Celebrated as the Queen of the Caribbean Coast, Cartagena de Indias is arguably South America’s most beautiful city. The Old Town is enclosed within 13 kilometres of colonial stone walls, which give the city a wonderfully romantic vibe. Whether you want to get lost in its maze of cobblestone alleys, enjoy a meal in an open-air cafe or take a day trip to postcard-perfect islands, Cartagena will captivate you from the moment you arrive.
Things to do in Cartagena
Most travellers gravitate towards the enchanting Old Town, where hot-pink bougainvillea vines wind their way up 400-year-old facades. Most of the action is centred around the cobblestone squares and streets of the El Centro and San Diego districts, which are lined with boutique hotels, trendy cafes and al fresco restaurants.
The Palace of the Inquisition is one of Cartagena’s finest buildings, once serving as HQ for the infamous Spanish Inquisition. Today, it houses a museum that showcases art, pottery and pre-Colombian artefacts.
Thanks to its tropical climate, Cartagena de Indias is a popular beach destination. Whether you want to soak up the sun on nearby Playa Blanca or escape on a boat trip to the platinum sands and aquamarine waters the Rosario Islands, you’re never far from the sparkling Caribbean Sea.
Located just outside the walled city, Getsamani is Cartagena’s lively backpacker hub. If you’re in search of live music bars and a laid-back atmosphere, Getsamani is a fantastic base to explore the city’s nightlife.
Getting around Cartagena
While taxis are available in the Old Town, the best way to soak up the atmosphere is on foot. The taxi ride to Getsamani should take around 10 minutes, while Rafael Núñez International Airport is a 20-minute drive up the coast.