Top ChoiceOld Town in Cartagena

Old Town

Old Town

Cartagena's old city is its principal attraction, particularly the inner walled town, consisting of the historical districts of El Centro and San Diego. It's one of finest examples of preserved colonial...

Top ChoiceFortress in Cartagena

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

The greatest fortress ever built by the Spaniards in any of their colonies, the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas still dominates an entire section of Cartagena's cityscape. It should definitely be the first...

Museum in Cartagena

Palacio de la Inquisición

Palacio de la Inquisición

The Palace of the Inquisition may today be one of the finest buildings in the city, but in the past it housed the notoriously grisly Inquisition, whose bloody task it was to stamp out heresy in colonial...

Museum in Cartagena

Convento & Iglesia de San Pedro Claver

Convento & Iglesia de San Pedro Claver

Founded by Jesuits in the first half of the 17th century as Convento San Ignacio de Loyola, this convent later changed its name to honor Spanish-born monk Pedro Claver (1580–1654), who lived and died here. Called...

Church in Cartagena

Convento de la Popa

On a 150m-high hill, the highest point in Cartagena, stands this convent. The views from here are outstanding and stretch all over the city. The convent's name literally means the 'Convent of the Stern,' after...

Church in Cartagena

Catedral

Catedral

Work on Cartagena’s cathedral began in 1575, but in 1586, while still under construction, it was partly destroyed by the cannons of Francis Drake. The structure known officially as the Basilica Santa Catalina de...

Area in Cartagena

Getsemaní

Getsemaní, the outer walled town, is less obviously impressive than Cartagena's old city but has some charming parts and is well worth exploring. In recent years it has been the focus of Cartagena's exploding...

Museum in Cartagena

Museo de Arte Moderno

The Museum of Modern Art is a perfectly sized museum, housed in a beautifully converted part of the 17th-century former Royal Customs House. It presents rotating exhibitions from its own collection, including...

Plaza in Cartagena

Plaza de los Coches

Plaza de los Coches

Previously known as Plaza de la Yerba, the triangular plaza just behind Puerta del Reloj was once used as a market for enslaved people. It is lined with old balconied houses with colonial arches at ground level....

Plaza in Cartagena

Plaza de Bolívar

Formerly the Plaza de Inquisición, this leafy and shaded plaza is surrounded by some of the city's most elegant balconied colonial buildings. It's one of Cartagena's most alluring plazas and offers wonderful...

Gate in Cartagena

Puerta del Reloj

Puerta del Reloj

Originally called the Boca del Puente, this was the main gateway to the inner walled town and was linked to Getsemaní by a drawbridge over the moat. The side arches of the gate, which are now open as walkways,...

Church in Cartagena

Iglesia de Santo Domingo

Iglesia de Santo Domingo

Reputedly the oldest church in the city, Santo Domingo was built in 1539 in Plaza de los Coches, but the original building succumbed to fire and the church was rebuilt in its present location in 1552. Builders...

Fortress in Cartagena

Las Murallas

Las Murallas

The Old Town is surrounded by Las Murallas, the thick walls built to protect it. Construction was begun toward the end of the 16th century after the attack by Francis Drake; until that time, Cartagena was almost...

Museum in Cartagena

Museo del Oro Zenú

Museo del Oro Zenú

This museum is like a miniature version of Bogotá's world-class gold museum, the Museo del Oro. Though small, it offers a fascinating collection of the gold and pottery of the Zenú (also known as Sinú) people,...

Museum in Cartagena

Casa de Rafael Núñez

This charming mansion, just outside the walls of Las Bóvedas, was the home of the former president, lawyer and poet Rafael Núñez. He wrote the words of Colombia's national anthem and was one of the authors of the...

Market in Cartagena

Mercado Bazurto

Mercado Bazurto

For adventurous souls only, Cartagena's labyrinthine central market, 4km outside the old city walls, is both dirty and enthralling – an all-out assault on the senses. If it's marketable, it's for sale here: there...

Church in Cartagena

Iglesia de Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo

Erected between 1666 and 1732, this gorgeous church received a full renovation in 2015. Its ceiling is covered with Mudejar paneling, while its pink-and-gold baroque altar is the only one of its kind in...

Statue in Cartagena

Monumento a la India Catalina

Monumento a la India Catalina

The monument at the main entrance to the Old Town from the mainland is a tribute to the Carib people, the group that inhabited this land before the Spanish Conquest. The lovely bronze statue depicts Catalina, a...

Museum in Cartagena

Museo Naval del Caribe

Opened in 1992 on the 500th anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the New World, the Naval Museum occupies a great colonial building, which was once a Jesuit college. It features, for the most part, a grand...

Plaza in Cartagena

Plaza de la Aduana

Plaza de la Aduana

This is the largest and oldest square in the Old Town and was used as a parade ground. In colonial times all the important governmental and administrative buildings were here. The old Royal Customs House has been...