Things to do in Cartagena

About Cartagena

When visiting Cartagena, don't miss the iconic Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, the historic Walled City with its charming cobblestone streets, and the vibrant Getsemaní neighborhood. The Palace of the Inquisition and San Pedro Claver Church offer a dive into rich history, while the Rosario Islands beckon with crystal-clear waters.
Cartagena delights families with the Caribe Aquatic Park, interactive Pirate Ship Museum, and the Aviario Nacional de Colombia – a bird sanctuary on Barú Island ideal for wildlife encounters. The city's many plazas provide entertainment with street performers captivating children and adults alike.
Enjoy the best of Cartagena's outdoor activities by taking a stroll atop the city's historic walls, soaking up the sun on Playa Blanca, or sailing around the bay at sunset. Indulge in snorkeling trips to nearby coral reefs, or revel in the colorful street life and cultural beats of the city's lively plazas.
Indoor enthusiasts will appreciate Cartagena's Gold Museum, the haunting Palace of the Inquisition, and the Rafael Núñez House. For art lovers, galleries like NH Galeria offer a tour through contemporary fine art, while the Chocolate Museum presents a deliciously interactive experience.
The best Cartagena tours include guided historic walks through the Old City, catamaran cruises along the coastline, and culinary tours sampling local Caribbean cuisine. Audio-guided tours at the San Felipe Castle provide insight into Cartagena's colonial history.
Popular museums in Cartagena encompass the Gold Museum for pre-Hispanic artifacts, the Modern Art Museum for cutting-edge artistic expressions, and the Naval Museum for maritime history. Each museum offers a glimpse into different facets of Colombia's rich cultural tapestry.
On rainy days, visitors can enjoy indoor tours of history-steeped museums like the Palace of the Inquisition. Chocolate-making workshops and rum tastings offer a taste of local flavors, while spa experiences provide a relaxing retreat from the downpour.
Short on time? Opt for a quick audio-guided tour of the Plaza Santo Domingo, a brief visit to the Emerald Museum, or an immersive experience at the Chocolate Museum. These express tours are designed to give a taste of Cartagena's history and culture in 60 minutes or less.

Best Things to Do In Cartagena

Embark on an adventure through the enchanting streets of Cartagena with our comprehensive audio tours, tailored for cultural enthusiasts.

Cartagena: La Popa Convent

What is it?
A historic convent located on the city's highest hill, offering sweeping views.
Why you should go?
La Popa Convent is not just an attraction but a window into the spiritual history of Cartagena. Rising above the city, Convento de la Popa boasts a panorama that beckons visitors to explore its serene compound and lush gardens. Within its walls, history merges with divine tales, captivating guests through art and architecture. This beacon on a hill is highlighted in Cartagena tours, which unveil the significance behind its calm façade, making it a tranquil retreat from the bustling city streets.

Cartagena: Gold Museum - Cartagena Branch

What is it?
A museum dedicated to the display and preservation of pre-Hispanic gold work.
Why you should go?
Gold Museum - Cartagena Branch stands out as a cultural treasure trove among the places to visit in Cartagena. This museum offers a glittering perspective of Colombia's rich indigenous history through its extensive collection of gold artifacts and pottery. Audio tours walk visitors through millennia of craftsmanship and the symbolism of gold in pre-colonial societies. The importance of this museum extends beyond beauty, offering insights into the social and economic dynamics of ancient cultures that shaped today's Colombia.

Cartagena: Bocagrande Beach

What is it?
A bustling urban beach strip known for its modern vibe and skyline views.
Why you should go?
Bocagrande Beach offers a unique mix of Cartagena activities, from sunbathing to a vibrant nightlife. This often-packed beach is the answer to what to do in Cartagena for those who want a slice of contemporary life by the sea. The pulsing energy of this neighborhood is contrasted by the soothing sounds of Caribbean waves. Skyscrapers and palm trees frame the horizon, creating an urban tropical escape ideal for visitors looking to balance historical exploration with leisurely fun.

Cartagena: Aviario Nacional de Colombia

What is it?
An expansive aviary that houses a diverse collection of Colombian bird species.
Why you should go?
The Aviario Nacional de Colombia is an avian paradise nestled in the lush landscapes outside Cartagena. For those pondering the best things to do in Cartagena, this attraction offers a fascinating glimpse into the country's biodiversity. With audio tours detailing the ecosystems and habits of the feathered residents, the aviary educates while entertaining. Walking amongst the beautifully designed habitats, visitors become spectators to the vibrant dance of nature's own airborne wonders.

