywhere makes this neighborhood amazing!
    • Las bovedas: This market mall from 500 years ago. With spectacular arcs on the top and colorful walls.
San Diego Neighborhood

San Diego Neighborhood

Secret places in the old city:

    • Heredia Theater: It is the favorite place of the locals and you can get crazy looking at this spectacular structure!
    • Santo Domingo Square: If you want some party and entertainment this is the place! Also, enjoy the viewpoint of the wall, just next to the square.
    • Graffiti tour: It is the perfect way to have an alternative walk and know a lot about the story of Cartagena.
    • La Santisima Trinidad Square: If you want to meet local people! Go to this square, it is very beautiful and also close to the culture, mostly during the night.
    • San Pedro Claver church: He was the slave of the slaves. A Spanish priest who helped and save thousands of black slaves during the colonization in Cartagena.
    • Chiva Rumbera: Enjoy the city but dancing and enjoying in a huge open bus! What is Chiva?

Are you interested in following an extraordinary tour? Check this one! done for people who want to avoid conventional tourism and look for real and wonderful experiences! Walking tour Tripico

 

 

Heredia theater

Heredia theater

Surroundings

Out of the walled city, there are so many things to see! Cartagena is also famous for being called “little Miami” because it has super high buildings just in front of the sea.  This part of the city is not as old as the city center, but it also has charming!

  • The Rosario islands: Although its urban beaches are not among the best in the Caribbean, less than an hour away and the Cartagena barcode is the Corales del Rosario National Park, which has 27 coral islands. Read this first!
  • Baru Island: Enjoy a very beautiful beach, white sand, turquoise water, delicious food and a lot of Caribbean vibes! (But very crowded).
  • Boquilla: It is a fisher town. Right next to Cartagena. There you will see the transition from beautiful resorts to the slums of the city. It is an amazing opportunity to fish with locals and cook with them at their places! If you want to feel the culture 100%, go fishing with locals and be their guest! Click here.
  • Abandoned Secret Island Mansion by Pablo Escobar: Hidden and mid of the tropical forest and the Caribbean Sea, there are the ruins and the decline of the luxurious fiesta and the island of the King of Cocaine.
  • Bazurto Market: It is chaotic but you can have an amazing experience! It is a perfect place to eat a nice breakfast and see Cartagena in a different way. We strongly recommend going with a local tour guide! Do you want to go? Come with us!
  • Bike tour in Bocagrande and Laguito: This is the little Miami and the best way to visit it is by taking a bike ride! There is a very cycle route next to the see to enjoy the view and refreshing air!
local marker bazurto cartagena

local marker bazurto Cartagena

3 downsides of the city:

  1. Beach vendors are very stalkers, disrespectful and often pretend to steal. An excessive number of police officers will be around to keep the area under control. The beach closes at 6:00 pm for these reasons. The recommendation is to always keep your things in custody and be very direct with a “NO GRACIAS” when you do not want to buy anything from the sellers. ·
  2.   Mobility can be very chaotic in the city center! We recommend you rent a bike and enjoy the tranquility and refreshing air. We always advise to find a not so crowded place and ask for a taxi using tappsi and easytaxi apps.  ·
  3.   Touristic traps: Since this city is so touristic, a lot of people can take advantage of it in a bad way. The solution for it is the locals! Talk to them! In the hotel, in the taxi everywhere. There will be always nice people telling you the fair price for the services!

 

Getsemani neighborhood

Getsemani neighborhood

 

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