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WHAT TO DO IN CARTAGENA

If you are reading this page, it is because you are visiting or you are planning to visit Cartagena. What to do in Cartagena? The first thing that may you think of is in visiting Rosario Islands. For a day on the beach, this is the best option. Another thing you must do is walk the streets in the old city. Its magic will captivate you! But in addition to what everyone else does in Cartagena. Here, I give you other options to enjoy  my city. 

The San Felipe de Barajas Castle is undoubtedly one of the obligatory visits in Cartagena de Indias. Built in 1657 during the Spanish colonial era as a fortification to protect the city from English and French attacks. In 1984, UNESCO included the historic center of Cartagena and its fortifications as a World Heritage Site. It is considered one of the 7 wonders of Colombia. In this emblematic place the battle of the Ear of Jenkings, against the English crown happened.

 

General Admission $ 25,000 COP . 

Getsemaní, is  the cool neighborhood of Cartagena de Indias. Its colonial houses of the time, transport any visitor from this area to the time where its streets were inhabited by servant slaves of the upper social class. Getsemaní was the first suburb of Cartagena.  it is, a secluded community. Therefore its location is just outside of what is considered the  old city. At present, Getsemaní is a neighborhood with a lot of style. It is  recognized for nice graffiti and by the number of restaurants that will delight any palate. You definitely can not miss this visit. I recommend going in the evening and having a beer at the "Plaza de la Trinidad "where you will see street shows and meet more travelers like you.

WAITING FOR THE SUNSET

Cartagena has such amazing sunsets. Among the pinks, oranges, blues, reds and yellows, the sun is hidden giving the feeling of having witnessed one of the most beautiful sunsets in your life. I recommend waiting for the sunset from the Café del Mar bar. Or simply take a seat on the wall. Another option is without a doubt from the seashore.

 

Ask us  for more  locations to see the best sunset.

Since you have your first contact with the OLD CITY. You will know what I am talking about. Palenqueras, are  those beautiful black women who carry in their heads "basins" with all kinds of fruits for sale. They stand out for their beautiful colorful costumes. Palenqueras, are originally from  Palenque .The first free town of America.

If  you are a religious lover and even if  you are not, this is also one of the things that you can not miss in Cartagena. Being a Spanish colony, Cartagena de Indias, since its inception the cult of the Catholic religion was part of the culture and has remained so until the time. The churches of Cartagena, are built with baroque design, built since the sixteenth century. The first was the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria, It is a tradition for all local people to  visit 7 churches on Easter and pray, as well as adorn the altar as adoration of the Most Holy.

 

Ask about the schedules of the Masses and participate in a liturgy in Cartagena.

VISITING "EL CERRO DE LA POPA"

 El "Cerro de La Popa" is an amazing place to see  Cartagena de Indias. This place has a beautiful view of  the sea and the city, Tierra bomba Island and the old city.  Here,  there is a convent  which you can visit. Take amazing pictures of Cartagena from here.

The Inquisition Palace is one of those places that fill your thoughts with history. Located in front of the Plaza de Bolívar, in this building of the seventeenth century you will find evidence of the inquisition in Cartagena, the time of torture for those "witches" who flew over the rooftops. This site was where the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition worked. Within its facilities is also the Museum and Historical Archive of Cartagena.

 

General admission $ 20,000 COP. 

VISITING MUSEO NAVAL

If you are one of those people who enjoy museums, without a doubt you should visit the Naval Museum. The Museum is full of history since this building was built in the year of 1612 as a Jesuit school in Cartagena, until being in ruins for more than a century and its restoration as a Museum. Here you will have an experience with the Colombian National Navy.

 

General admission is $ 17,000 COP

VISITING CASA MUSEO ARTE AY CULTURA, LA PRESENTACION

​The Museum de la Presentation opened in January 2014 for the first International Biennial of Contemporary Art in Cartagena. Since the Biennial closed its doors, the gallery has hosted the work of local artists, from Medellín and Cali.
This museum is located in the same place as the Presentation School was. One of the traditional female and religious school in Cartagena. The purpose of this museum is to house artists, musicians, dancers, filmmakers and renown international artists.


Four of the old classrooms of the school house a selection of paintings - old and new - throughout the year, while an old theater is used for recitals and contemporary dance performances.


The space is also home to one of the most impressive antique shops in the city.

Free admission. The museum is closed on sunday.

VISITING THE GOLD MUSEUM

The Gold Museum was inaugurated by the Banco de la República in 1982 with a gold collection of pre-Columbian art, mainly from the Zenú culture. The collection shows Cartagena and visitors 902 archaeological objects (747 metal, 105 ceramic, 11 bone, 34 shell, and 5 ceramic fragments). The Zenú gold museum was the winner of the Experts Choice Award 2018.

 

Free admission

This Museum is a public building in the Historic Center, at San Pedro Claver Square, with the San Ignacio bastion on one side, and it is one of the few public places  in the walled city.

 

It has an inventory of 400 paintings, mostly  Caribbean artists. It was the first Museum of Modern Art in the country, founded in 1960. You can find the  Modern art´s founders works here. Enrique Grau, Alejandro Obregón, Cecilia Porras and Hernando Lemaitre.

Monday - friday :  9am to 12m / 3pm to 7pm

Sáturday 9am to 1 pm

Sunday 4pm to 9 pm

 

General admission: $8000 COP / Students $4000 COP

VISITING THE MUSEUM OF FORTIFICATIONS

It was inaugurated in 1994. Pieces of the fortified monuments of Cartagena and site museums in the Baluarte de Santa Catalina and Fort of San Bernando de Bocachica, Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, Batería del Ángel San Rafael, Cordon Walled, Fort of San Fernando , Fort of San José and the Historical Park Isla de Tierrabomba. This museum is located in the lower neighborhood of Santa Catalina. It is a sample of the interior of the wall that borders the city.
 

