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21 Greatest Issues To Do in Cartagena

Over the past few years, Colombia has been one of the top destinations for travellers, often highlighted by the many things to do in Cartagena, a beautiful and historic Caribbean city. The city itself is colourful, safe, full of amazing food, and has a history relevant to the Spanish Conquest. While many visit Cartagena for […]

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Over the previous few years, Colombia has been one of many top destinations for travellers, usually highlighted by the numerous issues to do in Cartagena, a lovely and historic Caribbean metropolis. The town itself is vibrant, protected, full of wonderful meals, and has a historical past related to the Spanish Conquest.

Whereas many go to Cartagena for the nice and cozy Caribbean climate, there are such a lot of completely different causes to remain and discover. 

This port metropolis (which is surrounded by a pirate defensible wall) performed a job within the Spanish conquest because it oversaw the import and export of merchandise to and from South America.

Cartagena's historical past is wealthy, vibrant, and infrequently violent. Due to this, you'll discover quite a lot of museums, excursions, and websites to see. The historical past and other people of Cartagena had me so hooked that I ended up staying for an additional 2 months! 

things to do in cartagena. music and architecture in the plaza

Culturally, the individuals of Cartagena give off that heat Caribbean vibe, coupled with among the finest music and dancing on the market.

The repute for food and drinks is unmatched in Colombia with road meals and gastronomic excursions accessible as simply among the many issues to do in Cartagena.

Go to a lovely white sand seaside, sink into an energetic volcano, and eat your coronary heart out. There are quite a few things to do in Colombia, with a go to to Cartagena being a spotlight.

However first, you want to get from the airport to your lodge/hostel. Click here for comfy, protected, reasonably priced non-public transportation to your lodge — begin your journey to Cartagena hassle-free.  

Right here's my record of the highest 21 issues to do in Cartagena.

1. Take a Swim within the Crater of El Totumo volcano

Nearly each tour firm in Cartagena will give you a tour to Colombia’s Magical Mud Volcano. They are saying that El Totumo is an energetic volcano which used to spew hearth, lava and ashes till an area priest turned it into mud with holy water.

Today, guests to Cartagena can take mud baths within the crater of this 15m volcano. They are saying it has therapeutic properties, however who is aware of if that's true or not.

The precise journey to El Totumo takes travellers by means of the sweeping panorama of the Santa Catalina district of Colombia. When you arrive, there's a staircase that results in the crater the place guests can climb into the volcano to expertise what I'd take into account being the oddest feeling ever.

cartagena mud volcano

The mud will not be scorching or chilly. It's not skinny, but not thick. You're feeling weightless as if floating in area. After some time, this lack of bodily management will get a bit of creepy, so get out and head into the lake subsequent door for a shower, usually carried out by native Colombian girls.

A tour to El Totumo prices round $25 together with transportation, pick-up out of your lodge, lunch and information. Deliver your bathing fits and a change of garments, and benefit from the therapeutic mud. Click here for particulars concerning the tour.

2. Spend the Day at Playa Blanca

That is considered one of Colombia’s very picturesque seashores and it's a couple of 1-hour drive from Cartagena.

As this is without doubt one of the hottest issues to do in Cartagena, many tour firms supply journeys to Playa Blanca, nonetheless, it's simply as simple and cheaper to rearrange a drop-off and pick-up time with a taxi driver (or Uber). They do it usually so that they know the drill.  

When you arrive at this lovely white sandy seaside with beautiful turquoise water, it is possible for you to to calm down all day buying snacks, each food and drinks, from the numerous distributors alongside the seaside.

Some locals will even supply massages to go together with your excellent picturesque Colombian seaside expertise. 

playa blanca cartagena

3. Social gathering at Media Luna On Wednesday 

Cartagena is synonymous with all issues get together. The town boasts an enormous repute for superior nightlife, salsa dancing and the Colombian coast's personal, Champeta music.

Each Wednesday night time, Media Luna Hostel, which is located simply outdoors the outdated metropolis, opens up its rooftop patio and second flooring to host an enormous get together for travellers.

All travellers round Cartagena come to Media Luna to bounce, drink and make buddies with different adventurers. Even among the locals attend this get together. My finest recommendation is to point out up early as a result of this get together will get wild quick.

