A fairy-tale city of romance, legends and sheer beauty, Cartagena de Indias is an addictive place that can be hard to escape. This is the place to drop all sightseeing routines. Instead, just stroll through Cartagena's maze of cobbled alleys, where enormous balconies are shrouded in bougainvilla and massive churches cast their shadows across leafy plazas. Take time out to relax at one of Cartagena's many open-air cafés, prime viewing spots to watch the parade of horse-drawn carriages, fashionable locals and mystified tourists. When the bustling city gets too much, you can always escape to the nearby Islas de Rosario.
Cartagena offers a variety of restaurants and accommodations to suit all tastes and budgets. If you've got pesos burning a hole in your pocket, this is the city to splurge on a pricey historic hotel or flashy restaurant.
Listed as a Unesco World Heritage site, Cartagena draws legions of tourists and thus, inevitably, aggressive touts and money changers. You are more likely to get hassled in Cartagena than in any other Colombian city, but this is a small price to pay to enjoy one of the continent's greatest cultural treasures.
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Best places to stay in Cartagena
It’s hard to remember, on those cold days when you pile on your heavy coat and scarf, that there are places on the planet where the sun rarely stops shining. The Colombian city of Cartagena has skies so blue and cloudless that they look permanently polarised...
Cartagena destination guides
Colombian Cultural Adventure
Colonial towns, the coffee corner 'Eje Cafetero', the Cocora Valley, the Tairona Coastal Park and vibrant Cartagena
Rosario Islands Day Trip from Cartagena
Escape Cartagena for the day and take a trip to the Rosario Islands! Enjoy a 1-hour cruise from Cartagena to the Rosario Islands, a magnificent archipelago and a must-see while in Colombia. Spend the day relaxing in the national park, swimming in the pristine Caribbean waters, and visiting the local aquarium.