Three Days to Discover Cartagena
Arts & Culture
Cartagena is a city on the Caribbean coast of Colombia rich in history and beauty from the colonial era! The city is full of arts and culture and there is always music and dancing. It is a lively and colorful place that also boasts of having relaxing white-sand beaches nearby, making it an ideal destination for families.
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Where to stay
Hotel Las Islas
Remote island resort with rustic chic thatched-roof bungalows set within Corales del Rosario National Park.
Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena
Reinvented and innovative hotel, which recreates a tropical palace where the walls and ceilings retain the historical magic of this 17th Century Colombian building.
$100 food / beverage credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
Casa San Agustín
If you are looking for luxury, Cartagena has no better hotel than Casa San Agustin to unwind and pamper yourself.
$100 USD resort / hotel credit.
Complimentary full breakfast for two.
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Day 1: Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site
As soon as you land in Cartagena, you will feel the Caribbean heat! This will tell you that it'll be time to head to the beach soon. Before you do that, here are a few sites you'll want to see first:
After you have settled in at your four or five-star hotel, head over to the colonial side of town. The colonial walled city and fortress are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within those walls, you will feel like you have traveled back in time, back to an era where colonialism still reigned in Colombia.
The walled city is very walkable, but you can also opt for taking a tour on a horse-drawn carriage. The clock tower is the main entrance to the city. From there you can go to Plaza San Diego, Las Bovedas, where you can do some shopping, Santa Catalina Cathedral and even see a monument from famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero at the Plaza de Santo Domingo. All of these are family-friendly activities that can be enjoyed by people of all ages!
After all that walking and exploring, you'll be hungry for some Colombian cuisine. Head over to Restaurante ALMA for the best meal and fine dining experience in Cartagena.
Day 2: Getsemani
On your second day, take some time to see the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas. Although it is called a castle, the structure was once a military fort that protected the city from naval attacks. As you walk within its tunnels, you will learn about the intricate history of Cartagena.
Afterward, you can head to the Getsemani neighborhood to see incredible graffiti and street art. Picture lovers, make sure you bring your cameras! You will certainly delight yourselves taking photos here. Getsemani is one of Cartagena's hip neighborhoods. I suggest that you stay until the sun has gone down. At that time the neighborhood comes alive with music, dancing, delicious street food and all sorts of street performances.
Day 3: Island-Hopping
Obviously, you can't go to Cartagena without stopping at one of the islands nearby! Your last day in Cartagena should be all about enjoying those beachy views and taking in the sound of the waves.
There are white sand beaches with light blue Caribbean colors only a few miles away from the city! You can enjoy Playa Blanca in Baru, or venture out further and go to Cocoliso, Isla del Encanto, Isla del Pirata or Isla del Sol. These are all easily reached by speedboat.
If you are looking to skip the crowds, you can opt for a private beach experience or you can always stay at a resort with a private beach area.
And that's how you can spend three days in Cartagena!
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Cartagena.