Cartagena: the city every traveler in Colombia wants to visit and one of the highlights Colombia. And rightly so. Because despite its many tourists and high prices, Cartagena is still a gem on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Many travelers come to Cartagena for the culture, the warm weather, the colorful houses, the extraordinary history, Castillo de San Felipe and for the surrounding islands and beaches. The Old Town is the most beautiful part of Cartagena and also the most popular. But besides visits to the Gold Museum, the old churches and beautiful squares, among others, what else is there to do in the historic center?
What to do in Cartagena Colombia?
1. Take a walk over the wall
At the time when the Spaniards had to protect Cartagena from the enemy, a large thick wall (Las Murallas) was built around the city center. A wall that is still intact today, years later. Construction began in the late 16th century, but the wall was not completed until the year 1796. Take a stroll along the wall and walk around Cartagena’s historic center. Along the way you will pass various squares, cannons and the sea. In addition, the walk gives you beautiful views of colorful streets and you can see the contrasts between the old center and the skyscrapers in the city’s newer neighborhoods.
2. Visit the University of Cartagena (Universidad de Cartagena).
There are many extraordinary universities in Colombia. No gray, but historic buildings of various colors. La Universidad de Cartagena is one of them and worth visiting. The building dates back to the year 1827, making it the oldest university on Colombia’s northern coast. In 2015, the university landed at number 10 in the top 50 best universities in Colombia, a very high spot for a public university. You can visit the university during opening hours. If you walk inside you will find a plaza with statues, trees and benches. Be among Colombian students for a moment in this magnificent structure! Location: Cra. 6 # 36-100, Calle de la Universidad, Cartagena.
3. Explore the Chocolate Museum
In late 2015, the owners of the Choco Museo decided to open a branch in Colombia as well. Cartagena was the lucky city where this interesting and tasty museum was first set up. In the historic center of Cartagena, enjoy the tastiest Colombian chocolate, learn all about cocoa and make your own chocolate! Click here for more information about the Choco Museo.
4. Visit a park and look up!
In Colombia, I saw iguanas for the first time in the paradisiacal Parque Tayrona, but apparently they are also in Cartagena! While walking through Parque del Centenario (opposite Torre del Reloj), we looked up and saw several iguanas sitting in the tree. How nice! Anyway, a visit to a park is a good way to take a rest and seek the shade, but with a little luck you can also discover beautiful animals. Also a great place to spot animals in the beautiful park in Montería, also on the Colombian Caribbean coast.
5. Stroll the colorful streets in El Centro and San Diego
The historic center consists of the neighborhoods of El Centro and San Diego. El Centro is more lively and you’ll find the restaurants there, while San Diego is a bit quieter. Both feature cute little streets with colorful houses. You can easily spend a couple of hours strolling around the streets of Cartagena, and marvel at the many colorful buildings and flowers, the coziness and the relaxed daily life.
Where to stay in Cartagena?
Personally, I love staying overnight in the historic center. Waking up in the morning in a beautiful old building and walking directly into the historic streets is something I really enjoy. Of the three times I have been to Cartagena, twice I stayed at Hotel Puertas de Cartagena. A very nice not too expensive hotel with a patio, air conditioning, spacious rooms and a hot shower. The location is perfect, right in the center. Also very nice after an evening walk to be able to walk back to the hotel safely. Find your hotel here:
Book your activities in and day trips from Cartagena!
Cartagena: enjoy under the Colombian sun.