Unearth the hidden gems and the best kept secrets of Colombia – Cartagena. The 16th century Spanish port city is well preserved, with cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, streets filled with vivid art, lively night life, music, dancing and trending high on the global culinary scene.
Colombia boasts all of South America’s allure and more. Its verdant terrain lends itself to iconic adventure travel where you can dive, trek, raft, climb and soar! With a slight tinkering of altitude you can go from sun toasted Caribbean beaches to coffee strewn emerald green hilltops. Cities like Cartagena is where contemporary oomph meets colonial grandeur.
Luxury boutique accommodations in the historic Cartagena de Indias are hidden behind restored Spanish colonial buildings with rooftop pool and spectacular city views. This paradise on earth is just a short flight from New York, Miami and Atlanta.
You can wind back the clock to colonial times in the fortified city of Cartagena, with its walls covered in myriad pastels and balconies overflowing with bougainvillea. For the frontiersman one can hike through ancient tropical forests to find lost cities in Ciudad Perdida or make the arduous trip to remote La Guajira’s deserts and dunes.
Come here to swap the revenant simplicity of nature for the bustle of the cities. Stomp through the El Cocuy National Park to catch brilliant sunrises before heading back to the dense yet romantic hillside cities like Medellin.
Colombia is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse countries in the world, and possesses a rich cultural heritage. It’s territory encompasses the Amazon rainforest, tropical grasslands and both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines. It qualifies as one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries.
Cartagena’s tropical weather is known for its clear blue skies and laid-back ambience. It is hot and humid almost all year round, with rainy and dry seasons.
The sun-soaked summer months and daytime temperatures in the upper 80s make December through April the best time to go to Colombia – Cartagena, as this is also the dry season. The warmest time of year is generally early June, with an almost constant daytime temperature of 91.4°F (33°C) and rarely dropping below 79.5°F (26.4°C) at night. This means Cartagena is bustling with travelers during these popular months, so remember to book ahead and check out our month-to-month traveler’s guide to Cartagena to start planning.
If you haven’t yet visited Cartagena, do yourself a favor and speak to the travel advisors at xplorearth.us. They will plan and guide you through this charming city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast that we love so much!
Experience the culture and fairy-tale romance of Cartagena, oozing with colonial architecture and history, bustling with hip hotels and rooftop bars.
Day One: Arrival in Cartagena. Sundowner along the Caribbean shore.
Day Two: Walking tours,visiting historic sites and wandering the colorful streets, break for local food tasting, and continue to explore
Day Three: Coffee tasting and continue exploring the cobblestone streets and the famous street art
Day Four: Go on a day trip to Rosario Island on a private charter boat and discover Pablo Escobar’s sunken drug plane!
Day Five: Experience a local shopping tour of Colombian linen and emeralds. At twilight, imbibe in a rum tasting event at one Cartagena’s iconic watering holes!
Day Six: Departure
Interacting with locals, support of individuals and small independent businesses is a must do component.
Colombia is situated at the junction between Latin America and North and Central America, and as such has an extremely diverse cultural make-up including European, African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Native American influences! This diversity has enriched Colombia with a wide range of cultural expressions in music, art and literature, which can be admired in museums, art galleries, libraries and public spaces. Colombians are very positive people, described as having a joie de vivre because of which the country was deemed the happiest country in the world in 2013. This joyfulness is expressed and celebrated during fairs, carnivals and cultural festivals, including the Manizales Fair and the Barranquilla Carnival. The country’s national dish is the Bandeja Paisa, a huge food platter consisting of grilled steak, fried pork, chorizo sausage, fried egg, avocado, and a plantain. This is one dish that will leave you satiated for hours! One of the other popular Colombian delicacies is the Arepa, a flatbread made from cornmeal that is the foundation of many meals. No meal is complete without the Brevas con arequipe - a local fig stuffed with Colombian style toffee!
There are fantastic beaches just a couple of hours away from Cartagena. Rosario Island, Playa Blanca, and Islas del Encanto are easy to reach and are stunning beaches, making for a perfect day trip. Although there are city beaches in Cartagena, they should not be the highlight of your visit.
Americans can visit Cartagena visa-free, with a valid passport and can stay for up to 90 days. The same visa requirement applies to travelers from Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and most countries in the European Union and European Economic Area.
You should plan to stay for at least four days when you visit Cartagena. A week would be the ideal time to leisurely enjoy the city. The extra days make for a truly relaxing vacation, with overnight visits to nearby beaches and exploring off-the-beaten-path local experiences in Cartagena.
The Colombian peso is the official currency in Cartagena. However, credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are easily available throughout for you to withdraw Colombian pesos.
Feria de las Flores, one of the biggest annual flower festivals takes place in Medellin, is dedicated to celebrate the end of slavery in Colombia.
Attend the annual Carnaval de Barranquilla, one of the largest and most important folkloric celebrations in the world!