If you plan to be sailing the Caribbean or find yourself looking for an excellent alternative to South America’s famous tourist traps, Cartagena, Colombia just might be the perfect destination for you. The city has a rich history and stellar beach weather all year round, plus it’s home to many first-rate attractions which are well worth taking some time to explore and experience for yourself.
Let’s dive into some of our favorite reasons to make port in Cartagena:
- The storied past has left the port with some breathtaking architecture to explore and learn about the history of the region. San Felipe Castle is at the top of the list for must-see places and you could easily spend a whole day winding through this labyrinthine UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is one of our favorites in South America. There is also the Palace of the Inquisition and Torre del Reloj among many other amazing historical sites that feel like gateways to a lost time. While some of the history is dark, experiencing the sites for yourself is a great way to gain respect for the past.
- Cartagena is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the hemisphere, Playa Blanca, which is named for its picturesque powdery sands and features brilliant turquoise water. For those that like to kayak, paddling out to Isla Grande and drifting lazily through the mangroves is a tranquil and serene way to spend an afternoon. There’s also a splendid museum that features the regions typical golden artistry called Museo del Oro Zenú (Zenú Gold Museum) that’s worth visiting along with plenty of other attractions to keep you occupied.
- The city is full of excellent little cafes for grabbing a quick bite while walking around, but there are also plenty of excellent gourmet restaurants as well. As may be expected, fresh seafood is featured heavily in the regional cuisine. La Vitrola is the perfect place for a casual night out where you can hear live music, drink cocktails, and enjoy a broad menu of both steak and seafood.
- If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, then Maria is an intriguing breath of fresh air and feels equal parts upscale dining and art gallery with it’s massive paintings that cover most of the walls. For those wanting something a bit more traditional, there’s also Montmartre which is your standard ritzy French bistro.