You’ll likely hear about Cartagena long before you arrive. While the main attraction is the historic Old Town — packed with wonderfully preserved mansions and churches — Cartagena is much more than its colorful streets: it has highrise developments, long stretches of coast, offshore reefs and vibrant neighborhoods where locals express themselves through dance, food, and art. Here's our expert guide to help you navigate this romantic and high-energy Caribbean city.
Best of Cartagena and the Caribbean Coast
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Cartagena has long been Colombia's top tourist destination. This is no surprise—it's one of the most well-preserved Spanish colonial cities on the continent. But what do you do once you've exhausted all the culture within the city's ancient ramparts? Let this be your guide to the best day trips outside Cartagena.
With miles of white sand beaches, dense jungle, and waves crashing into enormous boulders, Parque Nacional Tayrona is one of the most visually stunning natural reserves in Colombia. Days can be spent swimming in the sea and exploring the jungle, and there are opportunities to visit the remnants of ancient indigenous cities. Use this expert guide to help you get the most from one of Colombia's true natural wonders.
Cartagena may be best known for its colonial attractions and grand Afro-Caribbean cuisine, but the bar scene in this coastal city is also world class. Here are eight of the best cocktail hotspots for every taste.
As if Cartagena’s colonial charm wasn't enough, the city also boasts some of the finest hotels in Colombia. Even better, many feature incredible swimming pools—here are nine of the best.
Cartagena is one of South America’s most enchanting colonial cities, and one its best places to eat, with seafood featuring prominently on many menus. The culinary scene has blossomed here in the last decade, with plenty of options that cater to all palates and budgets, from no-frills food carts to some of the most lauded restaurants in the country. Use this guide to find your way to the best eateries this city can offer.
With its colorful street life, intriguing colonial history, and tons of museums, Cartagena is fun for the whole family. The cobbled streets of the Walled City echo with the memories of conquistadores, as well as the calls of palenqueras (Afro-Caribbean women selling fruits). Here are some ideas that will guarantee a happy family holiday in Cartagena.
Cartagena is one of South America’s most enchanting colonial cities. Enticing boutique hotels are already a feature of the Centro Histórico (walled city), with newer properties starting to appear in hip, artsy Getsemaní. Most hotels feature an elegant colonial Spanish theme (in keeping with the city's history), but with plenty of individual touches and splashes of modern art, and there are even swish, contemporary options to consider.
Cartagena is as legendary for its superb hotels as it is for its bougainvillea-draped colonial buildings. There’s a wealth of family-friendly lodgings from which to choose, from beachfront resorts to intimate boutique hotels in the heart of the historic quarter.
Colombia is renowned for its world-class coffee beans, and Cartagena knows how to flaunt the goods. The café culture is booming—here are our fave spots to relax with a good cup of (locally sourced) coffee.
Cartagena’s cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and bougainvillea-covered balconies are simply magic. But there is much to Cartagena than just its romantic Old City. This list offers a number of great options, from exploring old forts, to eating great seafood and lazing on white sand beaches.
Cartagena is a popular Colombian travel destination, boasting one of the country's liveliest dining scenes. Here you'll find seafood restaurants aplenty, plus many fine eateries serving cuisine from around the world. There's something for every member of the family in Cartagena—here are some favorites.