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Information on the History, Attractions, Restaurants, Accommodations, and Travel for Cartagena Colombia


If you are visiting Colombia for the first time, you will want to stop in Cartagena for at least few days to experience the history and uniqueness which Cartagena has to offer.  Located on Colombia's Caribbean Coast in the Bolivar District, Cartagena is Colombia's 5th largest city, and one of its most popular travel destinations.


Arriving from Cartagena from the north, you will immediately be struck by the contrast between Cartagena's historic district, who's colonial walls and cannons stretch along the oceanfront, and the modernized Boca Grande neighborhood comprised of nightclubs, beach resorts and luxury hotels reaching towards the sky.  Between the two sits perhaps the greatest fortress ever built by the Spaniards, El Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, which helped to establish Cartagena as the colonial capital and military stronghold throughout the colonization period of the 16th, 17th and 18th Centuries.

Colonial History

The old city is made up of stunning colonial architecture, vibrant shops and restaurants, and narrow cobblestone streets utilized primarily by pedestrians and passing carriages.  The neighborhood was a major inspiration for one of the greatest writers of the century, Gabriel García Márquez who made his home in Cartagena for many years and used the city as the setting for arguably his greatest work "Amor en el Tiempo de Cholera" (Love in the Time of the Cholera)  The historic district in conjunction with El Castillo de San Felipe were named UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1984.

Water Activities

While water activities such as scuba, sailing, and snorkeling are available, the water is not as clean as it is elsewhere on the Caribbean, due to the city's somewhat antiquated water treatment infrastructure.  Colombia offers world renowned diving at extremely affordable prices, but if you decide to make this a focus of your trip, you would probably be better served to travel to Santa Marta/Taganga, or the Islands of San Andres y Providencia.

Cartagena Nightlife

One activity that we strongly recommend is the Vallenato Bus Tour.  This bus tour starts at 8PM each evening from Av San Martín between Calles 4 and 5 in Bocagrande and runs for about 3 hours before dropping everyone off at a discotheque at the tour's conclusion.  A local vallenato band, comprised of a small grooved woodblock player, a drummer, and an accordionist who usually sings, plays live throughout the trip. On the tour you will likely learn many of the city's idiosyncrasies but in a far more round about way than you would expect on a bus tour.  If you're looking to spice up your night check out the Cafe Havana or Cafe del Mar in the old city.  But be advised:  Prostitution is not uncommon in the early morning hours and police seem to target the tourists who approach them.

  • Things to Do

    Activities, Places to Visit, Things to Do and See, Points of Interest in Cartagena Colombia

  • Restaurants

    Restaurants, Dining, Food and Cocktails available in Cartagena Colombia

  • Travel and Transportation

    Information on Bus and Airline Travel to and from Cartagena Colombia