5 Things to Do in Cartagena Colombia

Cartagena is a port city located on the Caribbean Sea coast in northern Colombia. It was an important Spanish economic and political capital during the colonial-era. Some sources believe that the Pirates of the Caribbean stories originated from Cartagena.

The city had one of the best and strongest fortresses ever built by the Spaniards in the mid-1600s. Today, visitors can stand on the strategically built Castillo San Felipe de Barajas and imagine the disappointing looks of the pirates and enemies as they approach the giant fortress.

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise lines are a few of the cruise lines that sail into Cartagena. Currently, there are seven airlines serving Cartagena.

Here are Travelmath’s 5 things to do in Cartagena Colombia:

One: Historic Walled City
Walking on the cobblestone streets of Old Cartagena is like walking into a big open space museum. According the UNESCO, the old city conserves all the enchantment of the colonial period. And as you step inside from Puerta del Reloj, the main entrance to the walled city, you will greeted by colorful old buildings, wooden balconies, cobbled alleys and squares, colonial churches and statues that tell stories of the past.

One interesting historic convent is the Convento and Iglesia de San Pedro Claver Cartagena.

Information: UNESCO 

Two: Convent of San Pedro Claver
A visit to the convent is necessary after walking in the intense heat of Cartagena. The large trees and greeneries in the convent make the place cooler than the other parts of the historic center.

The Convent of San Pedro Claver (Convento and Iglesia de San Pedro Claver Cartagena) was named after the monk who spent his years inside the convent helping slaves from Africa.

San Pedro Claver was born in Spain and came to Cartagena during the peak of the African slave trade. The young monk was overwhelmed when he saw how slaves were treated. He was known as “Slave of the slaves” because of his service to the poorest in Cartagena.

Inside the convent, you can visit the simple room that San Pedro Claver lived in, Haitian and African artwork, pre-Colombian ceramics and the church’s altar with the remains of San Pedro Claver.

Three: Day trip to Rosario Islands
Visit Rosario Islands if you like spending a day relaxing at the beach. Rosario Islands activities include snorkeling, scuba diving and or visit the aquarium. You can take an hour sightseeing boat ride with one of the tour companies and return in the evening while enjoying views of the sunset and the city of Cartagena.

The Rosario Islands is made up of about 30 coral islands located 27 miles from Cartagena. It’s part of the Colombian Marine National Park since 1977.

Note: For overnight stays check out Hotel San Pedro de Majagua

Four: Emerald Museum Tour and Shopping
Colombia produces the most emeralds in the world. The Colombian emeralds are known to have the highest quality.

Most city tours will include a stop at Joyeria Caribe Museum and Factory. The emerald museum tour includes learning about the mining processes, the different emerald grades and cuts and finally shopping at the showroom. All purchases come with a certificate of authenticity.

Five: Getsemani neighborhood
Check out the Bohemian center of Cartagena. Getsemani has a vibrant art scene and baseball fanatics. Every Sunday at around 8 pm you can join a two-hour Zumba class in Plaza del la Santisima.

A great place for photography is at Getsemani’s Calle de la Sierpe. Here you will find worn walls filled with graffiti.

Four tips to help you plan your trip to Cartagena:

1.If you are thinking of cruising to Cartagena and it is your first cruise, read 7 Tips for First Time Cruisers.
2.Airport and flights to Cartagena.
3.Currency converter – US$1 is about 2769 COP (Colombian peso).
4.Cartagena is hot and humid. Wear light and loose clothing, hat and sunglasses.

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