On our whirlwind trip to Colombia, we had the chance to visit Cartagena, but we didn’t have much time to see and do everything the city has to offer. However, here are the top things we recommend from our time there!
Visit the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas – Construction on this Spanish fortress began in 1657 and proved to be impregnable. Though there were many attempts to take the fortress, the fortress’s complex tunnel system helped to ensure the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas was never taken. The tunnels were designed to connect key strategic points of the fortress and reverberate noise long distances both for communication and to hear the enemy coming from far away. You can climb to the top of the fortress and still walk through some of these tunnels today!
Walk the Walled City– Visit the heart of Old Cartagena by exploring the Old Town surrounded by the walls. Meandering through the streets you’ll find the 16th century catholic church named Iglesia de San Pedro Claver, a street lined with peddlers of Colombian sweets known as Portal de los dulces and el Torre del Reloj or the clock tower.
Visit Las Bovedas or “The Vaults”– Built in the late 1700s, “The Vaults” served as armaments storage for the walled city and then later as a prison. Currently, the area is a thriving artisans’ center and a perfect place to look for handcrafted souvenirs!
Explore Getsemani – Getsemani is another neighborhood near Old Town. We wandered the quaint winding streets saying hello to everyone we passed. The neighborhood was full of friendly people and lots of very impressive street art!
Visit the beach– While we aren’t typically beach goers, there was no way we could visit the coastal city without visiting the beach. The area we visited was very crowded with people as it was a Colombian holiday weekend. Also beware when visiting a public beach… according to our tour guide, women wander the beach offering to give massages (we were approached within 5 minutes), if you do not want a massage, do not accept a free sample. Supposedly the free sample lasts for maybe 20 seconds and then with the help of a large man they make sure you pay for the rest.
While this is no way all the things to do in Cartagena, Colombia, these were the highlights of our short trip there. During our time in Colombia we also visited Colombia’s capital city, Bogota. Check out the 9 things we recommend doing there!