☞ Learn Extra: Captivating Cartagena – Too Touristy, or Justifiably Popular?

4. Stroll Across the Instagrammable Previous Metropolis of Cartagena

Each constructing inside Cartagena’s walled metropolis is like that of a Latin fairy-tale. The partitions of the buildings are brightly colored in reds, yellows, blues, and oranges.

There are flowers laced by means of colonial architecture-styled home windows and doorways, with cobblestone streets and statues within the squares…all these items create Cartagena’s Instagrammable repute.

It's simple to spend a day simply strolling by means of and taking footage of Cartagena’s walled metropolis. Having fun with the atmosphere and character of the outdated metropolis is considered one of my favorite issues to do in Cartagena.

Cease for a espresso or juice from an area vendor, take footage with the fruit girls wearing Caribbean garb, or simply calm down and revel in lovely Cartagena.

things to do in cartagena visit the old town and take photos of colourful buildings

5. Go to Cartagena’s Gold Museum – The Museo del Oro Zenu

Colombia and gold museums go hand in hand. The Museo del Oro in Cartagena is dwelling to a implausible assortment of gold artefacts in addition to sterling examples of pottery created by the ingenious Zenu people who inhabited the world previous to the Spanish conquest.

I say ingenious due to the superior drainage techniques they used to domesticate their land, one thing defined intimately on the museum.

Gold was vital to the event of Cartagena. The town's founding father, Pedro de Heredia, headed the primary expedition up the River Sinú looking for gold — ravaging the Zenu individuals's gravesites for gold. 

This was so profitable that with the indigenous labour and cultivation in addition to with the gold, the town of Cartagena was capable of financially prosper for many years. To assist one perceive its historical past, a go to to the gold museum is certainly the most effective issues to do in Cartagena without cost, sure there isn't a entrance price and it's open from 9:00am to five:00pm. 

If you end up within the capital metropolis of Bogota, visiting the gold museum is without doubt one of the top things to do there.

6. Social gathering On a Chiva Bus

Partying on a Chiva Bus is sort of like a proper of passage for travellers in South America and what higher place to do it than in a metropolis of music and dance resembling Cartagena?!

A trip on a Chiva bus might be one of many funniest actions in Cartagena. These vibrant picket buses with get together lights and loud music cruise the streets at night time sourcing out the most effective locations to get together. When backpacking Colombia, this can be a get together spotlight.

Because the bus excursions the attractive metropolis of Cartagena at night time, be at liberty to bounce within the bus alongside the streets with the rum flowing and the music blaring.

Sure, the Chiva bus is likely to be cheesy, however with the precise crowd, it may be completely hilarious. Chiva buses might be booked by means of any tour firm within the city or by means of your lodge or hostel at a price of round COP $55,000 ($19). 

chiva bus cartagena

Planning on visiting some other areas of Colombia throughout your travels? There are quite a few cool things to do in Medellin, it's additionally a digital nomad hotspot. The city of Salento is beautiful and the Ciudad Perdida trek is out of this world. There are various adventurous things to do in San Gil and the massive metropolis of Bogota provides wonderful nightlife. Begin planning your trip to Colombia!

7. Go to the Palace Of The Inquisition

Cartagena is a metropolis stuffed with historical past from the pre-Colombian occasions as proven within the Museo del Ozo, to the time of the inquisition as displayed right here on the Palace of the Inquisition. 

This 18th-century constructing was the seat of the Holy Workplace of the Inquisition of Cartagena. If you're wandering across the Previous Metropolis and on the lookout for issues to do in Cartagena, I like to recommend you head right here for a historical past lesson. 

As a serious business port for Spain, the Palace of the Inquisition was used as a spot to attempt Jews or different non-Catholics coming into the town, in addition to people who had been believed to be responsible of crimes resembling black magic.

Till 2015 the museum housed historic torture gadgets used for these trials. Presently, the constructing is taken into account considered one of Cartagena’s finest examples of colonial and civil structure.

It's effectively maintained and well worth the effort to see, open from 9:00am to six:00pm and costing simply COP $20,000 ($6.00). Click here for instructions.

8. Take pleasure in Dinner and Nightlife at Plaza la Trinidad

The Plaza la Trinidad (Holy Trinity Sq.) is for sure considered one of my favorite issues to do in Cartagena through the night.  The plaza is surrounded by fantastic road meals distributors, and I imply fantastic, in addition to a collection of completely scrumptious eating places. That is my go-to eating spot in Cartagena. 

