5 Sun-filled Days in Cartagena, Colombia

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Advisor - Holly Lacombe
Curated By

Holly Lacombe

  • Active Travel

  • Beaches

  • Luxury Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Colombia

  • Cartagena

  • Local Culture

  • Local Food

  • Shopping

A group of people walking down the street next to tall buildings.
Curator’s statement

Get ready for an amazing adventure in Cartagena! This city has it all - from the stunning historic Old Town with its colorful streets and lively vibes, to the beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters of the Rosario Islands. You can explore unique architecture, savor delicious Colombian cuisine and soak up the Caribbean sun. Cartagena offers a perfect blend of history, relaxation and fun!

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Day 1: Exploring the Walled City

A group of people sitting at a table next to the ocean.

Arrival

Arrive in Cartagena at Rafael Núñez International Airport. After checking into the hotel, head directly to La Cevicheria, a renowned seafood restaurant.

Enjoy a delightful al fresco lunch with fresh ceviche, a local specialty.

Afternoon

Walk off your meal by exploring the charming streets of the Walled City. The area is extremely walkable so you can start to get your bearings on the surrounding area. Take in the lively energy of the street vendors and appreciate the colorful buildings covered in flowers just as vibrant.

Early Evening: Drinks at Alquimico

Head to Alquimico, a trendy cocktail bar in the Walled City that is rated as one of the best bars in the world. Enjoy creative cocktails across all three levels as each floor has its own unique menu. There is a strong focus on locality and sustainability here so you can ensure everything going into your drink is nothing but the best!

Night: Dinner with Live Music at Alma

Make a reservation at Alma, a restaurant known for its live music and Caribbean cuisine. Enjoy a delicious dinner in the open-air courtyard while being serenaded by local musicians.

Day 2: History & culture

A wall painted with women with different colored dress shirts.

Morning: Breakfast and Private City Tour

Start your day with a sumptuous breakfast buffet at the Sofitel Santa Clara. There is a wide range of food from classic Colombian staples and some traditional American options as well. Don't miss the daily unique fruit choices!

After breakfast, meet your private tour guide at the hotel's lobby. Embark on a guided tour of the city's historical and cultural highlights. This can include visits to La Popa Convent, San Felipe Fortress, Torre del Reloj and historic squares like Plaza de Santo Domingo and Plaza Bolívar. Learn about the rich history and culture of Cartagena as you explore its charming streets.

Lunch: Juan del Mar

Head to Juan del Mar, a renowned seafood restaurant just a minute walk from the hotel.

Afternoon: Hotel Behind-the-Scenes Tour and Rum/Chocolate Tasting

Return to the Sofitel Santa Clara for a unique behind-the-scenes tour of the hotel. Explore the history of this property, including its past as a convent and a hospital, and how it came to transform into a luxury hotel. Conclude the tour by heading into a special rum and chocolate tasting, experiencing the flavors and products local to Colombia.

Evening: Dinner at Carmen

In the evening, make a reservation at Carmen, a highly acclaimed restaurant known for its innovative cuisine. Indulge in a 9-course tasting menu that showcases the flavors and ingredients of

Colombia. Don't forget to add on the drinkundefinedpairing!

Day 3: Getsemaní

People walking on road between concrete houses during daytime.

Morning

Depending on how early you wake up, you may want to skip breakfast because the first activity of the day is a Street Food Tour! Not only do you get to explore the vibrant streets of the city, sampling local delicacies such as arepas, empanadas, and fresh tropical fruits but your guide will also provide historical significance of the recipes and specific shops being sampled.

Afternoon

Spa Treatments at Sofitel Santa Clara

Return to the Sofitel Santa Clara for a relaxing spa afternoon. Indulge in rejuvenating spa treatments, such as massages or facials, in the serene spa facilities.

Late Afternoon

Leisurely exploration of Getsemaní.

Once you are recharged from a relaxing afternoon you can head out to explore the nearby Getsemaní neighborhood. Explore the colorful streets filled with street art and local culture. Be sure to stop by the Plaza de la Trinidad, a bustling square with street vendors and a lively atmosphere.

Evening

Dinner at Celele.

After you are done exploring the neighborhood, you can make your way over to Celele, a renowned restaurant known for its inventive Caribbean cuisine. Enjoy a delectable dinner featuring fresh, locally sourced ingredients in a charming setting.

Day 4: Rosario Islands

A girl sitting on the sand near the beach.

Morning

Breakfast at Sofitel Santa Clara.

Start your day with a leisurely breakfast at the hotel. Enjoy a delicious meal to fuel up for your day of adventure.

Late Morning

Private Boat Tour to the Rosario Islands.

Depart from your hotel to the Cartagena Marina, where you'll board a private boat including a captain and bilingual guide. Embark on a scenic boat ride to the stunning Rosario Islands, a pristine archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. Arrive at a picturesque spot for snorkeling including a look at a sunken plane.

Continue your boat tour to Cholon, a popular party spot known for its lively atmosphere. Anchor in the shallow waters and join in the fun with other boaters, swim and enjoy the festive ambiance. After Cholon, head to a tranquil beach club on one of the islands for a different vibe. Enjoy a delicious and relaxing lunch with fresh seafood and Caribbean dishes. Sip on tropical cocktails and enjoy the beachside setting.

Evening

Dinner at Mar y Cielo

Return to Cartagena in the late afternoon. Freshen up at your hotel and prepare for dinner. For your final dinner you will head to Mar y Cielo, a popular restaurant with a romantic ambiance.

Day 5: Poolside relaxation

Pasta served on a plate.

Morning

Breakfast at Sofitel Santa Clara.

Begin your final morning with one more delightful breakfast at the Sofitel Santa Clara restaurant.

Late Morning to Early Afternoon

Poolside relaxation.

After breakfast, make your way to the hotel's pool area. Lounge by the pool, soak up the sun, and take in the beautiful surroundings.

Mid-Afternoon

Prepare for Departure.

As your departure time approaches, return to your room to freshen up and pack your belongings. Your pre-arranged transfer service will pick you up for transport back to Rafael Nuñez Airport.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Diana Morales’s guide, Three Days to Discover Cartagena.

Advisor - Holly Lacombe

Travel Advisor

Holly Lacombe

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Cartagena.