Greetings, fellow travelers! Journeying Jack here, back with another exciting edition of Suitcase Stories. Today, we’re diving into the vibrant and historic city of Cartagena, Colombia. With its colorful streets, rich history, and lively atmosphere, there’s no shortage of things to do Cartagena. In fact, this coastal gem is brimming with so many activities and experiences that it can be overwhelming to decide where to start. But fear not, my fellow wanderers, for I have compiled a list of the top things to do Cartagena, ensuring that your visit to this enchanting city is nothing short of unforgettable. So, strap on your adventure boots and join me as we explore the must-see sights and hidden gems that make Cartagena a true traveler’s paradise.
Explore the Colorful Streets of Old Town
If you’re looking for things to do in Cartagena, exploring the colorful streets of Old Town should be at the top of your list. This historic neighborhood is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its vibrant architecture, lively atmosphere, and rich cultural heritage.
Take a Walking Tour
One of the best ways to explore Old Town is by taking a walking tour. There are many tour companies that offer guided tours of the neighborhood, which can be a great way to learn about the history and culture of Cartagena. Some popular tours include the “Cartagena City Walking Tour” and the “Old Town Walking Tour.”
Visit the Plaza de la Trinidad
The Plaza de la Trinidad is a lively square in the heart of Old Town. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, and is surrounded by restaurants, bars, and street vendors. The square is also home to the Church of the Holy Trinity, which is a beautiful example of colonial architecture.
Wander the Colorful Streets
One of the best things to do in Cartagena is simply to wander the colorful streets of Old Town. The neighborhood is filled with brightly painted buildings, flower-filled balconies, and charming plazas. Some of the most picturesque streets include Calle de la Iglesia, Calle de la Moneda, and Calle de la Mantilla.
Visit the Museo del Oro Zenú
The Museo del Oro Zenú is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the history and culture of Cartagena. The museum is located in a beautiful colonial building and features a collection of gold artifacts from the indigenous Zenú people. The exhibits are well-curated and provide a fascinating glimpse into the region’s pre-Columbian history.
In conclusion, exploring the colorful streets of Old Town is one of the top things to do in Cartagena. Whether you take a walking tour, visit the Plaza de la Trinidad, wander the streets, or visit the Museo del Oro Zenú, you’re sure to be enchanted by this vibrant and historic neighborhood.
Dive into Cartagena’s Rich History
Cartagena is a city steeped in history, with a rich cultural heritage that dates back centuries. There are plenty of things to do in Cartagena that allow you to explore this fascinating history and learn more about the city’s past.
Visit the Walled City
One of the most iconic landmarks in Cartagena is the Walled City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 16th century. This historic district is home to some of the city’s most impressive architecture, including the stunning Cathedral of Cartagena and the Palace of the Inquisition. Take a stroll through the narrow streets and soak up the atmosphere of this charming colonial city.
Explore the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas
For a glimpse into Cartagena’s military history, head to the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas. This impressive fortress was built in the 17th century to protect the city from pirate attacks, and it remains one of the most well-preserved examples of Spanish military architecture in the Americas. Climb to the top of the castle for panoramic views of the city and the Caribbean Sea.
Visit the Museo del Oro Zenú
The Museo del Oro Zenú is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history of Colombia’s indigenous peoples. This museum houses an impressive collection of gold artifacts from the Zenú culture, which flourished in the region before the arrival of the Spanish. Learn about the Zenú’s intricate goldworking techniques and the symbolism behind their stunning creations.
Take a Walking Tour
One of the best ways to get a feel for Cartagena’s history is to take a walking tour of the city. There are plenty of tour operators offering guided walks that take you through the Walled City and other historic neighborhoods, giving you a chance to learn more about the city’s past and present. Look for tours that focus on specific themes, such as Cartagena’s African heritage or its role in the Spanish colonial empire.
Whether you’re a history buff or simply interested in learning more about Cartagena’s past, there are plenty of things to do in this vibrant city. From exploring ancient fortresses to admiring colonial architecture, there’s something for everyone in Cartagena. Don’t miss out on the chance to dive into this city’s rich history.
Savor the Flavors of Local Cuisine
When in Cartagena, one of the must-do things is to indulge in the local cuisine. The city is known for its vibrant food scene, which is a blend of African, Spanish, and indigenous influences. Here are some of the best things to do in Cartagena to savor the flavors of local cuisine:
1. Try the Street Food
One of the best things to do in Cartagena is to explore the street food scene. The city is filled with food vendors selling everything from empanadas to arepas. Some of the must-try street foods include:
- Empanadas: These are savory pastries filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables.
- Arepas: These are corn cakes that are grilled and served with cheese, butter, or meat.
- Bollos: These are boiled corn cakes that are filled with cheese, meat, or fish.
2. Visit the Local Markets
Another great way to experience the local cuisine is to visit the local markets. The Mercado de Bazurto is one of the most popular markets in Cartagena, where you can find a variety of fresh produce, seafood, and meat. You can also find local delicacies such as ceviche, fried fish, and coconut rice.
3. Take a Cooking Class
If you want to learn how to cook the local cuisine, taking a cooking class is one of the best things to do in Cartagena. You can learn how to make traditional dishes such as arroz con coco (coconut rice), sancocho (stew), and patacones (fried plantains). Some of the popular cooking classes in Cartagena include:
- Cooking Class at La Cocina de Pepina: This cooking school offers classes on traditional Colombian cuisine.
- Cooking Class at Cartagena Cooking School: This school offers classes on Caribbean and Colombian cuisine.
4. Dine at Local Restaurants
Finally, one of the best things to do in Cartagena is to dine at local restaurants. Some of the best restaurants in Cartagena that serve local cuisine include:
- La Cevicheria: This restaurant is known for its ceviche and seafood dishes.
