Situated on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, the charming walled city of Cartagena de Indias is popular for its beaches, nightlife and beautiful Old Town architecture.
Cartagena’s historic Old Town is best explored without an itinerary. Its pretty cobblestone streets are encircled by 13 kilometres of ancient walls dating back to the 16th century. The area is filled with distinctive mansions known for their flower-filled balconies. Combine that with vast churches, monasteries and leafy plazas and it’s easy to see why Cartagena is a photographer’s paradise. Head down to the Clock Tower Monument to catch a local dance performance or explore the incredible fortress of Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas with a guided walking tour.
Cartagena’s tropical climate makes it a prime location for beachgoers, with the local sands of Bocagrande the easiest to reach. However, it’s worth venturing out a little further to reach the beautiful shores of Playa Blanca and the Rosario Islands. Charter boats for these beaches are readily available at one of the city’s several harbours and offer roundtrip tickets.
As the sun sets over Cartagena, the city begins to show a whole other side to itself as its bars and nightclubs come to life. To get a taste of Latin American culture, start off at a top-notch salsa club like Café Havana which offers live music and serves classic cocktails. Most venues get going around midnight and stay open until around 4 AM.