Greetings, fellow travelers! Journeying Jack here, and today I’m excited to share with you my latest adventure in the vibrant and colorful city of Cartagena, Colombia. As I strolled through the cobblestone streets, soaked up the sun on the sandy beaches, and indulged in the rich culture and history, I couldn’t help but compile a list of the top 10 things to do in Cartagena, Colombia. So, pack your bags and join me as we explore this enchanting destination through my Suitcase Stories blog.
From the moment I set foot in Cartagena, I knew I was in for a treat. The city’s charm and energy are simply contagious, and I couldn’t wait to dive into all the amazing experiences it has to offer. As I ventured through the city, I discovered that the top 10 things to do in Cartagena, Colombia, are a perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and cultural immersion.
In this blog post, I’ll be sharing my personal recommendations for the top 10 things to do in Cartagena, Colombia, so you can make the most of your time in this beautiful city. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or a beach lover, there’s something for everyone in Cartagena. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the top 10 things to do in Cartagena, Colombia!
Discovering Cartagena’s Colorful Old Town
Cartagena’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Colombia. The Old Town is a maze of colorful streets, colonial architecture, and vibrant culture. Here are the top 10 things to do in Cartagena’s Old Town:
Take a Walking Tour: The best way to explore the Old Town is on foot. Join a walking tour to learn about the history and culture of the city.
Visit the Plaza de Bolivar: This is the main square in the Old Town and is surrounded by historic buildings, including the Palace of the Inquisition.
Explore the Walled City: The Old Town is surrounded by a wall that was built in the 16th century to protect the city from pirates. Walk along the wall and enjoy the views of the city.
Visit the San Felipe Castle: This is a 16th-century fortress that was built to protect the city from invaders. It is now a museum and offers stunning views of the city.
Visit the Cathedral: The Cathedral of Cartagena is a beautiful example of colonial architecture and is located in the heart of the Old Town.
Take a Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride: For a romantic and unique way to explore the Old Town, take a horse-drawn carriage ride.
Visit the Gold Museum: This museum showcases the history of gold in Colombia and features a collection of pre-Columbian artifacts.
Shop for Souvenirs: The Old Town is filled with shops selling handmade crafts, jewelry, and souvenirs.
Try the Local Cuisine: Cartagena is known for its delicious seafood and Caribbean-inspired cuisine. Be sure to try the ceviche and arepas.
Enjoy the Nightlife: The Old Town comes alive at night with live music, dancing, and street performers. Visit one of the many bars or clubs for a night out.
In conclusion, Cartagena’s Old Town is a must-visit destination in Colombia. With its colorful streets, historic architecture, and vibrant culture, there is something for everyone. Don’t miss out on these top 10 things to do in Cartagena’s Old Town.
Savoring the Flavors: Must-Try Local Dishes
When visiting Cartagena, Colombia, it’s not just the sights and sounds that will leave you in awe, but also the flavors. The city is known for its vibrant and diverse cuisine, influenced by African, Spanish, and indigenous cultures. Here are some of the must-try local dishes that should be on your list of top 10 things to do in Cartagena Colombia:
Arepas are a staple food in Colombia and are made from ground maize dough. They are usually served with cheese, butter, or meat and are perfect for breakfast or as a snack.
2. Bandeja Paisa
Bandeja Paisa is a hearty dish that originated in the Antioquia region of Colombia. It consists of rice, beans, ground beef, chorizo, fried egg, avocado, and plantains. This dish is a must-try for meat lovers.
Cartagena is located on the Caribbean coast, which means that seafood is a big part of the local cuisine. Ceviche is a popular dish made from raw fish marinated in lime juice, onions, and chili peppers. It’s a refreshing and flavorful dish that’s perfect for a hot day.
Empanadas are a popular snack in Colombia and are made from a pastry dough filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables. They are usually fried and served with a spicy salsa.
Patacones are a type of fried plantain that are popular in Colombia. They are usually served as a side dish or as a snack and can be topped with cheese, meat, or salsa.
Sancocho is a hearty soup that’s perfect for a cold day. It’s made with chicken, plantains, yucca, corn, and other vegetables. It’s a filling and flavorful dish that’s sure to warm you up.
