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Cartagena de Indias: Uncovering the Secrets of the Walled City

Updated: Jul 12

Cartagena De Indias

Cartagena de Indias: Immerse yourself in the History, Culture and Beauty of Colombia

Imagine a place where the past embraces the present! Every corner tells a story, and culture vibrates to the sound of contagious rhythms.

Cartagena De Indias

That place is Cartagena de Indias! It is a Colombian treasure that invites you to a memorable adventure of discoveries and charms. A unique blend of history and coastal charm!

Cartagena was founded in 1533 by the Spanish and has since been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its unique beauty and rich history.

The Spanish settlers were sailors from Cartagena in Spain seeking a new life. They named their new settlement Cartagena de Indias to distinguish it from its Spanish counterpart. The addition of "de Indias" refers to its location in the West Indies, emphasizing its historical significance as a key port during the colonial era.  

The port was vital in transporting valuable commodities such as gold, silver, and other goods. Thus, it was a prime target for pirates for its wealth, leading to the construction of impressive walls and fortresses that still stand today. 

Cartagena is an invitation to experience Colombia, delving into its history and present.

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Walking through the Streets of History:

Cartagena de Indias

Prepare to be enchanted by the Walled City, an open-air museum. Walk along its narrow cobblestone streets, surrounded by a 4 km wall! Discover ancient palaces, jewelry shops, charming restaurants, and much more.

Admire the imposing fortifications that protected the city from pirate attacks.

Don't miss the Palacio de la Inquisición, a testimony to colonial times! Visit the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, a fortress with spectacular views.

Main Attractions: what to do

  1. Historic Center of Cartagena (Ciudad Amurallada). Explore beautiful cobblestone streets, colorful colonial architecture, and historic fortifications.

  2. Castillo San Felipe de Barajas. An imposing fortress was built in the 17th century to protect the city from pirate attacks.

  3. Convento da Popa: Located on a hill, it offers an incredible panoramic view of the city.

  4. Getsemaní: Bohemian neighborhood with several street art, galleries, bars, and restaurants.

  5. Palace of the Inquisition: A museum that shows the history of the Inquisition in Colombia.

  6. Rosário Islands: Archipelago of islands with paradisiacal beaches and fantastic diving spots.

  7. La Boquilla: a fishing village close to Cartagena. It is an ideal spot for trying local cuisine and taking a canoe trip through the mangroves.

  8. Bocagrande: Cartagena’s main urban beach. It has an extensive stretch of sand and a variety of seaside restaurants.

  9. Barú Island and Islas del Rosario are great stops to explore paradisiacal beaches. Take a boat trip from Cartagena to discover them.

The Best Beaches in Cartagena

Cartagena, bathed by the Caribbean Sea, offers a paradise of beaches with crystal clear waters. Relax in the warm sun, practice water sports or explore the rich marine life!

  • For lovers of untouched nature, Playa Blanca on Barú Island is an unmissable destination. It is 40 minutes by boat from the center. With its extensive stretch of sand and calm sea, it is perfect for a day of rest and contemplation of the natural beauty. Avoid weekends, when it gets crowded!

  • Manzanillo del Mar Beach 40 minutes from the center and close to a volcano, it has darker colored sand.

  • For those looking for hustle and bustle, Bocagrande Beach on the city's urban edge. With its complete infrastructure, including bars and restaurants, it is always lively. But with many street vendors harassing.

  • La Boquilla Beach: As it is further away, there are fewer tourists.

  • Punta Arena Beach, 10 minutes by boat from Castillo Grande. White sands and a beautiful turquoise sea. Enjoy the Beach Club without being harassed by street vendors!

Enjoying the Vibrant Culture:

Cartagena De Indias Culture

Cartagena is a cultural melting pot, mixing indigenous, African, and European influences. Let yourself be carried away by the rhythm of cumbia and vallenato!

Watch colorful folklore performances.

Indulge in local cuisine, full of irresistible flavors and aromas. Try the famous paisa, a typical dish with different ingredients from Colombian cuisine.

Enjoy sancocho, a delicious and nutritious soup. Finally, try the coconut rice, a perfect accompaniment to any meal.

Food lovers, do not miss the Cartagenero ceviche and arepa de huevo!

Adventures and Relaxation:

Cartagena offers activities from exciting adventures to moments of pure relaxation. Explore the Caribbean islands on a boat trip and dive into the crystal clear waters! Or relax on the beach to the sound of the waves, golden sand, and the typical Caribbean blue sea.

Travel Tips for Your Trip:

  • The best time to visit is December to April to enjoy ideal weather.

  • How to get there: Cartagena has an international airport, making access easy.

  • Explore the city by taxi, bus, or Uber, or rent a bike for a unique experience.

  • Accommodation: From luxurious hotels to cozy hostels. Bocagrande and Laguito are the best choices. Consider Getsemaní for a more cultural experience.

  • The local currency is the Colombian peso (COP).

  • Cartagena is a relatively safe city. Take some basic precautions, such as avoiding walking alone at night and not carrying large amounts of cash.

  • Language: a little Spanish goes a long way! Knowing some basic phrases can improve your experience.

Cartagena: An Unforgettable Experience:

Cartagena de Indias promises to win your heart and leave memories that will last forever. Come and discover the secrets of this magical city! Experience the essence of Colombia in a way that only Cartagena can offer.


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