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An update from Evaneos

Cartagena (Colombia)

Practical information on Cartagena

  • Spa and massage
  • Romantic
  • Beach / Seaside Resort
  • Viewpoint
  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Music
  • Museums
  • Castle and fortress
  • Handicraft
  • Place or Historical Monument
  • Unesco World Heritage
  • Essential
4 / 5 - 2 reviews
How to get there
One and a quarter hours from Bogotá by plane
When to go
All year round
Minimum stay
1 to 2 days

Reviews of Cartagena

Seasoned Traveller
67 written opinions

Cartagena, parts of which are inscribed collectively as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is definitely one of the essential places to see in Colombia, and it's the perfect place for those who enjoy history and culture.

My suggestion:
Plan to spend four to five days exploring Cartagena and its surrounding area if you want to get the most out of the city. To enjoy your stay to the maximum, walk around in the morning and evening, which are the coolest and freshest times of day.
My review

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.

One of the Cartagena's flower-decorated streets
Seasoned Traveller
43 written opinions

Cartagena de Indias is a colonial city in Colombia originally founded in the 16th century and containing a walled city and fortress inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage.

My suggestion:
For a more traditional and authentic experience, head away from the very tourist-oriented historic centre. The market, in particular, is a good place to visit in this respect.
My review

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!

One of Cartagena's colourful streets
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