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The Ultimate Travel Guide to Cartagena, Colombia

Priya Johnson Jun 3, 2019
One of the most vibrant cities of Colombia, this port city has been given the status of a UNESCO Heritage Site. It’s known for its civil colonial architecture, partying hubs, beautiful beaches, brightly-colored walls, and magnetic energy. Let's see some amazing things to do in this beautiful town.

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View the City from its Walls

Cartagena was built as a port city surrounded by defensible walls to protect it from pirate invasion.

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Climb up to the lookouts on the walls and enjoy the view of the city’s skyline from there. Pick a spot along this beautiful wall and enjoy the sunset.

Clock Tower

An iconic landmark of the city, Torre del Reloj was the main entrance into the walled city. Situated in the heart of the city, this tower acts as the ideal navigator if you ever get lost.

Live in a Floating Hostel

Two hour-boat ride away from Cartagena is Casa en el Agua, an island hostel that floats in the middle of the sparkling blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.

The hostel offers a variety of activities like island tour, beach trip, night snorkeling, etc. It’s a small paradise on water that you must not miss!

Shop in Dungeons of Las Bóvedas

Once a part of military quarters, these 23 dungeons have been converted into a shopping center now. Take home traditional Colombian artifacts, authentic mochila bags and various kinds of unique trinkets from this shopping center.

Tour the city on the Chiva Bus

Colorful buses called Chiva buses are made available for touring the city. At night, these buses turn into party buses; the energy on them being magnetic.

Unlimited liquor and partying into the night, with live music played by a band on the bus, is truly a unique way to explore the city!

Bathe in a Mud Volcano

Swimming in El Totumo’s crater is one of the top things to do in Cartagena. Situated at an hour’s drive from Cartagena, at this volcano you can enjoy a soothing volcanic mud bath. The mud bath is touted for its skin-moisturizing benefits.

Cartagena Gold Museum

At this two-floored gold museum you can learn all about the history of gold-making in this region and take a look at the intricate gold works of ancient goldsmiths here.

Museum entry is free, so you can take a look at the gold artifacts on display for free.

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Catacomb Castle Tour

Built in the 1600s, Castillo San Felipe de Barajas is a fortress building or castle that gives a breathtaking, 360-degree view of the city.

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Its highlight is the underground tunnel network or catacombs present beneath it. Some of the tunnels are open to tourists, and an audio-tour around them will definitely be a unique experience.

Learn Salsa

Salsa is an ingrained part of Colombian culture, with salsa music, dance, and rhythm imbibed into the life of the locals. A variety of salsa classes are held here, so grab every opportunity to shake your hips while you’re here.

Street Food Tour

Stalls and vendors are found selling all kinds of delicious bites all over the city. Local dishes like Arepas (grilled patties), street meat, fresh juices, unique tropical fruits, etc., are widely sold and enjoyed here.