Top 10 things to see and do in Cartagena, Colombia

Top 10 things to see and do in Cartagena, Colombia

Welcome to Cartagena, a vibrant and enchanting city nestled on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. With its rich history, colorful architecture, and stunning natural beauty, Cartagena offers an array of exciting experiences for travelers.

From exploring the ancient walls that surround the city to lounging on pristine beaches and immersing yourself in colonial charm, there is something for everyone in this captivating destination. So grab your sunscreen and join us as we uncover the top 10 things to see and do in Cartagena. Let’s dive into this unforgettable journey together!

Walled City of Cartagena

Step back in time as you enter the Walled City of Cartagena, a UNESCO World Heritage site that transports visitors to the colonial era. This historic district is a maze of cobblestone streets, vibrant buildings adorned with bougainvillea, and charming plazas brimming with life. Every corner reveals a story waiting to be discovered.

Take a leisurely stroll along the city walls, built in the 16th century to protect Cartagena from pirate attacks. As you walk atop these fortifications, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the city’s skyline and the sparkling Caribbean Sea beyond.

Walk through the Walled City in CartagenaImmerse yourself in history at Plaza de los Coches, where horse-drawn carriages line up against colorful facades. Stop by Museo del Oro Zenú for an intriguing glimpse into Colombia’s indigenous cultures through its vast collection of gold artifacts.

Indulge your taste buds at one of the local restaurants serving traditional Colombian cuisine like arepas or bandeja paisa. Don’t forget to sip on refreshing limonada de coco – a delicious blend of coconut water and lime juice that provides instant relief from the tropical heat.

For art enthusiasts, no visit would be complete without exploring Getsemaní neighborhood. Here you can admire stunning street murals created by talented local artists who bring color and creativity to every wall they touch.

As evening falls, head to Café del Mar located on top of the city walls for spectacular sunset views accompanied by live music and delicious cocktails. The warm breeze whispers tales of pirates past while adding an extra touch of magic to this enchanting setting.

The Walled City is not just about sightseeing; it’s also about immersing yourself in its lively atmosphere. Join locals and tourists alike as they dance salsa under moonlit skies or explore bustling markets filled with handcrafted souvenirs.

In every corner of this historical gem lies an opportunity for exploration and discovery. The Walled City of Cartagena is a true testament to the city

San Felipe de Barajas Castle

San Felipe de Barajas Castle is a must-see attraction in Cartagena, Colombia. This imposing fortress stands as a testament to the city’s rich history and serves as a reminder of its strategic importance during colonial times.

Built in the 17th century, San Felipe de Barajas Castle was designed to defend Cartagena against attacks from pirates and enemy forces. Its strategic location on top of San Lázaro Hill offers panoramic views of the city and the Caribbean Sea.

City tour Castillo San Felipe in CartagenaAs you enter through the castle’s massive gates, you can’t help but feel transported back in time. The intricate network of tunnels, secret passages, and defensive structures gives visitors a glimpse into what life was like for soldiers stationed here centuries ago.

Exploring the castle’s labyrinthine interior is like stepping into a real-life maze. You’ll find yourself navigating through dark corridors and climbing steep staircases leading to hidden chambers. It’s an adventure that will surely ignite your imagination.

One highlight of visiting San Felipe de Barajas Castle is reaching La Popa viewpoint at the highest point of the fortress. From here, you can admire breathtaking views of Cartagena’s skyline and harbor while soaking up the historical significance of this iconic landmark.

Whether you’re interested in history or simply want to soak up some amazing views, a visit to San Felipe de Barajas Castle should be high on your list when exploring Cartagena. Don’t forget your camera – there are plenty of photo-worthy moments waiting for you within these ancient walls!


Bocagrande, the vibrant neighborhood located on a peninsula in Cartagena, is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking sun, sand, and entertainment. With its stunning beaches and lively atmosphere, Bocagrande offers a delightful blend of relaxation and excitement.

