10 Best Things to Do in Cartagena for a Dive into Colombian Culture and History


As participants in Amazon Associates and other programs, we earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you. For more details, see our Affiliate Disclosure.

Cartagena is a gem on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, a city where every cobblestone tells a story and the breeze carries tales of pirates and poets. As you wander through its colorful streets, you’re embraced by the warmth of its people and the rich tapestry of its history. From the formidable walls of the old city to the vibrant life of its plazas, Cartagena is a celebration of Colombian culture and history. Whether you’re drawn to the allure of its colonial architecture, the rhythm of its music, or the flavors of its cuisine, Cartagena offers a journey into the heart of what makes Colombia so captivating.

Walk along the historic walls of the old city

Walking along the historic walls of the old city is like stepping back in time. These walls, built to protect Cartagena from pirates, encircle the city’s most historic district. As you walk, you’ll enjoy stunning views of both the Caribbean Sea and the beautiful colonial architecture. This walk not only offers a glimpse into Cartagena’s past but also provides some of the best vistas and photo opportunities in the city.

Visit Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

Visiting Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas is a journey into the military genius of the Spanish empire. This fortress stands as a symbol of strength, showcasing impressive engineering and strategic design. Exploring its tunnels and ramparts, you’ll learn about Cartagena’s colonial history and the sieges it withstood. The castle also offers panoramic views of the city, making it a must-visit landmark.

Explore the Getsemaní neighborhood

Exploring the Getsemaní neighborhood reveals the vibrant heart of Cartagena’s culture. Once a hub for freed slaves, Getsemaní is now known for its colorful street art, lively plazas, and music-filled nights. The neighborhood’s energy is infectious, with streets lined with cafes, bars, and galleries that invite you to linger and enjoy. Getsemaní is a testament to the city’s resilience and creativity.


Top 50 Essential Travel Items You Need

Relax on the beaches of Playa Blanca

Relaxing on the beaches of Playa Blanca offers a perfect escape to the idyllic Caribbean coast. Known for its crystal-clear waters and powdery white sand, Playa Blanca is a slice of paradise. You can spend the day swimming, sunbathing, or simply enjoying fresh seafood by the shore. Though it can get crowded, the beauty of this beach is undeniable and well worth the visit.

Discover the Palace of the Inquisition

Discovering the Palace of the Inquisition is a dive into a darker chapter of Cartagena’s history. This elegant colonial building once served as the headquarters for the Spanish Inquisition in the city. Today, it’s a museum that displays artifacts and exhibits related to this grim period. The palace itself, with its beautiful architecture, contrasts with the stories it holds, offering a thought-provoking experience.

Wander through the Plaza Santo Domingo

Wandering through the Plaza Santo Domingo allows you to feel the pulse of Cartagena’s social life. This bustling square is surrounded by historic buildings, including the striking Santo Domingo Church. It’s a place where locals and tourists alike gather to enjoy live performances, savor Colombian coffee, and watch street artists. The vibrant atmosphere here captures the essence of Cartagena’s charm.

Take a boat trip to the Rosario Islands

Taking a boat trip to the Rosario Islands transports you to a tropical paradise just off Cartagena’s coast. This archipelago of small islands is known for its pristine beaches, coral reefs, and clear blue waters, making it ideal for snorkeling and diving. A day trip here offers a refreshing break from the city and a chance to experience the natural beauty of Colombia’s Caribbean waters.

Enjoy the local cuisine in a traditional Cartagena restaurant

Enjoying the local cuisine in a traditional Cartagena restaurant is an adventure for your taste buds. Cartagena’s culinary scene is a blend of African, Spanish, and indigenous influences, resulting in flavorful dishes like ceviche, arepas de huevo, and coconut rice. Dining in a traditional setting, you’ll not only enjoy delicious food but also the warm hospitality that Colombian culture is known for.

Visit the San Pedro Claver Church and Convent

Visiting the San Pedro Claver Church and Convent offers insight into the life of Saint Peter Claver, a Jesuit priest who dedicated himself to the aid of enslaved Africans. The church and convent complex is a beautiful example of Spanish colonial architecture, housing artifacts of the saint’s life and work. It’s a place of reflection and history, highlighting Cartagena’s complex past and its path towards social justice.

Explore the Gold Museum (Museo del Oro)

Exploring the Gold Museum (Museo del Oro) in Cartagena lets you marvel at the exquisite craftsmanship of Colombia’s indigenous cultures. This museum displays a stunning collection of pre-Columbian gold artifacts, each telling a story of the societies that thrived in the region before the arrival of the Spanish. The intricate designs and the historical significance of the pieces make this museum a fascinating visit for anyone interested in the ancient history of Colombia.


Similar Posts