Old Town

Top choice in Cartagena

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 architecture in the Americas, packed with churches, monasteries, plazas, palaces and mansions with their famous overhanging balconies and shady patios.

The best way to experience the Old Town is to wander in leisurely fashion, savoring the architectural details, street life and local snacks along the way. Nighttime adds a whole different dimension.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Cartagena attractions

1. Museo del Oro Zenú

0.03 MILES

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…

2. Catedral

0.05 MILES

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…

3. Plaza de la Aduana

0.05 MILES

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…

4. Plaza de Bolívar

0.06 MILES

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…

5. Palacio de la Inquisición

0.08 MILES

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…

6. Plaza de los Coches

0.08 MILES

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…

7. Puerta del Reloj

0.09 MILES

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…

8. 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…