The best things to do in CartagenaThe things to do in Cartagena count, without a doubt, to the most beautiful and popular touristic activities in Columbia, for both locals and foreigners. Tourists appreciate Cartagena especially for its amazing scenery, the beauty of its beaches and the stunning and colorful Colonial architecture which is conserves the history of this city to this day. The city is surrounded by the sea and boasts a warm climate throughout the entire year.
What are the best things to do in Cartagena?
We’re going to give you our recommendations for best things to do in Cartagena de Indias.
The historical center of Cartagena de Indias is a magical and fascinating place where you’ll be struck by beautiful houses and balconies filled with flowers. This is a must in terms of sites to visit in the city, and you can see it either on foot or in a horse-drawn carriage. It it also home to an exciting nightlife: there are plenty of bars and restaurants with outdoor space to drink or eat.
Things to do in Cartagena - Historical Center: One of the best things to do in Cartagena
San Felipe Castle (Castillo de San Felipe)
This is considered one of the 7 marvels of Colombia; constructed on the top of a hill in 1697 out of brick and rock in the period of Spanish Colonialism, this castle is a large part of the historical and cultural patrimony of Colombia. Imagine the many years of history that have passed inside these walls after the passing of 3 centuries.
Things to do in Cartagena - Castillo San Felipe: Una de las 7 maravillas de Colombia
Palace of the Inquisition (Palacio de inquisición)
The Palace of the Inquisition was constructed between 1610 and 1770, and was home to terrifying practices: here the church tortured and condemned any person whom they deemed a possible enemy. Within this building you can find ghastly instruments of torture, documents, and rooms filled with descriptions of the history of Cartagena de Indias, explanations and paintings depicting the Inquisition. The building itself is also notable for its exquisite architecture.
Convent of the Popa (Convento de la Popa)
This convent was constructed in 1611, although it took 6 years to complete the task. Regardless of how you arrive to Cartagena, you’ll be able to see this little mountain from far away as it measures 148 meters over sea level. This is a touristic site of Cartagena that you can’t miss.
Convention Center (Centro de convenciones)
This is one of the jewels of America, and was constructed Siendo una de las joyas de América, este lugar fue construido en piedra coralina en 1980. It is here, at the Convention Center of Cartagena de Indias, that conferences, theatrical productions and musical spectacles take place.
Things to do in Cartagena - Convention Center: Most important place for the organization of national and international events
Santa Catalina de Alejandria Cathedral (Catedral de Santa Catalina de Alejandría de Cartagena de Indias)
This cathedral is located in the historical center of the city and is considere one of the oldest cathedrals of the Americas, protected and maintained despite the numerous attacks and earthquakes that it has suffered since its construction. This site is very much worth a visit as it is one of the top things to do in Cartagena thanks to its history and stunning architecture.
Things to do in Cartagena - Santa Catalina Cathedral: Considered one of the oldest cathedrals of America
Bazurto Market (Mercado Bazurto)
Do you like to learn and immerse yourself in the culture of the places you visit? Well then, at the Bazurto Market you can see, feel, experience and taste many things: here you’ll find different foods, fruits, culture and much more. You’ll also find that the local people are hilarious and good-natured! This is definitely a spot you can’t miss, although you might feel the visit in your wallet, so to speak. You can ask at the hotel you’re staying in for different tourist plans to visit the Bazurto Market because the majority offer some kind of plan or deal. And one last thing – don’t forget to try to coyol palm juice!
Cartagena Walls (Murallas de Cartagena)
The walls of Cartagena were constructed in the XVI century for the purpose of protecting the city from the pirates of the Colonial era. These are some of the best conserved defensive walls in the world. The inhabitants of Cartagena de Indias recommend visiting the walls in the afternoon with your special someone to enjoy the sunset – a very romantic plan!
Things to do in Cartagena - Baluarte de Santo Domingo: Part of Cartagenas historic walls
Clocktower (Torre del Reloj)
Just beside the statue that commemorates Pedro de Heredia, the founder of Cartagena de Indias, you can find the Clocktower. It was constructed as the principal point of entry into the ancient walled city of Cartagena en the XIX century. It is an important site where you can take beautiful photos and begin a tour of the historical center of Cartagena de Indias.
Things to do in Cartagena - Torre del Reloj (Clocktower): Main door of the walled city
As you can see on our map, Cartagena de Indias is located in a priviledged spot on the Colombian Carribean coast and, surrounded by the sea, one doesn’t have to go very far to enjoy the beach. You can find the most frequently visited beaches a few meters from the historical center, such as Bocagrande and Castillo grande.
Things to do in Cartagena - Castillogrande: View from drone perspective
And if you are looking for beaches with white sand and clear waters, you can find them if you go a few kilometers outside of the city. The most famous are Playa Blanca on the peninsula of Barú, which you can access by land or by sea, as we detail in our link. You can also relax and enjoy the Rosario Islands, which are very close to Barú by powerboat. Múcura Island is another beautiful place to enjoy a beach Paradise. This place is perfect for those who enjoy tranquility because it is on an island where there is not as much tourism.
As you read, there are a lot of things to do in Cartagena. What is your favourite touristic site in Cartagena?