- Carmen: This restaurant serves modern Colombian cuisine with a twist.
- El Boliche Cebicheria: This restaurant is known for its ceviche and other seafood dishes.
In conclusion, savoring the flavors of local cuisine is one of the best things to do in Cartagena. Whether you try the street food, visit the local markets, take a cooking class, or dine at local restaurants, you are sure to have a memorable culinary experience. Don’t forget to add these things to do in Cartagena to your travel itinerary!
Relax on the Pristine Beaches
Cartagena is known for its beautiful beaches, and there are plenty of things to do in Cartagena that involve soaking up the sun and enjoying the crystal-clear waters. Here are some of the best beaches to visit:
Located on the Isla Barú, Playa Blanca is one of the most popular beaches in Cartagena. The white sand and turquoise waters make it a perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. You can also rent a beach chair and umbrella and enjoy a cold drink while taking in the stunning views.
Bocagrande Beach is located in the heart of Cartagena and is a popular spot for both locals and tourists. The beach is lined with restaurants, bars, and shops, making it a great place to spend the day. You can rent a jet ski or take a banana boat ride, or simply relax on the beach and soak up the sun.
If you’re looking for a more secluded beach experience, head to the Rosario Islands. This group of islands is located about an hour from Cartagena and is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the area. You can take a boat tour to explore the islands and enjoy the pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters.
No matter which beach you choose, there are plenty of things to do in Cartagena that involve relaxing on the pristine beaches. So grab your sunscreen and head out to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea! Don’t forget to add these “things to do Cartagena” to your itinerary.
Discover the Vibrant Nightlife Scene
Cartagena is not only known for its rich history and stunning architecture, but also for its vibrant nightlife scene. Here are some of the things to do in Cartagena at night:
1. Salsa Dancing
Cartagena is the perfect place to learn how to salsa dance. There are many salsa clubs and dance schools where you can take lessons and dance the night away. Some of the popular places to go for salsa dancing are Cafe Havana, Quiebra Canto, and Donde Fidel.
2. Rooftop Bars
Cartagena has some of the most beautiful rooftop bars in the world. These bars offer stunning views of the city and the Caribbean Sea. Some of the popular rooftop bars are Alquimico, Cafe del Mar, and Movich Hotel.
Cartagena has a variety of nightclubs that cater to different tastes in music. Some of the popular nightclubs are Bazurto Social Club, Tu Candela, and Mister Babilla.
4. Nighttime City Tour
Take a nighttime city tour to see the city in a different light. You can take a horse-drawn carriage ride or a walking tour to see the city’s beautiful architecture and landmarks lit up at night.
5. Street Food
Cartagena’s street food scene comes alive at night. You can find a variety of delicious food such as arepas, empanadas, and ceviche. Some of the popular places to go for street food are La Cocina de Pepina, La Esquina del Pandebono, and La Cevicheria.
In conclusion, Cartagena has a vibrant nightlife scene that offers something for everyone. From salsa dancing to rooftop bars, nightclubs to street food, there are plenty of things to do in Cartagena at night.
Embark on a Day Trip Adventure
Cartagena is a city full of history, culture, and natural beauty. While there are plenty of things to do within the city, taking a day trip to explore the surrounding areas is a must-do. Here are some of the best day trip adventures to add to your list of things to do in Cartagena.
Explore the Rosario Islands
The Rosario Islands are a group of 27 small islands located just off the coast of Cartagena. These islands are known for their crystal-clear waters, white sand beaches, and vibrant coral reefs. You can take a boat tour to explore the islands, go snorkeling or scuba diving, or simply relax on the beach. This is a perfect day trip for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some peace and quiet.
Visit the Mud Volcano
The Mud Volcano, also known as El Totumo, is a unique natural wonder located about an hour outside of Cartagena. This small volcano is filled with warm mud that is said to have healing properties. Visitors can climb to the top of the volcano and then descend into the mud-filled crater for a relaxing and rejuvenating mud bath. This is a fun and unusual day trip that is sure to be a memorable experience.
Discover the Walled City of Cartagena
While the Walled City of Cartagena is not technically a day trip, it is definitely worth a visit if you haven’t already explored it. This historic area is full of colorful colonial buildings, charming plazas, and fascinating museums. You can spend hours wandering the narrow streets and soaking up the atmosphere. Be sure to visit the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, a massive fortress that offers stunning views of the city.
Go Horseback Riding in the Countryside
If you’re looking for a more active day trip, consider going horseback riding in the countryside surrounding Cartagena. You can explore the lush green hills, ride through small villages, and even take a dip in a natural pool. This is a great way to experience the natural beauty of the area and get some exercise at the same time.
No matter what type of adventure you’re looking for, there are plenty of things to do in Cartagena and its surrounding areas. Embark on a day trip and discover the beauty and diversity of this amazing city.
In conclusion, my fellow travelers, Cartagena is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. From its vibrant culture and rich history to its stunning beaches and mouthwatering cuisine, there’s no shortage of things to do Cartagena. As Journeying Jack, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring many corners of the world, but Cartagena holds a special place in my heart.
As you plan your own adventure, remember to take the time to truly immerse yourself in all the things to do Cartagena. Whether you’re wandering through the colorful streets of the Old City, dancing the night away to the rhythm of salsa, or simply soaking up the sun on the pristine beaches, Cartagena offers a little something for everyone.
So, pack your bags, grab your passport, and get ready to create your own Suitcase Stories as you embark on a journey to explore the many things to do Cartagena. I guarantee that this enchanting city will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. Until our next adventure, happy travels!