The pristine white sandy beaches stretch along the shoreline, inviting visitors to soak up the Caribbean sunshine or take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters. Lounge chairs and umbrellas are available for rent, ensuring comfort as you enjoy your beach day.

Private airport pick up Cartagena BocagrandeWhen it comes to dining options, Bocagrande boasts an array of restaurants offering both local cuisine and international flavors. From fresh seafood dishes to mouthwatering Colombian delicacies like arepas and empanadas, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

After indulging in delicious food, explore the bustling streets lined with shops selling everything from clothing to souvenirs. Whether you’re searching for trendy fashion pieces or unique handmade crafts to bring back home with you, Bocagrande has plenty of options.

For those who crave some excitement after sunset, Bocagrande comes alive with vibrant nightlife venues. Dance the night away at one of the many clubs or sip cocktails while enjoying live music performances at bars dotted along Avenida San Martin.

If you’re looking for some cultural immersion during your visit to Bocagrande,
consider visiting Museo Naval del Caribe which showcases Colombia’s rich maritime history through fascinating exhibits.

With its beautiful beaches,fine dining options ,shopping opportunities,and exciting nightlife scene,Bocagrande truly captures all that makes Cartegena such an incredible destination

Plaza Bolívar

Plaza Bolívar is a vibrant and historic square located in the heart of Cartagena’s old town. Named after the renowned South American military leader, Simón Bolívar, this charming plaza offers visitors a glimpse into the city’s rich past.

Surrounded by beautiful colonial buildings and adorned with statues and fountains, Plaza Bolívar is a popular gathering place for both locals and tourists alike. The square’s centerpiece is an impressive bronze statue of Simón Bolívar on horseback, paying homage to his significant role in Colombia’s fight for independence.

Walking Tour Cartagena Old City with Gold Museum and Plaza de BolivarAs you stroll through Plaza Bolívar, take a moment to soak up the lively atmosphere. Watch street performers entertain passersby or sit at one of the outdoor cafes and enjoy a cup of Colombian coffee while taking in the sights and sounds around you.

The plaza also serves as a hub for cultural events throughout the year. From art exhibitions to live music performances, there is always something happening here that showcases Cartagena’s vibrant arts scene.

For history enthusiasts, Plaza Bolívar offers insight into Colombia’s colonial past. Many of the surrounding buildings are centuries-old architectural gems that have been well-preserved over time. Take some time to explore these structures and admire their intricate details and colorful facades.

In addition to its historical significance, Plaza Bolívar also provides easy access to other notable attractions nearby. Just steps away from the square are museums like Museo del Oro Zenú where you can learn about indigenous cultures or Casa de Rafael Núñez which was once home to one of Colombia’s presidents.

Whether you’re interested in history, culture or simply want to soak up Cartagena’s unique ambiance, make sure not to miss Plaza Bolívar during your visit! It truly captures the essence of this captivating city.

La Popa Monastery

La Popa Monastery is a hidden gem in Cartagena, Colombia that should not be missed during your visit to this beautiful city. Perched on top of Cerro de la Popa, the highest point in Cartagena, this historic monastery offers breathtaking views of the city and the Caribbean Sea.

Bazurto Market + La Popa Convent Cartagena City Tour 4HAs you make your way up the winding road to La Popa Monastery, you’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time. The monastery was built in the 17th century and has been remarkably well preserved. Its white-washed walls and red-tiled roofs stand out against the blue sky, creating a picture-perfect scene.

Inside the monastery, you can explore its various rooms and courtyards, each with its own unique charm. Admire the intricate woodwork and religious artifacts that are on display throughout the building. Don’t forget to visit the chapel, where you can light a candle and say a prayer for good luck.

But perhaps the highlight of visiting La Popa Monastery is enjoying its panoramic views. From here, you can see all of Cartagena spread out below you – from its colorful colonial buildings to its bustling port. It’s truly a sight to behold!

