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  • Tammy O'Hara

Unforgettable Adventures: Spend an Exotic Week in Cartagena, Colombia

Updated: Jun 4

Cartagena is located in Colombia's Caribbean coast and is truly one of Colombia’s most beautiful cities. Colombian tradition is full of bright colors, vibrant music and delectable foods that are rich in culture. There is no surprise that tourists are being rapidly drawn to this lively port city for vacation, as it contains an enticing combination of old-world charm and new-world experiences. 

Where to stay. Traditionally, Cartagena was one of the more affordable Caribbean destinations. However, in 2019, it’s tourism industry is booming and prices have definitely increased to reflect the growth in travel into Cartagena. For budget-friendly and less-crowded travel, the best months to travel to Cartagena are November, December, March, July and August. 

Where to stay depends on the type of Colombian experience you desire: 

For history buffs, stay in or near Cartagena’s Walled City. Casa Pizarro Hotel Boutique is a modern boutique hotel with all of the desired amenities, including a pool, buffet and accommodating staff. It is located in a fun neighborhood and is walking distance from the Walled City. 

For a luxurious getaway, stay at Hotel Casa Agustín, a chic 4-star hotel on the beach. Containing only 31 guest rooms and suites, as well as a private beach, spa and onsite restaurant, this 17th century building encompasses both history and luxury. 

For a non-stop beach party atmosphere, stay in Bocagrande at Penthouses Palmetto. This high rise building is located directly on the beach, and within walking distance to numerous restaurants and quick driving distances to Cartagena’s most popular sites. 

What to do. Cartagena is a large city, both in population and geography, and therefore lends itself to varying lengths of stay, depending on your focus. Whether you plan to stay for a weekend or an entire week (we highly recommend the latter), Cartagena has a host of sights and experiences for everyone. 

Wander through the Old Walled City. Downtown Cartagena is contained within 7 miles of stone walls and is highlighted by colorful, historic buildings. Take a stroll through the city, watch the sunset from the walls and stop and experience the nightlife filled with vibrant cocktails and salsa dance. 

Shop at Bazurto Market. Bazurto Market has numerous vendors of varying kinds, including local delicious and fresh produce, through narrow alleys and under makeshift roofs. 

Relax on the Playa Blanca. Known for its beautiful white sand, Playa Blanca is located on Baru island and is accessible by boat or van. During the busiest season, you will find larger crowds and beach vendors, while the more quiet season serves as a peaceful reprieve from city life. 

Be artsy in Getsemani. Getsemani is a growing neighborhood highlighted with talented street art, hipster coffee shops and a ton of history. It is located only 10 minutes outside of the walled city and is marked by the Plaza - where people gather to watch performances and have a drink. 

Learn Cartagena history at the Inquisition Museum. The former home to the Spanish Inquisition, this museum highlights the importance of Cartagena’s ports. 

Hike Tayrona National Park. Located along the coast, Tayrona is comprised of pristine beaches and adventurous hikes. 

Visit Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, Cartagena Cathedral and the Clock Tower.

Where to eat. Cartagena is Colombia’s culinary capital, combining top chefs, local flavor and a vibrant atmosphere to create can’t-miss restaurants. 

La Cevicheria became famous thanks to the travels of a renowned chef and global traveler, the late Anthony Bourdain. The quality of food at this restaurant is impeccable, with fresh local seafood and regional wines highlighting the menu, and the quantity more than generous. There will be a wait as reservations are not accepted, but it is well worth it. 

Maria is a restaurant that highlights traditional Colombian ingredients in a cushion of global cuisine. It is swanky and modern and spans the world in its take on flavor and spice, with its cocktail program as innovative and delicious as its food. 

Di Silvio Trattoria is a traditional Italian restaurant with historic charm and live music. Located in the heart of Cartagena’s party town - Getsemani - this beautiful and historic restaurant serves the best pasta and pizzas in the city. 

If you are considering a trip to Cartagena, you really should work from a customized plan. Sign up for our email list for more destination highlights, travel deals, and travel news. Ready to check out Cartagena, click here to get started.

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