The individuals of the town, each gringos and locals alike, make their technique to the plaza to expertise what that specific night time has to supply.

Typically you'll discover a native sport of soccer within the streets, often there are road performers, and sometimes there's music and dancing within the plaza.

The Plaza la Trinidad is without doubt one of the finest locations in Cartagena to hang around at night time. It's enjoyable for the entire household, for individuals of all walks of life, with low cost eats and drinks, and leisure too. Click here for instructions.

things to do in cartagena visit plaza trinidad for nightlife

9. Seize a Drink at Cafe del Mar

Cafe del Mar on the sting of the wall surrounding the Previous Metropolis is without doubt one of the coolest locations in Cartagena to seize a drink and benefit from the view. The bar is located on the highest of the far finish of the traditional wall, full with lovely seating and the ‘in-crowd’.

The view from the bar appears to be like out into the attractive endless sea with a vista of historical past in entrance of you. Seize a drink, and benefit from the view at this completely positioned Cartagena scorching spot. Click here for instructions to Cafe del Mar.

cafe del mar is one of the best places in cartagena to have coffee or a drink

10. Go to the Iglesia de San Pedro Claver

The structure in Cartagena is endlessly spectacular. The colors of the walled metropolis and the civil colonial structure of the Palace of the Inquisition are wonderful, and the Iglesia de San Pedro Claver is not any much less spectacular.

The church is a part of a set of buildings which additionally consists of the Cloister of San Pedro Claver and an archaeological museum. The altar of the church holds the stays of Saint Peter Claver who died in Cartagena after devoting his life to evangelizing the black slaves of New Granada.

The structure of the Church is as vibrant as its historical past taking its model from the Jesuit period. The façade was carved from the stone of the Tierrabomba island, and the marble altar comes from Italy, a present from Pope Leo XIII. The structure developed because the church handed fingers, even including a dome.

My artwork historical past background has me eager to go on, however you'll simply need to go and see it for your self! The Iglesias de San Pedro Claver is open from 8:00am to eight:00pm and prices simply COP $14,000 ($4.25).

san claver church cartagena

11. Take a Stroll Alongside the Historic Partitions

Because of its location between the Sinú and Magdalena rivers, Cartagena de Indias, was traditionally some of the vital cities to each Colombia and Spain as a key port. Cartagena was the principle port for issues like export of Peruvian silver to Spain and the import of African slaves.

As a result of vital function it performed in commerce, the town was constructed to be defensible towards pirate assaults within the Caribbean in addition to some other menace.

There may be a lot historical past in Cartagena because of its reference to Spain. To have the ability to stroll alongside the traditional protecting partitions is without doubt one of the coolest issues to do in Cartagena.

Not solely are they traditionally related to the town itself, however in addition they present sweeping views of the land round Cartagena. A vista that provides a fowl's eye view of the outdated metropolis, and an appreciation for the dimensions of the town. Don't miss this UNESCO second. 

12. Be part of a Avenue Meals Tour

Among the finest actions in Cartagena is for sure, a street food tour. Cartagena is known for its pleasant road meals. It even introduced the late Anthony Bourdain to the town.

There are a number of road meals excursions accessible that spotlight the distinctive fruits, fried meals, drinks, and sweets native to Cartagena.

Get down with the locals and tour the road meals of the outdated metropolis and the Getsemani neighbourhood. Get able to pattern issues such because the lulo, guanabana, and arequipe, among the tastiest meals on the Colombian coast in typical Colombian model.

street food cartagena

13. Take a Tour of the Bazurto Market

The Bazurto Market is usually described as a location for adventurous travellers solely. This busy bustling market is situated simply quarter-hour away from Cartagena’s metropolis centre. It's chaotic, loud, soiled and lacks typical vacationers.

Wish to get down with the locals? Then this extraordinarily giant market stuffed with twists and turns is the place to go. 

