- Spa and massage
- Beach / Seaside Resort
- Place or Religious Monument
- Castle and fortress
- Place or Historical Monument
- Unesco World Heritage
You simply cannot go to Colombia without spending some time in this famous and richly historic city. Despite the humidity and the intensive heat, Cartagena is actually a very enjoyable place to visit. The best way to see it is to simply stroll leisurely around its streets, along which stand rows of brightly coloured colonial houses decorated with white bougainvillea bushes and fuchsia-coloured roses. There are also numerous leafy squares in the city where you can stop for a break and simply observe the Cartageneros (the people of Cartagena) – who really are as beautiful as they say they are – going about their everyday lives as you enjoy a drink of coconut water or fruit juice.
In the early evening, I recommend walking the special path along the top of the city's walls and watching the sunset over the Caribbean Sea, stopping to enjoy a cocktail at Café del Mar as you do so. If you climb up to the top of Cerro de la Popa, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views out over the city, and a visit to Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas will give you the opportunity to learn a little more about its rich history.
Cartagena is the perfect place to visit if you're travelling as a couple: the city is simply overflowing with good restaurants and charming little hotels, many of which offer massage and wellness treatments.
Cartagena de Indias is a place people dream of going to, and it's often the only city tourists in Colombia are prepared to risk visiting. However, it actually turned out to be one of my biggest disappointments.
Yes, Cartagena is an attractive place. Yes, Cartagena is colourful, picturesque, historic, etc. And I did really enjoy walking around its historic centre as well as along the walls of its fortress and through its colourful streets etc. Unfortunately, however, when you really open your eyes here you begin to notice that this city is just too tourist-oriented, in the worst sense of the term: as well as all the usual things designed to exploit tourists (high prices, gift shops, etc.), there is also a lot of prostitution, and some tourists come here exclusively for the women, cheap alcohol and drugs. If you were to only visit Cartagena, it would leave you with a bad impression of the country; in fact, this the only place in Colombia where I was openly offered drugs!