Cartagena: Mercado de Bazurto

What is it?
A local market brimming with fresh produce, seafood, and vibrant culture.
Why you should go?
For an authentic experience of what to see in Cartagena, Mercado de Bazurto is unrivaled. This bustling market is the pulse of local life, where flavors, sounds, and sights collide to create a symphony of authenticity. The market's raw charm takes visitors on a sensory journey, making it a must for an immersive Cartagena excursion. Audio tours guide guests through the maze of stalls, unveiling the stories of sellers and the origins of the exotic offerings on display.

Cartagena: Castillo San Felipe de Barajas

What is it?
A formidable fortress steeped in history offering panoramic views.
Why you should go?
The majestic Castillo San Felipe de Barajas stands as a testament to Spanish colonial military architecture. As one of the most significant historical places to visit in Cartagena, it offers a glimpse into the city's past military prowess. Wander through the fortress's complex network of tunnels and battlements, and learn about the ingeniously designed defense strategies. An excursion to this bastion is an essential part of any Cartagena activities itinerary, inviting visitors to step back in time and experience a piece of living history.

Cartagena: The Walled City

What is it?
A historic district encased in old defensive walls.
Why you should go?
Embark on a journey through the charming colonial streets of The Walled City, the most quintessential of things to do in Cartagena. This UNESCO World Heritage site is filled with colorful buildings, lively plazas, and street vendors selling traditional wares. Audio tours here provide fascinating insights into the city's heritage, making it a vibrant heart of culture and commerce. As a fusion of historical significance and contemporary culture, it's the perfect spot to capture the spirit of Cartagena.

Cartagena: San Pedro Claver Church and Convent

What is it?
An iconic church and convent dedicated to the patron saint of slaves.
Why you should go?
San Pedro Claver Church and Convent operates not only as a site of religious importance but also as a symbol of humanitarianism. This baroque gem counts among the best Cartagena tours for history buffs and spiritual seekers alike. The church's quiet courtyards, ornate altar, and historical artifacts offer solace and a deep understanding of Cartagena's complex history. The story of Saint Peter Claver's dedication to the enslaved people is brought to life through the detailed commentary of audio tours, making it a profound educational experience.

Cartagena: Palace of the Inquisition

What is it?
A museum that was once the tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition.
Why you should go?
The Palace of the Inquisition stands as an eerie reminder of Cartagena's tumultuous history. This attraction is among the important things to see in Cartagena, revealing the darker chapters of the city's past. Visitors can explore exhibits that illustrate the Inquisition's brutal methods and the history of those who faced its trials. The building itself is a striking example of colonial architecture, providing a contrast between its grim past and educational present. A visit here is an insightful experience for those seeking to understand the full narrative of Cartagena.

Cartagena: Rosario Islands

What is it?
An idyllic archipelago known for its clear waters and coral reefs.
Why you should go?
Part of the Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Natural Park, the Rosario Islands are a must-see for nature lovers and enthusiasts of what to do in Cartagena. These islands offer a serene escape from the city, with opportunities for snorkeling, diving, and relaxing on pristine beaches. The crystalline waters and abundant marine life make each island a paradise for underwater exploration. Visitors can indulge in the islands' tranquility through our audio-guided excursions, highlighting the natural beauty and ecological importance of this tropical haven.

TOP-5 Tours in Cartagena for First Time Visitors

  • Discover the heart of the city with our "Historic Wonders of Cartagena" audio tour, showcasing the top things to see in Cartagena.
  • Explore the "Secrets of the Old City" tour and immerse in the rich narratives and what to see in Cartagena's preserved architecture.
  • "Beaches and Breezes" - a tour for visitors seeking fun things to do in Cartagena, alongside the city's best coastal views.
  • "Cultural Tapestry" offers an insight into vibrant local life, which is one of the best things to do in Cartagena.
  • Last but not least, "Festive Nights" audio tour will guide night owls through exciting Cartagena activities after sunset.

Fun things to do in Cartagena with kids

The vibrant city of Cartagena is not just for history buffs and beachcombers, it is also packed with kid-friendly attractions that promise to delight the little ones. A visit to the "Caribe Aquatic Park" is a must on your family itinerary, featuring thrilling water slides and pools that are perfect for beating the heat. Children will revel in the excitement of splashing around and enjoying the many water-based activities on offer. For an educational yet fascinating experience, "Oceanario Islas del Rosario" provides a window into the marine diversity of Colombia. This aquarium on Islas del Rosario lets kids come face to face with dolphins, sharks, and a variety of tropical fish, making learning about ocean life an interactive adventure. Lastly, the "Cartagena Botanical Garden" is a splendid natural retreat where children can explore exotic plants and wildlife in a lush environment. This green sanctuary allows families to relax, enjoy a picnic, and take part in nature-based learning experiences. Each of these attractions captures the essence of what to do in Cartagena with kids for a holiday full of laughter and learning.

