Cartagena de Indias is a beautiful and touristic city located in the North of Colombia. Considered as a jewel of the Caribbean, this city has a rich past which gives it this particular cachet nowadays. History, gastronomy, art, cutlure, beaches, nighlife… Cartagena has a lot to offer to visitors who dare to face its hot and humid weather.
I am lucky enough to live in this city since january 2016. So when I am not working, I take my dog along and explore. Therefore I share with you this subjective list of my 100 favorite things to do in Cartagena. No matter if you stay for a day or for weeks, it will give you an overview of what you can find there. Just pick up what you like!
1-Popa Hill (Cerro de la Popa), a covent on the top of the highest hill of the city, for the best view on Cartagena.
2- Castillo San Felipe, built in 1536 by slaves, to discover the military architecture.
3- Sanctuary of San Pedro Claver, named after Colombia’s first Saint.
4- Pedro Heredia theater, also called Adolfo Mejia theater.
5- The famous Clock Tower (Torre del Reloj), the main gate of Old Cartagena.
6- The Vaults (las Bovedas) to shop local handicraft and emeralds.
7- Plaza de la Aduana, the biggest square of Cartagena.
8- Fort of San Sebastian del Pastelillo in the district of Manga.
9- Plaza Bolivar to enjoy a show by traditional dancers.
10- Catedral Santa Catalina de la Alejandria.
11- Take a walk tour in the Old city with an expert guide. More
12- Take pictures of the colorful colonial houses in the district of San Diego.
13- Admire the murals in the streets of the district of Getsemani.
14- Walk along the old city walls early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
15- Cross the Roman Bridge for beautiful views on the city.
16- Walk through Park Centenario (monuments, fountains, leafy walking paths).
17- Walk along the touristiv port (Muelle Turistico) to admire the Bay of Souls (bahía de las animas).
18- Walk down the street Calle Real del Cabrero to see the Church Ermita del Cabrero and beautiful colonial houses.
19- Walk on the beach of Bocagrande, the modern district of Cartagena.
20- Walk on the seafront of Manga (avenida Miramar) for a view on the Marina.
21- Fresh fruit salad freshly made by a Palenquera (fruit basket lady) in the historic center.
22- Typical arepas con huevo and empanadas for breakfast.
23- Traditional Caribbean lunch: fried fish, coconut rice and plantains.
24- Handmade sweets at Portal de los Dulces.
25- Seafood and fish at La Cevicheria restaurant. More
26- Ice-cream (paleta) at La Paletteria near Plaza Santo Domingo. More
27- Fresh Coco water and Coco limonade.
28- Rum and artesanal beers at Alquimico bar. More
29- Brunch at Caffe Lunatico. More
30- Coffee roasting and tasting at Cafe del Mural. More
31- Delicious street food during a tour experience. More
32- Closed-door gastronomic experience. More
33- Museum of Oro Zenu (free) to admire pre-Columbian golden objects. More
34- House-museum of Rafael Nuñez (free). More
35- Naval Museum of the Caribbean to discover pirate stories. More
36- Historic Museum housed in Palacio de la Inquisicion. More
37- Museum of Modern Art featuring local artists. More
38- Museum of Fortifications, inside baluarte de Santa Catalina. More
39- Historic Photo gallery of Cartagena (fototeca) in the district of Manga. More
40- Choco Museum in the district of San Diego. More
41- Touch Gertrudis’breast, Botero’s sculpture, at Plaza Santo Domingo to get lucky in love.
42- Statue of The India Catalina, before the bridge of Chambacu.
43- Statue of Pedro de Heredia, the founder of the city in 1533, at Plaza de los Coches.
44- Statues of famous Colombian artists and musicians at Park de los Manglares.
45- Bust of the 9 most important people in the history of Cartagena at Park Apollo.
46- Giant sculpture of a pair of boots (Las Botas Viejas), near Castillo San Felipe.
47- Statue of Simon Bolivar, the Liberator, at plaza Bolivar.
48- Statue of Christopher Colombo, at plaza de la Aduana.
49- Sculptures of traditionals workers in front of the Museum of Modern Art.
50- Original sculptures of people and dogs at plaza del Pozo in Getsemani.
51- Hotel Sofitel Santa Clara (cafe). More
52- University of Cartagena. More
53- Hotel El Claustro (cafe). More
54- Vera restaurant (italian food) inside the Tcherassi hotel. More
55- Centro Cultural Ciudad Movil (pizzas). More
56- Alianza Colombo Francesa (cafe). More
57- Centro de Formación de la Cooperación Española. More
58- Alma restaurant (caribbean gastronomy) in the Hotel Casa San Augustin. More
59- Restaurant Cuzco (peruvian food) near Plaza Santo Domingo. More
60- Bohemia restaurant & bar inside El Marques Hotel. More
61- Watch the sunset from Cafe del Mar. More
62- Admire the 360-degree view from the rooftop of the Movich hotel. More
63- Have the cheapest beer at Donde Fidel. More
64- Have a cocktail on the lovely rooftop of Malagana café & bar. More
65- Have a glass of wine in the bar El Claustro of the Hotel Sofitel Santa Clara, an ancient chapel. More
66- Listen to good salsa at La Esquina Sandiegana. More
67- Have cocktails and tapas at Bar Demente. More
68- Wednesday rooftop parties and live mucis at Media Luna Hostel’s. More
69- Dance salsa at Cafe Havana. More
70- Dance champeta at Bazurto social club. More
71- Party on a colorful Chiva bus by night. More
72- Experience parapente in Bocagrande. More
73- Take a romantic horse carriage ride through the old city. More
74- Participate to a Coconut handicraft workshop. More
75- Discover Bazurto market. More
76- Stand up paddle at sunset. More
77- Bird watching at La Boquilla. More
78- Private boat rental to Islas del Rosario. More
79- Movie bike city tour. More
80- Spend a Sunday in La Boquilla beach to feel like a local.
81- Escape for a day to Islas del Rosario. More
82- Scuba dive in the Caribbean. More
83- Fishing trip with locals in La Boquilla. More
84- Visit famous Baru’s Playa Blanca. More
85- Take a canoe trip in the Mangrove. More
86- Have a mud bath in Totumo volcano. More
87- Beach day tour in Punta Arena. More
88- Day tour to Barranquilla and Santa Marta. More
89- Tour to Palenque: the other history of Cartagena. More
90- Botanical garden of Guillermo Pineres in Turbaco. More
91- January: Cartagena Classical Music Festival. More
92- January: HAY festival (international literary event). More
93- January: Storyland festival, Colombia’s biggest electronic dance music festival. More
94- March: International Festival of Cinema of Cartagena de Indias (FICCI). More
95- March: Easter celebration (Semana Santa).
96- March: Election of Miss Colombia beauty pageant.
97- August: Cartagena kite festival.
98- November: Cartagena’s Independance day festivities.
99- October: International Festival of Guitar of Cartagena. More
100- December: Christmas celebration.
BONUS: OUR VIDEO OF COLOMBIA!
Ready to discover Cartagena? What are your top list of activities?
Photos & contents @ The Tropical Dog 2015-2017.