Last Updated on March 7, 2023
Columbia is a country which is steeped in history, some of it not so favorable. One of the favorite cities to visit is Cartagena which is located on the Caribbean coast of the country and is a port city.
The city was founded in the 1600s giving it a rich history which is reflected in bot the culture and the architecture of the city. The city is a popular destination for sun worshipers due to its tropical climate and beautiful beaches.
If you are looking to travel to the vibrant city of Cartagena, you may well be wondering what there is to keep you entertained in this Colombian paradise. In this article, we are going to be taking a look at some of the most interesting and exciting things that you can find to do in the city.
1. Las Bovedas
This attractive looking building was in fact, used as a dungeon in its early days but now serves as a tourist destination. The Caribbean sea can be viewed from the top of the building, giving visitors the chance to take in some beautiful sea views. The site is located in the old town and also houses several souvenir shops for tourists to take away a memory of their trip.
2. Palace of Inquisition
The palace of inquisition was the 18th century seat of the Holy office of inquisition over 300 hundred years ago when the building was originally completed in the 1700s.
Today it serves as a museum which is home to many exhibitions displaying some interesting historic items. The building is famed for its distinct colonial architecture and many people visit it simply to appreciate its design. It has been said to be one of the most fine buildings in the city.
3. Rosario Islands
For those who are interested in taking part in activities such as snorkeling and fishing, the Rosario islands are a fantastic destination to do these and many more.
The islands are located off the coast, around 100km away from Cartagena and despite the relatively long distance, remains a popular destination for people to take a couple of days away from the city, whilst still using it as a base.
4. Bazurto Market
If you want to truly experience everything that Columbia truly has to offer, there is no better way than visiting one of its many markets. At the Bazurto market, you will find a colorful welcome where many different types of exotic foods can be purchased. Get involved in the hustle and bustle of this booming market place and become one of the locals for an afternoon.
5. Museo del Oro Zenu
This interesting museum is home to many pre-Colombian relics and is of particular interest to those who have a passion for long passed history.
There are a good variety of both permanent and temporary exhibitions on display, giving visitors something fresh and exciting to see each time they visit. You may find many examples of ancient pottery and precious metals which can be particularly interesting.
6. Pier Los Pegasus
These magnificent statues of two Pegasus’ stand proudly on the pier which has taken their name. These are truly amazing sculptures and a must see for anyone with a penchant for this type of attraction.
Once you have wondered at the majesty of these sculptures, there are a good variety of bars, cafes and restaurants in the surrounding area where you can grab a bite to eat and watch the world go by.
7. Playa de Bocogrande
As we mentioned in the introduction of this article, Cartagena is one of the best places in the world for those who love the sun, due to its beautiful tropical climate.
If this sounds like you then perhaps you might be interested in paying a visit to one of the cities most well loved beaches, the Playa de Bocogrande. Here you can appreciate the glorious scenery as well as relaxing and soaking up the heavenly Colombian sunshine.
8. Cafe Stepping Stone
If you are looking for somewhere cozy, quaint and wonderful to take a meal, then why not try the cafe stepping stone in Cartagena which is renowned for its exclusive and elegant food which is of the absolute best standard.
There are plenty of items to choose from on the menu and if you attend in the evenings you will be greeted with a cocktail menu that is fit for a King or Queen. The evening menu also consists of beautiful home made burgers, all served in a delightfully friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
9. The Old City
Many cities have an old town which is home to some of the very first buildings and squares in the history of the city and Cartagena is no different. Why not spend a day exploring everything that the old city has to offer and take in some of the detailed and extravagant architecture which can be found here.
Lining the streets, you are likely to find stalls selling knick knacks and artists creating some wonderful pieces. This is truly the cultural hub of the city and should not be missed when visiting. For those with a love for art, there are many interesting sculptures dotted around the old city.
10. Museo de Arto Moderno
Going back to those art lovers we mentioned in the previous point, how about visiting the museum of modern art in Cartagena where you will find many diverse and interesting works of art, each with a story of their own.
The museum features various pieces but has a particular focus on Colombian artists from the 1950s. It is set over two levels providing visitors with a chance to ‘get in touch with their soul’ through art.
11. Street Food Tour
For all the avid foodies out there, any getaway would not be complete without trying the local food, and what better way to do this than by taking a tour of the street food found in this amazing city.
You can certainly take this tour on your own but there are specialist guides available to show you the very best places and serve you up all the correct information surrounding each dish that you sample. You will find that you end up trying a whole range of foods such as cheeses, breads and fruits.
12. Convento de La Popa
Atop a hill lies the Convento de la popa which is so called due to its similarity in shape to the poop deck on a ship. Quite an interesting fact! The convent was originally built in the 1600’s and still stands today for those who wish to enter inside and take part in prayers and rituals, something which is very fitting with the faith and culture of the city.
As well as the spiritual side of this visit, tourists can get amazing views of the city from this vantage point, which are second to none and a perfect photo opportunity.
13. Salsa Dancing
When in Rome……or Cartagena in this case, you simply have to try out one of the many salsa dancing establishments within the city. This native dance is passionate and lively and is enjoyed by many the world over.
But what better place to experience it than in one of its home countries. There are a great choice of bars which specialize in salsa music where you can dance the night away. Its great exercise too!
14. El Totumo
For a very unique Colombian experience, you just have to visit El Totumo which is a mud volcano. You are able to get inside and bathe in the mud which is said to have extremely good properties for the skin.
This is a very popular destination for tourists and there are opportunities to have your photograph taken whilst bathing in the mud. You can even get a massage! At the end of the experience you have the choice to clean off in the nearby lake, and this can even be done for you.
15. Cartagena Botanical Gardens
If you have a love of plants then a trip to the botanical gardens in Cartagena is a great idea. This large botanical garden features a huge range of both native and non native plants and also has a lovely little cafe to boot.
Take a relaxing walk through the gardens and appreciate nature at its best. Visitors will also be delighted to find many animals living in the gardens in amongst the 300 species of plant.
If you are thinking about visiting Cartagena, there is no reason not to when you look at the great range of things that this vibrant city has to offer. From fine food and music to history and nature, there is something for everyone in this Colombian paradise.
There are the gorgeous beaches for those who want to relax and soak up the rays, and more adventurous activities as well as everything in between. It is no wonder that Cartagena is becoming one of the most well loved cities in South America.