Yow will discover every thing from recent fish and fruit, to spices and true Colombian tradition on this chaotic market. Nevertheless, if you're not comfy taking up an expertise like this alone, many tour companies supply guided trips to the Bazurto Market, a few of them together with the road meals tour.

things to do in cartagena explore the markets

14. Go On a Strolling Tour of the Previous Metropolis (El Centro)

The town of Cartagena is stuffed with historical past, eating places, and markets and it's all jam-packed right into a 100 sq. kilometre area, excellent for a strolling tour!

Cartagena boasts a wealthy historical past together with Spanish colonialism, pirates, slaves, Catholicism and the accompanying inquisition. Medicine, crime and the humanities, each historic and present, supply an interesting perspective on this South American nation. 

Its historical past, as you would possibly guess, makes for an excellent metropolis tour which is why I'm recommending this as the most effective actions in Cartagena. 

Excursions can final wherever between 2 and 4 hours, relying on which kind of tour you e book, giving a possibility to take an in depth take a look at the historical past, structure, music, meals and tradition of Cartagena. An effective way to start out any go to to this related metropolis.

Click here without cost strolling excursions in Cartagena, and click here for a highly rated Airbnb experience with an area to find Cartagena.

best things to do in cartagena is to go on a walking tour of the old city

15. Go Purchasing In The Walled Metropolis

Considered one of my private favorite methods to spend time in Cartagena is to buy artisan crafts within the photogenic streets of the walled metropolis.

Distributors line the streets of this lovely city promoting issues like vibrant mochila luggage, prints and work, and numerous sorts of jewellery.

You by no means know what sort of distinctive memento you could find whereas searching for artisanal crafts in Cartagena. Oh yeah, and don’t overlook to discount!

16. Go to the Puerta del Reloj 

The clock tower is the principle metropolis gate to the historic centre and was as soon as the unique entrance to the fortified metropolis. So far as issues to see in Cartagena, the clock tower, having had its clock for the reason that 18th century, is stuffed with historic relevance.

In the course of the colonial interval, a drawbridge which linked the walled metropolis to the Getsemani neighbourhood was put in. The Getsemani neighbourhood is one other fabulous strolling space in Cartagena. 

The bridge on the clock tower was constructed to function a defence towards enemy assaults (pirates) on the town of Cartagena. Nevertheless, immediately it's a place locals like to hang around to flee the Colombian solar. 

You may also climb to the highest of the town wall and revel in a surprising vista. It's a lovely instance of fabulous vibrant colonial structure, so in your manner into the outdated metropolis to your meals, drink and buying, take a second to test it out. Yow will discover the clock tower on the map, here.

Puerta del Reloj cartagena

17. Go to the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas

Despite the fact that this isn't Europe, I'm happy to say that the most effective issues to do in Cartagena is to go to its citadel! 

Constructed by the Spanish in 1536 and expanded later in 1657, the citadel is situated on the Hill of San Lazaro, positioned completely to guard the town from the land and sea. It has had a tumultuous life as possession – or at the very least occupancy – has handed backwards and forwards between privateers and admirals.

So far as issues to do in Cartagena, taking a tour of the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas ranks excessive on my record as with the walled metropolis tour. It supplies vital perception into Cartagena’s vibrant previous. Typically these excursions might be booked collectively as one.

Probably the most fascinating elements of the citadel tour is discovering the numerous catacomb tunnels which run beneath the citadel…a real fortress for battle. It's additionally an excellent spot to observe sundown.

sunsets in cartagena colombia from castillo de san felipe de barajas is one of the best things to do in cartagena

18. Go Purchasing within the ‘Las Bóvedas’

Within the outdated metropolis of Cartagena, the Las Bóvedas had been constructions hooked up to the partitions. Initially constructed as dungeons for prisoners through the civil wars within the nineteenth century, these constructions had been brutal prisons — at excessive tide, the ocean water would enter the cells masking the prisoners inside. 

At this time, the cells within the dungeons are some of the well-liked issues to do in Cartagena as a result of they home retailers and boutiques the place conventional Colombian merchandise is bought.

An important place to select up some souvenirs, however as you stroll by means of do not forget that these had been as soon as the house to prisoners of conflict. Click here to seek out it on the map.

Las Bóvedas things to do in cartagena

19. Day Journey to The Rosario Islands 

The Rosario Islands are the epitome of what you consider when contemplating a Caribbean seaside vacation spot.

Vibrant blue clear waters on comfortable white sand with lots of of fish swimming round your each step. Heat climate and native distributors serving drinks in coconuts…sure, that's precisely what you're going to get out of a day on the Rosario Islands.

