Top 5 Things to See in Cartagena
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Top 5 Things to See in Cartagena

4 min read

May 1, 2015

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By Jennifer Salinas

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Last updated on March 26th, 2021 at 12:14 pm

Where do we begin with the number of things to see in Cartagena? The beautiful coastal city is a must-see on any Colombia tour. Full of friendly locals and a gorgeous historic downtown area, tourists will have a blast exploring the town on a tour of Cartagena. While here, travelers will feel the laid-back ambiance that fills the city, similar to other Caribbean towns. Read along as we uncover the top things to see in Cartagena.

1. Convento La Popa

view from la popa convent

First on our list for the top things to see in Cartagena is the Convento La Popa. Sitting at the highest point in Cartagena (150m-high hill) is a convent that was founded in the 1600s. The hilltop was once a special religious place that the indigenous people and African slaves went to worship a sacred goat. However, once the Spanish arrived they erected a monastery instead. Originally built as a small wooden chapel, it was later fortified. The La Virgen de la Candelaria or Virgin of the Candelaria is the patron saint of the city of Cartagena de Indias.  This is the perfect spot to enjoy a magnificent view of the city, bay, and mangroves.

2. Castillo San Felipa de Barajas

Old fort in Cartagena Colombia

One of the best things to see in Cartagena is the massive fort located on the Hill of San Larazo. Built by the Spanish in the 1600s. It is strategically located with perfect views of the sea and land. Although Castillo means castle in Spanish, this is clearly a military fort built to protect the bay from pirates and other invaders. The labyrinth of tunnels and bunkers lead to the top where you can look down at the walled city of Cartagena.  This is a must-see destination in Cartagena, Colombia.

3. Old Shoe Monument

The Old Shoe Monument is a very famous piece of art located almost at the foot of the Castillo. The Old Shoes Monument in Cartagena is a reference to the poem “Mi Ciudad Nativa” by Luis Carlos Lopez. In the final line of the poem, Luis Carlos Lopez compares the love and comfort of his city to that which he gains from a pair of old shoes.

4. Historic Walled Downtown Cartagen

historic center of cartagena colombia

Arguably one of the most popular things to see in Cartagena is the historic walled downtown area. The walls are the most extensive military fortification in South America. They were built to protect the city from pirates and other countries seeking to control the land, resources, and trade routes.  For the most part, the walls are still intact.  Inside the walls lies a maze of narrow streets where you can easily wander for days and still get lost. The buildings are well preserved and bright with projecting balconies.

5. The Clock Tower

The Clock Tower building in Cartagena is iconic and lies at the entrance into the historic center. There are many places to visit in the historic center including the cathedral, gold museum, and the Palace of the Inquisition. At night you will see groups of young people dancing and drumming around the squares and women walking around offering you tropical foods. Cartagena has many excellent restaurants to choose from and a never-ending supply of locals tempting you to buy their souvenirs – of course at the best price.

Contact us about a tour of Cartagena

A visit to Cartagena should be on everyone’s list if you are taking a trip to Colombia. It’s romantic and historic atmosphere paired with friendly people make for the perfect place to visit in Colombia. I recommend at least three days in order to fully see the city.  This list of the top things to see in Cartagena Colombia only explores a small portion of all that Colombia has to offer. Get started planning your Cartagena tour today!

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Last updated on March 26th, 2021 at 12:14 pm

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