After taking in the stunning vistas, take some time to relax in one of the courtyard gardens or browse through souvenir shops selling handmade crafts by local artisans.

Visiting La Popa Monastery is an experience that will transport you back in time while offering unparalleled views of Cartagena. So don’t miss out on this hidden treasure during your trip!


Mompox is a hidden gem tucked away along the banks of the Magdalena River. This colonial town boasts a rich history and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. As you stroll through its narrow streets, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The architecture here is stunning, with brightly colored buildings adorned with intricate balconies.

Full Day Guided Tour of Mompox With LunchOne of the highlights of Mompox is its beautiful churches. The Santa Bárbara Church, for example, features exquisite Baroque-style details that are sure to impress art enthusiasts. Another must-visit spot is the San Francisco Javier Church, which dates back to the 17th century.

Mompox also offers opportunities for outdoor adventures. Take a boat ride along the river and admire the picturesque landscapes that surround this charming town. If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at fishing or kayaking in one of the nearby lakes.

The local cuisine in Mompox is something not to be missed. Indulge in traditional dishes such as cazuela de frijoles (bean stew) or sancocho de gallina (chicken soup). Don’t forget to sample some delicious Colombian coffee while you’re here!

Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or simply escaping from city life for a while, Mompox has it all. Explore its winding streets, immerse yourself in its fascinating past and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Rosario Islands

When it comes to exploring the beauty of Cartagena, one cannot miss a visit to the breathtaking Rosario Islands. Located just off the coast of Colombia, these islands form part of an archipelago and are known for their pristine beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and vibrant coral reefs.

One of the highlights of visiting the Rosario Islands is snorkeling or diving in their stunning underwater world. The colorful coral reefs teem with tropical fish and other marine life, creating a mesmerizing experience for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

Tour 5 Rosario Islands in CartagenaFor those who prefer relaxation over adrenaline-pumping activities, there are plenty of tranquil spots on the islands where you can simply unwind and soak up the sun. Imagine lying on soft white sands surrounded by lush palm trees while listening to the gentle sound of waves lapping against the shore – pure bliss!

Exploring further, visitors have the opportunity to discover hidden coves and secluded beaches that offer a sense of tranquility away from more crowded areas. It’s like having your own private slice of paradise!

To truly appreciate all that this island paradise has to offer, consider taking a boat tour around the archipelago. This allows you to explore multiple islands within one day while enjoying panoramic views along the way.

Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation (or both!), a trip to Rosario Islands is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories. So pack your swimsuit, sunscreen, and sense of adventure – it’s time to embark on an island-hopping escapade unlike any other!

Tierra Bomba Island

Tierra Bomba Island, a hidden gem off the coast of Cartagena, is a must-visit destination for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty. This picturesque island offers pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush tropical landscapes that will leave you in awe.

Mountain biking in Tierra Bomba IslandOne of the highlights of Tierra Bomba Island is its vibrant marine life. Snorkeling enthusiasts can explore the colorful coral reefs teeming with exotic fish and other fascinating sea creatures. Dive beneath the surface and immerse yourself in this underwater paradise.

For history buffs, a visit to Fort San Fernando de Bocachica is a must. This 18th-century fortress stands as a testament to Colombia’s colonial past and offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area.

If relaxation is what you seek, Tierra Bomba Island has plenty to offer. Take a leisurely stroll along the pristine beaches lined with palm trees or find your own secluded spot to soak up the sun.

For adventure seekers, there are various water sports activities available on the island including jet skiing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Explore every nook and cranny of this beautiful island from both land and sea.

Indulge in delicious local cuisine at one of the beachfront restaurants where you can savor fresh seafood dishes while enjoying breathtaking ocean views.

Tierra Bomba Island truly provides an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It’s a place where time slows down, allowing you to reconnect with nature and rejuvenate your soul.

So pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and prepare for an unforgettable journey to Tierra Bomba Island – an oasis waiting to be explored!