It takes simply an hour to get to the Rosario Islands from the docks of Cartagena, making it a very accessible day journey and one of many coolest issues to do in Cartagena.

The islands are a nationwide park with a heavy give attention to defending the underwater atmosphere. You'll be able to go scuba diving, or just laze on the seaside with a meal and a drink in hand.

Lunchtime provides recent seafood that can blow your thoughts. Having fun with the islands? There are a variety of accommodations on them at each degree to increase your journey.

Travel to Isla Grande colombia in the rosario islands is one of the top things to do in cartagena

To get to the Rosario islands, you'll be able to at all times e book a tour by means of any tourism company in Cartagena, or make your technique to the dock at La Muelle la Bogegita in Cartagena and seize one of many velocity boats leaving at 8:00am and 10:00am and returning at 2:30pm for $40,000 Colombian pesos ($13.75) every manner.

Observe that climate situations might be poor and it's not advisable to journey throughout tough seas. A visit to the Rosario Islands by speedboat can take as much as 2-3 hours, relying on the climate.

A greater and maybe safer technique to go to the Rosario Islands is crusing aboard an expensive catamaran. Included within the day journey is snorkelling, a welcome drink, non-alcoholic drinks, snacks, lunch, the port price and Nationwide Park charges. This crusing tour is without doubt one of the prime issues to do in Cartagena. Click here to be taught extra.

20. Stroll By the Getsemani Neighbourhood (take a road artwork tour)

What was as soon as a quiet neighbourhood stuffed with locals and youth hostels, Getsemani has develop into a go-to location for nightlife, the humanities, and a style for the Colombian spirit. 

The neighbourhood is stuffed with vibrant houses and packed stuffed with epic road artwork. You'll be able to take tours right here that are just like meals and historic excursions discovered within the metropolis. 

The neighbourhood is stuffed with superior eating places and cafes in addition to salsa and champeta dance golf equipment. That is additionally the neighbourhood which is dwelling to the Plaza de la Trinidad, a favorite night-time location. Take a stroll by means of the attractive streets of Getsemani, the trendiest space within the metropolis. 

getsemani in cartagena

21. Cease at The Plaza Santo Domingo For a Meal

Cartagena homes some completely fabulous eateries and the Plaza Santo Domingo is a good place to expertise simply that. Upon coming into the Plaza you'll really feel as when you have been transported to the streets of Italy, proper all the way down to the road lights. 

Tables cowl the plaza all the way in which to the centre, owned by quite a lot of eating places. The colored tablecloths are normally the most effective marker to find out which restaurant serves that desk.  

The plaza is dwelling to a well-known Botero statue, La Gorda Gertrudis, and plenty of road performers ply their commerce within the plaza to entertain you when you dine.

Folks and distributors stroll the streets promoting artisanal items so souvenirs might be bought right here. A day stress-free within the Plaza Santo Domingo is considered one of my favorite issues to do in Cartagena. 

where to eat in cartagena visiting the plazas is one of the top things to do in cartagena

Able to Plan a Journey to Cartagena?

Cartagena is without doubt one of the most vibrant cities in Colombia and has develop into a centre for the humanities boasting fabulous music, dance, road artwork and naturally historic gold artwork and artifacts.

The distributors on the streets and inside the Las Bóvedas cells present guests with an opportunity to take dwelling conventional Colombian crafts at cheap costs. 

Cartagena is a foodie centre, dwelling to one of many greatest and most genuine markets in Colombia. The town has a repute for scrumptious road meals, distinctive fruits, and fancy gastronomic locales.

The seaside metropolis is protected, an vital think about Colombian journey. Nature surrounds Cartagena with lovely Playa Blanca and the Rosario Islands at its fingertips — and don't overlook the magical mud volcano of El Totumo.

With so many issues to do in Cartagena, sights to see, and actions to take part in, it's no marvel Cartagena stays some of the well-loved vacationer places.

Some photos on this article are courtesy of Shuterstock.com.

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The submit 21 Best Things To Do in Cartagena appeared first on Goats On The Road.

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Support author of this article and visit his post, originally published HERE

This post is originally published at Goats On The Road blog and it's not owned by this site! Respect content authors!
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