Founded in 1533 and named after Cartagena in Spain due to its key role in the development of the region during the Spanish eras, Cartagena is a large port located on the shores of the Caribbean Sea along the northern coast of Colombia. It has been recognised by UNESCO as a historical and cultural heritage of humanity since 1984 and is therefore one of the most important tourist destinations of the country. Its average temperature is around 29°C throughout the year and it has a population of approximately one million inhabitants. It is capital to the Bolivar Department and is the fifth largest city in Colombia, with economic activities including maritime, petrochemicals and tourism. 

With activity and development within the Cartagena region dating back to 400 BC, the city and surrounding area is considered to be a historical hallmark of the country. It comprises of beautiful sea, sun and landscapes with incredible and unforgettable places. You can find amazing picturesque scenes of houses with flowery balconies, refreshing fruit, and elegant carriages pulled by horses, all together with a mix of colonial, republican and modern architecture. It has outstanding nightlife, festivals, cultural events, beautiful beaches, excellent gastronomy (both local and international), an array of hotels and tourist infrastructure.

Close to the city you can find other attractive tourist places such as the Islas del Rosario, the islands of Baru, Bocagrande and El Laguito. Within the city there is a wide range of nice cultural places such as the castle of San Felipe de Barajas , the convent of Santa Cruz de la Popa , La Plaza de la Aduana, the palace of the Inquisitionthe Gold Museum and the bastions of San Francisco. 

Photos by : Luis Gomez

With tourism being a key part of the city, there are numerous tourist sites that can be visited within Cartagena including the Steps of La Popa Mount, Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, Palace of the Inquisition, Las Bovedas, the Walled city of Cartagena and Cartagena Gold Museum. There are also plenty of libraries, theatres, concert halls, museums and galleries to explore in the city. The port, fortresses and group of monuments of Cartagena are a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to their significance and being the most extensive fortifications in South America. The downtown area of the city has a diverse range of architecture with mixtures of colonial styles, republican and Italian style buildings such as the Cathedral’s bell tower.