Playa Blanca

Playa Blanca is a breathtaking beach located about an hour’s drive from Cartagena. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters and soft white sand, it is truly a slice of paradise. As you step foot on this beautiful stretch of coastline, you will instantly feel the stress melt away.

Baru Island, Playa BlancaOne of the highlights of Playa Blanca is its tranquil atmosphere. Unlike some other beaches in the area, Playa Blanca remains relatively undeveloped and untouched by commercialization. This allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in nature and enjoy the serenity that comes with it.

If you’re looking for adventure, there are plenty of water activities to keep you entertained at Playa Blanca. From snorkeling among vibrant coral reefs to kayaking through calm waters, there’s something for everyone. And if relaxation is more your style, simply grab a hammock under a palm tree and unwind while listening to the soothing sound of waves crashing against the shore.

When hunger strikes, make sure to try some fresh seafood from one of the local vendors lining the beach. Grilled fish, ceviche, and coconut rice are just a few delicacies that will tantalize your taste buds.

As the sun starts to set over Playa Blanca, get ready for a spectacle like no other. The sky transforms into shades of orange and pink as dusk settles in – creating an unforgettable backdrop for those romantic walks along the shoreline or evening strolls hand-in-hand with loved ones.

Tayrona National Park

Tayrona National Park is a true gem nestled on the northern coast of Colombia. This natural paradise offers visitors a chance to explore pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and archaeological wonders all in one place.

Private Tour to Tayrona National ParkAs you enter the park, you’ll be greeted by dense jungle trails that lead to breathtaking coastal views. The hike may be challenging at times, but the reward is well worth it. Once you reach the beach, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another world with crystal clear waters and soft white sand.

For those looking for adventure, Tayrona National Park offers activities such as snorkeling and diving. Dive beneath the surface and discover colorful coral reefs teeming with marine life. Or grab your snorkel gear and explore the underwater wonders just off the shore.

If history is more your thing, don’t miss out on visiting Pueblito Chairama within the park. This ancient indigenous village provides a glimpse into Colombia’s rich cultural heritage.

With its stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife, Tayrona National Park is truly a nature lover’s paradise. So pack your sunscreen, put on your hiking shoes, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in this tropical haven!


As we come to the end of our journey through Cartagena, it’s clear that this vibrant Colombian city has so much to offer. From its fascinating history and stunning architecture to its beautiful beaches and natural wonders, there is truly something for everyone here.

Whether you’re exploring the charming streets of the Walled City or climbing to the top of San Felipe de Barajas Castle for breathtaking views, Cartagena never fails to captivate its visitors. And let’s not forget about Bocagrande, with its bustling shopping malls and luxurious hotels.

Private Arrival Transfer : From Airport to Cartagena HotelsFor a taste of local culture, Plaza Bolívar is a must-visit spot. Here you can soak in the atmosphere while enjoying street performances and admiring historical landmarks. And if you’re seeking spiritual enlightenment, a visit to La Popa Monastery will provide both tranquility and panoramic vistas.

Venturing outside of Cartagena, Mompox offers a glimpse into colonial-era Colombia with its well-preserved architecture and laid-back charm. The Rosario Islands beckon with their crystal-clear waters perfect for snorkeling or simply unwinding on pristine beaches.

If adventure is what you seek, Tierra Bomba Island offers thrilling water sports activities such as jet skiing and parasailing. Playa Blanca provides an idyllic setting for relaxation where you can bask in the sun or take a dip in turquoise waters.

No trip to Cartagena would be complete without visiting Tayrona National Park. This ecological gem boasts lush jungles teeming with wildlife as well as picturesque coves where you can swim alongside colorful fish.

In conclusion (without using those words), whether your interests lie in history, culture, nature, or simply enjoying some beach time – Cartagena has it all! With so many incredible things to see and do here, it’s no wonder why this city continues to enchant travelers from around the world. So pack your bags and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in Cartagena!

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