Things to do in Cartagena with family

Cartagena opens its colorful arms to families, offering engaging activities and attractions that enchant both adults and children. First on the list is the "Mud Volcano of Totumo," where families can laugh and unwind in the unique experience of floating effortlessly in a natural mud bath, renowned for its healing properties. This unusual attraction encourages bonding and creates unforgettable memories. Next, "Parque de La Marina" is a picturesque spot in Cartagena perfect for leisurely afternoons. Kids can play in the open areas while parents enjoy the breathtaking views of the harbor and the historical Colombian Naval Museum that borders the park. The park serves as a starting point for many family-friendly Cartagena activities and excursions. The "Rafael Núñez House," the former home of a prominent Colombian president, now turned into a museum, provides insight into local history in a family-accessible format. The audio tours bring tales of the past to life, making learning interactive and entertaining, ensuring that a visit here is a highlight for family-oriented Cartagena tours.

Free things to do in Cartagena

Cartagena is a treasure trove of free attractions, perfect for budget-savvy travelers looking to experience the city's rich culture. Wander through the charming streets of "Getsemaní," an artsy neighborhood brimming with street art, vibrant buildings, and a spirited atmosphere. This area is a cultural feast, illustrating the city's urban creativity and giving visitors a colorful backdrop for those priceless photos and memories. Another delightful cost-free experience is the "Cartagena's Wall," where a stroll along the ancient fortifications at sunset offers breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea and the old city. It's a popular spot for locals and tourist alike, encapsulating the essence of the city's romantic allure. Lastly, music and dance lovers can enjoy the infectious rhythms of Colombia by watching street performers in "Plaza de Bolívar." This lively square hosts spontaneous performances of cumbia and salsa - a spirited display of Cartagena's rich musical heritage. Each of these free activities showcases what to do in Cartagena to experience its charisma without spending a dime.

Cheap things to do in Cartagena

Travelers on a budget will find Cartagena brimming with affordable attractions that don't skimp on experience. One such gem is the bustling "Mercado de Bazurto," a local market away from the tourist track. Here, visitors can indulge in authentic Colombian cuisine, experience the local culture, and find unique, budget-friendly souvenirs while soaking up the energetic atmosphere. For history enthusiasts, the "Walls of Cartagena" offer an inexpensive way to delve into the city's colonial past. A walk atop this historic rampart provides scenic views and a deep sense of the centuries-old narratives held within these stones, all available through informative yet budget-conscious audio tours. Additionally, the iconic "Plazas of Cartagena" such as Plaza Santo Domingo and Plaza San Pedro Claver are open spaces rich with history, street artists, and local life. These plazas are ideal for those seeking cost-effective Cartagena activities, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the Colombian culture simply by taking a leisurely stroll.

Things to do in Cartagena for couples

Romance blooms in the streets of Cartagena, making it an idyllic destination for couples. Begin with a sunset stroll along the "Paseo de los Novios," a picturesque promenade by the Bay of Cartagena. Here, lovebirds can take in the stunning coastal views, feel the gentle sea breeze, and bask in the warm glow of the setting sun—a perfect preamble to a romantic evening in the city. For an intimate culinary experience, enjoy the flavors of the local cuisine at one of the charming restaurants in the "Old City." These eateries provide a romantic ambiance set against the backdrop of historic colonial buildings, offering both delicious meals and the chance to create lasting memories over candlelit conversations. Lastly, the tranquil "Jardín Botánico de Cartagena" (Cartagena's Botanical Garden) invites couples to explore its lush, tropical greenery. This natural oasis provides a serene escape from the city's bustle, where couples can wander hand-in-hand through vibrant flora and exotic fauna, celebrating their love amid the garden's tranquil beauty.

Things to do in Cartagena at night

As night falls, Cartagena transforms into a city of illuminated beauty and vibrant nightlife. One of the top attractions is the historic "Ciudad Amurallada" or Walled City, where the colonial architecture glows under the evening lights, creating a romantic and mysterious atmosphere. Couples and groups alike can revel in the night-time charm of this district, enjoying the street musicians and dancers that fill the plazas with life. For a lively experience, head to "Getsemaní," known for its bohemian spirit and energetic nightlife. This neighborhood offers an array of bars and clubs where visitors can sip on local rum cocktails, listen to live music, and dance to Caribbean beats well into the night. Another must-do Cartagena activity at night is to take a "Chiva Bus" tour, a traditional, colorfully painted bus that offers a rolling party through the city streets. This festive experience often includes live music, unlimited drinks, and stops at popular points of interest, providing a fun and unforgettable way to explore Cartagena by night.