The 10 Best Things To Do In Cartagena

Imagine a place where the warmth of the sun kisses your skin, the Caribbean Sea whispers tales of the past, and vibrant colors dance around every corner. That’s Cartagena for you, a city where history and hedonism mingle effortlessly. I’ve had the pleasure of exploring this coastal gem, and let me tell you, it’s a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. So, grab your hat and let’s dive into the heart of Cartagena with the top things to do that will make your visit unforgettable.

Stroll Through the Historic Walled City

Cartagena’s walled city, or ‘Ciudad Amurallada’, is a living museum. As you wander through its cobblestone streets, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The colonial architecture is a feast for the eyes, with balconies overflowing with bougainvillea. Don’t miss the chance to watch the sunset from the top of the walls; it’s a spectacle that paints the sky in hues of gold and pink.

Explore the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

Perched on San Lázaro Hill, this fortress is a testament to Spanish military engineering. Exploring the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas is like walking through the pages of a history book. The labyrinth of tunnels and the panoramic views of the city are simply awe-inspiring. Make sure to hire a guide to uncover the secrets of this mighty stronghold.

Indulge in the Local Cuisine

Cartagena’s culinary scene is as rich as its culture. From fresh ceviche to hearty arepas, your taste buds are in for a treat. I still dream about the coconut rice and fried fish I had at a quaint little spot in Getsemaní. And let’s not forget the street food – the arepas de huevo are a must-try!

Take a Day Trip to the Rosario Islands

Just a boat ride away, the Rosario Islands are a slice of paradise. The crystal-clear waters are perfect for snorkeling and diving. You’ll find yourself swimming alongside colorful fish and maybe even some friendly dolphins. It’s the ultimate escape for those looking to unwind and soak up some sun.

Experience the Nightlife in Getsemaní

When the sun goes down, Getsemaní comes alive. This vibrant neighborhood is the heart of Cartagena’s nightlife. From salsa bars to open-air cafes, there’s something for everyone. Don’t be shy to join in on the dancing; it’s the best way to mingle with the locals and fellow travelers.

Visit the Palace of the Inquisition

A darker chapter in Cartagena’s history is on display at the Palace of the Inquisition. This museum showcases the grim past of the Spanish Inquisition in the city. It’s a chilling yet fascinating glimpse into the trials and tribulations faced by those accused of heresy.

Relax at Playa Blanca

For a beach day, head to Playa Blanca. Its white sands and turquoise waters are the perfect backdrop for relaxation. You can rent a hammock, sip on a coco loco, and let the world drift away. Just remember to bring sunscreen – the Caribbean sun doesn’t play around!

Shop for Local Handicrafts

Cartagena’s local markets are a treasure trove of handicrafts. From woven bags to handmade jewelry, you’ll find unique souvenirs to take home. Las Bóvedas, a series of vaults turned shops, is a great place to start. Haggling is part of the fun, so don’t be afraid to negotiate a little.

Marvel at the Church of San Pedro Claver

This church and convent is dedicated to the patron saint of slaves, San Pedro Claver. The baroque architecture is stunning, and the courtyard is a peaceful retreat. Inside, you’ll find artifacts and art that tell the story of this saint’s life and his dedication to human rights.

Enjoy a Carriage Ride at Night

There’s something undeniably romantic about a horse-drawn carriage ride through Cartagena’s Old Town at night. The clip-clop of hooves on stone sets the rhythm for an enchanting evening. It’s the perfect way to cap off a day of exploration.


  • What’s the best time of year to visit Cartagena?
    The ideal time to visit Cartagena is during the dry season, from December to April. You’ll enjoy sunny days and a lively atmosphere.
  • Is Cartagena safe for tourists?
    Yes, Cartagena is generally safe for tourists. Like any city, it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings and keep valuables secure.
  • Can you drink tap water in Cartagena?
    It’s recommended to drink bottled water in Cartagena to avoid any potential stomach issues.


Cartagena is a city that captures the heart with its blend of history, culture, and Caribbean charm. From the historic walls that tell tales of pirates and conquests to the serene beaches that offer a respite from the hustle and bustle, there’s no shortage of things to do. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or just in search of a little adventure, Cartagena delivers in spades. So pack your bags, and get ready to fall in love with this Colombian jewel. Trust me, it’s an experience that will linger in your memory long after you’ve left its sun-drenched shores.

Kurby Team

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