Before taking a look at what are the best things to do in Cartagena, let’s first talk about this Spanish colony. Cartagena is known as one of the famous port cities because of its location near to the Caribbean Sea. It was the first Spanish colony and it was under the control of the Spanish rule for about 275 years. Cartagena took the charge to break free from Spain with the help of the famous liberator Simon Bolivar and got its independence on 11th November, 1811.
The wall city of Cartagena bagged the prestige of being UNESCO’s world heritage site since 1984. Not only that, Cartagena is one of the famous cities of Colombia that attracts a large number of tourists and all thanks to the pastel colonial buildings, horse carriages, eateries, and plenty of boutiques that satiates all the needs of the visitors. In between shopping, strolling near the city walls and day trips, there are various things to do in Cartagena Columbia that you should not miss out!
Best things to do in Cartagena:
If you are wondering what are the best things to do in Cartagena then you are in the right place! Let’s take a look at each one of them:
- Free walking tour of the Old city of Cartagena
If you want to explore the old city of Cartagena, the best way you can do that is by taking free walking tours. Walking is the best option to explore the colorful vibe of the city. You can also take a local guide along with you because this place has lot of historical information that you can explore while walking. This walking tour has two time slots-one at 10 am and another at 4 pm. Book your tour in advance. This walking tour is one of the fun things to do in Cartagena.
Most of the tourists prefer staying in the old city which you should also do! The old wall city includes the neighborhoods of San Diego, Centro and Getsemani. You will be able to explore lots of picturesque buildings, people selling ornaments, artists, flowers etc.
- Enjoy the views of the city from San Felipe Castle
- One of the best things to do in Cartagena Colombia is enjoying the view of the city by climbing the San Felipe Castle. This is one of the major landmarks of the city that is pretty hard to miss out! Small tunnels have been made inside it so that even slightest of the noise can travel and any trespassers can be easily detected. It is one of the famous fortresses that were built against the pirates to protect the gold and silver that was kept for the Europeans. You can take a guide along with you to explore the historical facts of this place.
- The palace of the Inquisition
One of the unusual things to do in Cartagena is to visit the palace of Inquisition which is popularly known as the torture headquarters for interrogating the Spanish. The Parque De Bolivor was one of the relaxing spots and was home to some of the magnificent architectural works. It had beautiful wooden balconies with yellow colored walls and the balcony was beautifully covered with pink bougainvillea.
However, nobody had an idea about the dark secret of this place which is evident from the side walls of the main entrance of this palace. This colorful building was the torture place of the Spanish inquisition. Torture was done not to punish but to make the inquisitors confess in order to bring the dissident back to devotion. The principle of inquisition was basically to protect the Catholic Church from deemed threats of heresy, witchcraft and blasphemy!
However, this palace has now been transformed to a museum where the gruesome tools that were used for obtaining confession have been displayed. The museum also features some of the disturbing things like head crusher, thumb screws and many others. A visit to this horrific place is definitely an unusual and disturbing thing to do in Cartagena.
- Street food tour to relish the mouthwatering local dishes
You will really miss out on the most exciting thing if you do not go for a street food tour. One of the fun things to do in Cartagena is explore the street food that includes fresh lemonades from the vendors and some cheese filled arepas. You can take up this tour for exploring the local cuisines of the place.
You can explore the food and culture of the place where you will be allowed to pick up samples of fried snacks and juicy fruits. The fried treats will include local salty cheese, tinto and frozen treats. If you want to enjoy an expensive tour then you can try out the La Mesa Tour or The table tour in English. This tour will include some of the delectable arepas stuffed with eggs, petacones, and other sea foods.
- Sipping a hot coffee at Abaco Libros y Café (Abacus Books and Coffee)
Abaco Libros y Café is one of the famous book store and coffee shop located in the old city of Cartagena. If you are an ardent reader, you will never want to leave this place. This café is home to a large collection of books that you can pluck from the racks and flip the pages while sipping a hot coffee. This is definitely one of the unusual things to do in Cartagena especially if you have come here for a vacation. However, if you are a book lover, you shouldn’t miss out this opportunity because this book store has been declared as one of the best bookstores in the city. If you wish to escape from the city shores and enjoy a quiet and calm environment, this book shop is the best spot for you! Grab a book and a cup of coffee and enjoy this place!
Also, do not forget to enjoy the cocktails from Café del mar because it is one of the best things to do in Cartagena. The place is famous because it is situated near to the old city of Cartagena and most of the crow here is because it offers a beautiful view of the sun going down! The prices are high than the other places of Cartagena because of the amazing real estate. Book your tables in advance because the place is excessively crowded!