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Top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Cartagena

Best Places to Visit in Cartagena

One of the most gorgeous, romantic and colorful cities in the world, Cartagena is full of history, friendly Colombians and, of course, tourists. This walled city is made up of pastel colonial buildings surrounded by flowers, cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and an abundance of restaurants and boutiques that will delight any visitor.

You can wander the city walls at sunset, explore the fort that protected the city for hundreds of years and try all the Caribbean flavors of the region, from fresh fish to exotic fruits. Between the markets, day trips, shopping and nearby beaches and the Rosario Islands, marvel at the beauty of Cartagena for days.

Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Cartagena and make your trip enjoyable.

10 Best Places to Visit in Cartagena

Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Cartagena:

1. Old City

Most tourists will stay in Old Cartagena, which includes the Centro, Santiago, and Getsemani neighborhoods, and you should too. Here you will be close to the most historic parts of the city and its picturesque streets, especially within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Walled City (La Ciudad Amurallada).

You’ll find tons of colorful colonial buildings, flowers, artists, and street trinkets. Be sure to visit Torre del Reloj, the historically significant and monumental Plaza Aduna, the bustling Plaza de Santo Domingo with its Botero statue, and the tree-lined Boli in Val Square, which is often packed with dancers and performers.

2. Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

Possibly the most incredible castle built by the Spanish in any of their colonies is a landmark in the city of Cartagena. Construction began in 1639, and despite numerous attempts to raid the city, it was never taken.

Inside there are specially designed tunnels that transmit even small sounds well so that any intruders can be easily detected. You can wander through some of these dark passages and follow the walls and battlements of the castle when you visit.

3. Mud Volcanoes

El Totumo is a small volcano with thick bubbling mud you can bathe in, just outside of Cartagena. You climb the hill-like barrel where you will swim in the mud and even prefer a quick massage.

If you want to take a photo, please give your camera or phone to the person who took the photo of the tourist. A local lady rubs you in the lake at the end of your skin-soothing mud bath. Remember, everyone asks for tips, but it’s all fun and totally worth it.

4. Islas del Rosario

Take a beautiful day trip from Cartagena to Islas del Rosario, a group of 27 islands in the clear Caribbean waters off the coast of the city. Filled with coral reefs, it is a natural habitat for an abundance of aquatic life, where you can spend a day paddling, swimming or snorkeling.

On land, there are also hotels, an aquarium, and some walking tours you can take. Take a public boat to the larger islands or take a private excursion boat to visit some of the smaller islands. Whether you want white sand, a festive atmosphere or a pristine coastline, there’s an island for you.

5. Mercado de Bazurto

It’s messy, fragrant, vibrant, colorful and totally authentic, which is why you should definitely visit Mercado de Bazurto. This is the largest wet market in the city and you can visit it to see the locals who cut meat, peel fish, cook, repair machinery and stockpile.

Grab a bite to eat from one of the food stalls, have a bite eat, or taste the exotic fruits on offer. You’ll need to keep an eye on your belongings and wear open-toe shoes, but it’s a great way to see the real Cartagena. Insider Tours and Cartagena Connections offer tours here so you can learn all about the market and make sure you don’t miss any hidden gems.

6. Playa Blanca

You can reach the most popular white sand beaches around Cartagena, on the Island of Baru, by boat or car. It can be packed with locals, tourists, and beach vendors trying to sell you something during the day, but stay a night and you won’t regret it.

There are various accommodation options from luxury hotels to hostels, hammocks and tents on the beach. The water is bright blue and calms and very calming at night. While you’re here, grab a beer and fried fish with coconut rice from one of the beachfront restaurants.

7. Sunset drinks at Cafe del Mar

This restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants in the city due to its prime location. Located along the walls of the old town, it is the perfect place to sit outside and watch the sunset while looking out over the Caribbean Sea.

Of course, the prices here are higher than most in town because of this amazing property, but the cocktails are great. There is a huge Colombian flag on the terrace so the photos here are unbeatable and there is usually a breeze and some kind of live music after a hot day in Cartagena.

8. Convento De La Popa

The mountain is the highest point in the city and is home to a monastery, named after its poop deck-like shape. Take a taxi down the winding roads to visit this monastery, built in 1607 and fortified two centuries later.

From here you will have the best view of Cartagena and its beaches, you can enter the chapel to admire the image of the Virgin of Candelaria and the flowery courtyard. You will also see statues of priests who were killed for trying to spread the gospel.

9. Palace of the Inquisition

This interesting museum is housed in one of Cartagena’s most beautiful colonial buildings but covers a dark period in history. The Spanish Inquisition sent representatives to punish pagans in the colony for “crimes” seen as a threat to the Catholic Church, including witchcraft, magic, and blasphemy.

Visitors can inspect and read about the gruesome torture devices used to retrieve confessions, such as straps and “shelves”. You can also see the prison where the victims await trial and the courtyard where public executions took place. Exhibits in English are available, such as questions if you are a witch, but there are guides as well.

10. Salsa

Cafe Havana is a bustling bar with live Cuban salsa music and the famous dance spot Hillary Clinton, which she famously visits when she visits the city. Donde Fidel has a great sound system right in front of the picturesque bell tower of this walled city – perfect for crowd watching. Check out Quiebracanto for incredible music and views of the square below, or if you need a lesson, head to Crazy Salsa.

Conclusion:

Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Cartagena. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Cartagena, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.

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