General Admission is $7,000 COP adults and $4.000 children

Opening days:  Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

VISITING CASA MUSEO RAFAEL NUÑEZ

Rafael Núñez lived and died in  this house, an  important politician who held the presidency four times. From this place emerged the fundamental ideas that generated one of the greatest political reforms of the country in the  XIX century: the Constitution of 1886. This directed the course of Colombia until 1991, the year in which the current Magna Carta was written.

Opening hours: Monday  is closed, Tuesday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Free Admission: Sundays: 10:00 a.m. a 4:00 pm

VISITING CHOCO MUSEUM

This museum seeks to present to the public those exciting stories behind chocolate. And it does so from its spaces, in which it proposes different activities to the visitor. The tour begins with the shop with chocolate bars of different percentages of cocoa and a shelf that has everything from cocoa butter and other beauty products and  souvenirs .

Opening hours : Every day from 10 am to 10 pm.

Free admission.

ENJOYING OUR GASTRONOMY

The  Caribbean gastronomy is one of the most delicious and with great fusion flavors by chefs from all over the world. Our gastronomy is based mainly on fish and seafood. Cartagena variety of coastal food and fusion restaurants that will give you the opportunity to enjoy more of our culture. Here we give you a list of what you can not miss if you come to Cartagena.

- Arroz de coco

- Pescado frito.

- Patacones

- Arepa de huevo

- Coctel de camarón.

- ´Pescado a la cosquera

- Camarones al Ajillo

- Cazuela de mariscos

- Arroz de camarón or arroz de cangrejo

- Our variety of sweets

TRYING RASPADO

Raspado, is  shaved ice with many kind of flavors. Raspado sellers give to you many options of flavors to try with. I recommend Kola and tamarindo. If you want, you can also can have one with lecherita ( condensed milk). Your will enjoy a raspado while you walk the old city in a 86°F/30°C. 

EATING GREEN MANGO WITH SALT AND LEMON

Mango is one of our favorite  fruits. There are many people that make juice, other make sweets, other make really exotic dishes with it. But, most of us eat  green mango with salt, lemon and pepper. Try it and You will see heaven. There are many  mango sellers on the streets.

When you think in Cartagena,  you think in FOLKLORE !. We are Caribbean. Our music comes from the rhythms of our African ancestors. Undoubtedly, the folk rhythms of the Caribbean  will delight with the  sound of drums, the bagpipes, the ears of the visitors of this beautiful city. Our women are born with movement in their hips and in their dances they seem goddesses that enjoy dances that transmit the passion for this art. In Cartagena, you will find dancers in the streets who will give a show for a tip. Do not pass by and stop to see and enjoy our culture more.

DRINKING KOLA ROMAN

There are many local sodas around the world. In Cartagena, you should drink Kola Román. That is, the local soda.! Kola Román,  is one of the oldest soda in the world. It stared to be produced in 1865, almost 2 decades before Coca Cola. Its color is  a intense red with a vanilla flavor and sweet. Kola Román is used to prepare  dishes and sweets.

DRINKING A CLUB COLOMBIA BEER

Getting  to know a new city, for some people is trying the delights of their alcoholic beverages. If you are passionate about beer and according to our visitors. The flavor of the club Colombia is the best. A day at the beach is perfect! but be careful that alcoholic beverages are not allowed to be taken in public places. I also recommend trying:

- Aguila 

- Costeñita

 

But if you prefer rum, you definitely can not leave without taking a good shot of Dictator, Gobernador or Medellin 8 years. If you want to know more about rums. Ask about our  Tasting rum tour.

TASTING COLOMBIAN COFFEE

Colombian coffee is positioned among the best in the world thanks to the quality of it´s origin, its delicious flavor and the hard work of the coffee growers. Colombia is right in the middle of the world, that is why every day it enjoys the sunlight for a long time, to which the favorable tropical climate and the characteristic geography of the Andes are added.In Cartagena these are the places you should go to try coffee.

 

- San Alberto Coffee Shop

- Epoca Espresso Bar- Arzobispado

- Juan Valdes Coffee Shop

- Café Stepping

- Café del Mural

- Boundless Mezcal coffee

The Caribbean is definitely synonymous of salsa . If  you come to Cartagena and do not dance salsa, you didn´t come to Cartagena. Here we have good places that can  enjoy. Here I give you a list:

- Crazy Salsa

 - Havana -

- Quiebracanto -

-Donde Fidel -

- La Esquina Sandiegana

- Vueltabajero

 

BUYING HANDCRAFT

Colombia is a well -recognized  country because  of its rich indigenous history  so, If you are looking for a souvenir to bring back from Colombia in Cartagena. You should visit "Mapalé Arte  a Mano". This is an amazing  shop with  pretty high quality handcraft ( artesanías).. What I like about this shop is  they work directly with "artesanos".

This is the list of souvenirs I recommend  you to bring back from Colombia.:

- Traditional Mochila

- Sombrero vueltiao

-  Crafts from Guacamayas

- Werregue Baskets 

- Iraca Pasto

- Mascaras Kametsa

Definitely, if you are one of those travelers who love discovering the culture of the places you visit. Then, welcome to the culture of the champeta !. This musical rhythm comes from the 60's when African and Antillean music entered our port. At first it was the music of the lower social classes and the adjective "Champetuo" was used to humiliate. With the passing of the years this rhythm has improved its chords and nowadays in the rhythm of all the social classes. The good news is that the champeta is an internationalized musical genre and we can highlight exponents like" Mr. Black." a famous champeta singer.

Our favorite place to dance champeta is Bazurto Social Club.

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