Colombia’s second city, Cartagena is the jewel in the country’s crown. Founded in 1533, the city is a delightful mix of colonial mansions, colourful streets and Caribbean charm, set on the coast with the Caribbean Sea providing a beautiful backdrop. The city is one of the continent’s most beautiful, and is the perfect place to explore the contrasting cultures that make up its friendly people.
Much of the city was destroyed by Sir Francis Drake, but the towering 13km-long fortress walls and cannons remain, preserving the inner city as a living museum. Many of the once-crumbling colonial mansions have been restored to their former glory, painted in a rainbow of joyful Caribbean colours and brimming with hot pink bougainvillea. On holidays to Cartagena you can browse the city’s many markets, where exotic fruits are piled high on every surface and jolly Caribbean women in brightly-coloured traditional dress hawk their wares on street corners. The sound of merengue and salsa music fills the air each evening; you’ll hear snatches of it floating from the windows of bars and private homes as you take an evening stroll through the narrow, twisting streets.
Outside of the city centre you’ll discover a number of stunning beaches, including along the peninsula of Bocagrande – Cartagena’s answer to Miami Beach. Here fashionable cartagenos escape the city heat and sip refreshing drinks in the street-side cafes. A day trip (or possibly an overnight stay) to the Rosario Islands, a group of private islands off the coast of Cartagena with pristine Caribbean beaches, is an ideal way to relax.
For more information on holidays to Cartagena and multi-centre breaks to Colombia, call our Destination Experts today.