Shutterstock / WILLIAM RG


Cartagena de Indias is the undisputed queen of the Caribbean coast, a historic city of superbly preserved beauty lying within an impressive 13km of centuries-old colonial stone walls. Cartagena's Old Town is a Unesco World Heritage Site – a maze of cobbled alleys, balconies covered in bougainvillea, and massive churches that cast their shadows across leafy plazas.

This is a place to drop all sightseeing routines. Instead of trying to tick off all the sights, just stroll through the Old Town day and night. Soak up the atmosphere, pausing to ward off the brutal heat and humidity in one of the city's many excellent bars and restaurants.

Holding its own against Brazil's Ouro Preto and Peru's Cuzco for the continent's most enthralling and impressively preserved historic city, Cartagena is hard to walk away from – it seizes you in its aged clutches and refuses to let go.

Explore Cartagena

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Cartagena.


Learn more about Cartagena

Uncover the heart of travel and be inspired to see new sights with one of Lonely Planet’s in-depth, award-winning guidebooks.