Chicharrón is a popular snack in Colombia made from fried pork belly. It’s crispy, salty, and delicious and is usually served with lime and salsa.
Buñuelos are a type of fried dough ball that’s popular in Colombia. They are usually served as a dessert and are sweet and fluffy.
Ajiaco is a soup that’s popular in Bogotá, but can also be found in Cartagena. It’s made with chicken, potatoes, corn, and other vegetables and is usually served with rice and avocado.
Lechona is a traditional dish from the Tolima region of Colombia. It’s made by stuffing a whole pig with rice, peas, and spices and then roasting it for several hours. It’s a festive dish that’s usually served at special occasions.
Make sure to try these must-try local dishes when visiting Cartagena, Colombia. They are a delicious and essential part of the city’s culture and will make your trip even more memorable. Don’t forget to add them to your list of top 10 things to do in Cartagena Colombia!
Beach Escapes: Cartagena’s Best Coastal Spots
Cartagena is known for its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters. Here are some of the top 10 things to do in Cartagena Colombia when it comes to beach escapes:
1. Playa Blanca
Playa Blanca is a must-visit beach in Cartagena. It’s located on the Isla Barú and is known for its white sand and turquoise waters. You can spend the day lounging on the beach, swimming, and enjoying the local cuisine.
2. Rosario Islands
The Rosario Islands are a group of small islands located off the coast of Cartagena. They are known for their beautiful coral reefs and crystal-clear waters, making them a popular spot for snorkeling and diving.
3. Bocagrande Beach
Bocagrande Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Cartagena. It’s located in the heart of the city and is known for its soft sand and calm waters. You can rent umbrellas and chairs and spend the day soaking up the sun.
4. La Boquilla Beach
La Boquilla Beach is a hidden gem in Cartagena. It’s located just outside the city and is known for its tranquil waters and stunning sunsets. You can rent kayaks and paddleboards and explore the mangroves that surround the beach.
5. Tierra Bomba Island
Tierra Bomba Island is another popular spot for beach lovers. It’s located just a short boat ride from Cartagena and is known for its secluded beaches and crystal-clear waters. You can spend the day swimming, snorkeling, and enjoying the local cuisine.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day on the beach or an adventure-filled day of snorkeling and diving, Cartagena has something for everyone. Don’t miss out on these top 10 things to do in Cartagena Colombia when it comes to beach escapes.
Immersing in History: Exploring Cartagena’s Forts and Museums
Cartagena is a city steeped in history, and exploring its forts and museums is one of the top 10 things to do in Cartagena Colombia. Here are some of the must-visit historical sites in the city:
Castillo San Felipe de Barajas
Castillo San Felipe de Barajas is a fortress that was built in the 17th century to protect the city from pirates and invaders. It is one of the most impressive fortresses in South America and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore the tunnels, barracks, and cannons of the fortress and learn about its fascinating history.
Museo del Oro Zenú
The Museo del Oro Zenú is a museum dedicated to the indigenous Zenú people who lived in the region before the arrival of the Spanish. The museum has an impressive collection of gold artifacts, including jewelry, masks, and figurines. Visitors can learn about the Zenú culture and their intricate goldworking techniques.
Palacio de la Inquisición
The Palacio de la Inquisición is a museum that was once the headquarters of the Spanish Inquisition in Cartagena. The museum has exhibits on the history of the Inquisition in Colombia and the torture methods used to extract confessions from accused heretics. It’s a fascinating and chilling look into a dark period of history.
Museo Naval del Caribe
The Museo Naval del Caribe is a museum dedicated to the naval history of the Caribbean. It has exhibits on the pirates and privateers who roamed the seas, as well as the naval battles that took place in the region. Visitors can see models of ships, weapons, and uniforms from different periods of history.
Exploring Cartagena’s forts and museums is a great way to immerse yourself in the city’s rich history. Don’t miss these top historical sites on your visit to Cartagena Colombia.
