Discover the vibrant city of Cartagena in this family-friendly trip, starting with a guided walking tour through the city's colonial past, exploring its colorful buildings, monuments, and street art. Experience the region's incredible gastronomic identity by cooking traditional recipes with a local family, using techniques passed down from generations. End your trip at a beach resort in the San Bernardo Islands, with clear waters perfect for lounging, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and more.

Highlights

  • Learn to cook traditional Colombian recipes with a local family
  • Relax on the pristine beaches of the San Bernardo Islands
  • Walk the colorful streets of hip Getsemani, observing street art
  • Discover the history of Cartagena with a guided walking tour
  • Hike the island of Múcura and enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling, and kayaking

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cartagena - Enjoy a guided walking tour Cartagena
Day 2 Explore Castillo San Felipe - Cook with a local family Cartagena
Day 3 Transfer to the San Bernardo Islands and relax on the beach Isla Mucura
Day 4 Hike the island of Múcura and enjoy water sports Isla Mucura
Day 5 Return to Cartagena by ferry - Discover the city's street art Cartagena
Day 6 Depart Cartagena  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cartagena - Enjoy a guided walking tour

Colorful Streets of Getsemaniaera in Cartagena
Colorful Streets of Getsemaniaera in Cartagena

Welcome to Colombia!

Upon arriving at the airport in Cartagena, you'll transfer to your accommodation with your English-speaking guide. Along the way, you'll receive all the necessary information and documentation for your trip. After settling into your hotel, take some time to relax and explore the surrounding neighborhood.

In the afternoon, you'll join a guided walking tour to help you discover Cartagena, often referred to as the "Pearl of the Caribbean". The cobbled streets will transfer you back to colonial times as you stroll amid colorful houses and lively squares. You'll start in the expansive Plaza de los Coches, at the entrance to the city's Old Town. Enjoy the bright buildings housing bars and cafes, with their arched entryways and terraces. You'll find the city's Clock Tower here, acting as a gate in and out of the Old Town. Nearby is the pier with the Los Pegasos monument, where you can cross into the bohemian neighborhood of Getsemani.

Make your way through the twisting streets to the Cartagena Cathedral, built within the 16th and 17th centuries. Then head to Ciudad Amurallada along one of the most colorful streets in the city. You'll pass by Plaza de San Diego, a great spot to grab dinner later in the evening. 

End your tour at the yellow arcades and galleries of Plaza Las Bovedas, where you can look out to the Carribean Sea. For better views, walk along the old Walls of Cartagena, which are particularly beautiful at sunset.

Day 2: Explore Castillo San Felipe - Cook with a local family

San Felipe de Barajas Castle and the Skyline of Cartagena
San Felipe de Barajas Castle and the Skyline of Cartagena

After breakfast, you'll explore one of the city's most striking landmarks: Castillo San Felipe de Barajas. This 17th-century fortress sits atop San Lorenzo Hill,  protecting the gold the colonists shipped back to Spain. After wandering the tunnels on a guided tour, you'll walk along the castle's ramparts. Since the fortress was strategically built at an elevated location, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the Bocagrande peninsula, the Old Town, and even as far as northern Cartagena.

In the afternoon, head back into the trendy Getsemaní neighborhood and enjoy a refreshment at one of the patio cafes around Plaza de la Trinidad. The plaza's focal point includes an old yellow church of the same name, which was built around 1600. 

Now it's time to explore the culinary scene of Cartagena. The region's cuisine is known for its warmth and flavor, mainly due to the generosity of the locals who've carried on generations of traditional techniques. For the best experience, you'll learn how to prepare the most authentic dishes of Cartagena in the comfort of a local family's home kitchen. Your hosts will welcome you with a traditional fruit drink as they explain the typical ingredients and techniques used in the recipes of the city.

Step-by-step, you'll learn how to prepare a menu of local delicacies, including appetizers, snacks, main dishes, and desserts. Armed with your fruity drinks and a freshly-prepared meal, you'll enjoy a home-cooked lunch with your hosts.

The rest of the day is yours to continue exploring the city. Enjoy a rest at your hotel, then stroll the hip streets of Getsemaní or the beaches of Bocagrande. As you search for dinner, use your new knowledge to choose the best, local meal.

Day 3: Transfer to the San Bernardo Islands and relax on the beach

Punta Faro
Beach Huts at Mucura island

Trade the hustle of the city for the tranquility of the San Bernardo Islands, an archipelago of golden beaches set just off the coast of Central Colombia. After breakfast, you'll transfer to the pier and catch a 2-hour ferry cruising through the clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. Enjoy the breeze and fresh air as you pass Colombia's coastline from the Bay of Cartagena.

In the late morning, you'll arrive in Punta Faro, an exclusive resort on the islet of Múcura. As you enter the crystalline waters of its tiny cove and motor your way to the dock, your hosts will greet you with a fresh drink and welcome you to the islands. After settling into your accommodation, take some time to enjoy the amenities at the resort.

In the afternoon, you're free to relax on the beach, lounge in a hammock, try some water sports, or play a game of beach volleyball. Enjoy a happy-hour aperitif at the bar's terrace overlooking the bay, then settle in for dinner as the sun melts into the sea.

Day 4: Hike the island of Múcura and enjoy water sports

Isla Múcura, Colombia
Isla Múcura, Colombia

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the resort before embarking on a hike around the island. Múcura may be a small, coral islet, but it's packed with beauty and incredible vistas. You can easily walk the entirety of the island in just about one hour, hiking around rocky coves with foamy waves and turquoise waters, through jungles of palm trees, and along sandy beaches.

After your walk, you'll enjoy a relaxed lunch back at the hotel, followed by a boat tour of the other islands in the archipelago, such as Tintipán and Santa Cruz del Islote. The latter is an artificially-made, soccer-field-sized outpost that's home to just about 500 people. It's thought to be the most densely-populated island in the world.

The rest of your afternoon is yours to enjoy. You can rent kayaks, go windsurfing, borrow bicycles, or explore underwater marine life with snorkel gear or scuba equipment. The resort even offers night dives.

In the evening, you'll return to the resort for dinner and drinks.

Day 5: Return to Cartagena by ferry - Discover the city's street art

Browse the Street Vendors in Cartagena
Browse the Street Vendors in Cartagena

Your final morning on Múcura can be slow and leisurely, with a relaxed breakfast and one final swim at the beach. In the late morning, you'll transfer back to Cartagena. Enjoy the views along the way, as you'll pass by the beautiful Rosario Islands.

Settle into your accommodation, then head out to spend one last day in beautiful Cartagena. Stroll through the historic streets and visit any sites you may have missed so far. Hang out in hip Getsemani and view the street art along Calle De La Sierpe, or stroll along Calle Tripita, one of the city's most photographed areas. Eat your way through the Old Town in your last chance to try more local delicacies, stopping to visit the Museo Del Cacao (Chocolate Museum).

In the evening, enjoy your final dinner in Cartagena. 

Day 6: Depart Cartagena

A traditional horse-drawn carriage in Cartagena.
A traditional horse-drawn carriage in Cartagena.

It's time to say goodbye to Colombia. After breakfast at the hotel, a driver will transfer you to the airport to catch your return flight home.