A Night to Remember: Cartagena’s Vibrant Nightlife
Cartagena is not only known for its rich history and stunning architecture, but also for its vibrant nightlife. After a day of exploring the top 10 things to do in Cartagena Colombia, it’s time to experience the city’s after-dark scene. Here are some of the best places to visit for a night to remember:
1. Cafe Havana
Cafe Havana is a must-visit spot for music lovers. This lively bar features live salsa music and a dance floor that will keep you moving all night long. The atmosphere is electric, and the drinks are reasonably priced.
Alquimico is a trendy cocktail bar located in the heart of Cartagena’s old town. The bar’s decor is a mix of vintage and modern, and the drinks are expertly crafted. Try their signature cocktail, the “Cartagena Sour,” made with local rum and fresh lime juice.
3. La Movida
La Movida is a popular nightclub that attracts both locals and tourists. The club features multiple dance floors, each playing a different genre of music. The rooftop terrace offers stunning views of the city and is the perfect spot to enjoy a drink and take in the scenery.
4. Donde Fidel
Donde Fidel is a traditional bar that has been around for over 50 years. The bar is known for its live music and friendly atmosphere. It’s a great spot to grab a beer and mingle with the locals.
5. El Baron
El Baron is a chic bar located in a beautifully restored colonial mansion. The bar’s decor is elegant and sophisticated, and the drinks are top-notch. Try their signature cocktail, the “El Baron,” made with gin, cucumber, and elderflower.
Cartagena’s nightlife scene is diverse and exciting, with something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for live music, cocktails, or dancing, you’re sure to find it in this vibrant city. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience Cartagena’s after-dark scene during your visit.
Off the Beaten Path: Unique Experiences in Cartagena
While there are plenty of popular tourist attractions in Cartagena, there are also some hidden gems that are worth exploring. Here are some unique experiences that you won’t find on the typical “top 10 things to do in Cartagena Colombia” lists:
1. Explore the Street Art Scene
Cartagena is home to some incredible street art, and taking a tour of the city’s murals is a great way to see a different side of the city. You can join a guided tour or explore on your own, but either way, you’re sure to discover some amazing artwork.
2. Visit the Bazurto Market
If you’re looking for an authentic local experience, head to the Bazurto Market. This bustling market is where locals go to buy everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in the local culture and try some traditional Colombian food.
3. Take a Cooking Class
Speaking of food, why not learn how to cook some Colombian dishes while you’re in Cartagena? There are plenty of cooking classes available, where you can learn how to make everything from empanadas to ceviche.
4. Go on a Mangrove Tour
The mangroves surrounding Cartagena are home to a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, iguanas, and a wide variety of birds. Taking a tour of the mangroves is a great way to get out of the city and experience some of Colombia’s natural beauty.
5. Visit the San Felipe Castle at Night
While the San Felipe Castle is a popular tourist attraction during the day, it’s a completely different experience at night. The castle is beautifully lit up, and you can take a guided tour to learn about the history of the fortress and the city.
These unique experiences are just a few of the many things to do in Cartagena Colombia. So, step off the beaten path and discover all that this vibrant city has to offer.
In conclusion, the vibrant city of Cartagena offers a wealth of experiences that cater to every type of traveler. From its rich history and stunning architecture to its lively nightlife and mouthwatering cuisine, there’s no shortage of unforgettable moments to be had. As Journeying Jack, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring many incredible destinations, and I can confidently say that the top 10 things to do in Cartagena, Colombia, are truly some of the best experiences you can have while traveling.
Whether you’re wandering through the colorful streets of the Walled City, soaking up the sun on the pristine beaches, or immersing yourself in the local culture, you’ll find that the top 10 things to do in Cartagena, Colombia, will leave you with memories that last a lifetime. So, pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure as you explore the top 10 things to do in Cartagena, Colombia.
Thank you for joining me, Journeying Jack, on this exploration of Cartagena’s must-see attractions. I hope that my Suitcase Stories have inspired you to add this beautiful city to your travel bucket list. Remember, the top 10 things to do in Cartagena, Colombia, are just the beginning – there’s so much more to discover in this enchanting destination. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Cartagena today, and experience the magic for yourself!