Cartagena speaks for itself. Whether for its heritage and historical value. Or for its vibrant streets and alleys. Maybe for its smiling and friendly locals. Or for its Caribbean Sea, its islands and surrounding nature. And even for its music, culture and art.
In any case, Cartagena de Indias has earned its recognition and fame over time. Today it is not only the tourist capital of Colombia, but one of the must-see destinations for any visitor. Local or foreigner, everyone should visit Cartagena, at least once.
And probably the attraction of this city is that you can have a great variety of plans to do. From historical tours to nature plans. Food and music. Religion and heritage. And much more.
What to do in Cartagena?
We want to share with you 4 Top Tours in Cartagena and its surroundings. Our suggestion will have the essential categories, so you can get the most out of this dream city: history and culture, gastronomy, nature and unique experiences in the region.
1. A walking tour around the Walled City and the historic center.
Let’s start with the traditional.
Let’s visit the most important historical points and get to know the history behind the walls.
On a walking tour you will really get to know the Walled City, from the moment you enter through the Clock Tower. And if you go with a guide, or get informed beforehand, you will be able to enjoy the history behind the squares and streets. Also, if you walk along the walls you will have privileged views of the sea and the city. And you’ll find restaurants, museums, cafes, churches and cultural heritage sites on almost every corner.
Don’t forget these places!
Plaza de la Aduana, Plaza Bolivar and Plaza San Pedro Claver. Churches such as the Cathedral of Santa Catalina de Alejandría or San Pedro Claver, Santo Domingo or the Cloister of Santa Clara. Museums such as the Palace of the Inquisition, the Zenú Gold Museum. And then the Heredia Theater or the bastions. Even the home of the Nobel Prize winner in Literature, Gabriel García Márquez. As you can see, there is a lot to see.
But that’s not all. If you want to do the full sightseeing tour, be sure to stop by the Castillo de San Felipe. The fortress that tells the story of Spanish influence in our country.
To do this, you can hire a private service, but there are also free tours that take you to the essential sites. There’s something for everyone!
Bazurto, a market of infinite flavors
One of the Top Tours in Cartagena is the most traditional market in the city: Bazurto. Here you will not only be able to taste the best of the Colombian Caribbean coast cuisine, but you will also get to know a little of the joy and friendliness of the locals. And its good cuisine!
Fish, vegetables, fruits, herbs, meats, and even clothing, antiques or handicrafts. Because Bazurto is much more than just a market. It is a place for adventurers who want to immerse themselves in the real local culture. So, if you are one of those, walk among the food stalls and explore a bit of their products and try them out. You can have lunch with a typical dish or just snack on different foods that are new to you.
Visiting the Bazurto market will give you a totally different perspective of the historic center and the Walled City. Another side of Cartagena, also dazzling.
However, as you have so many options to choose from, we recommend you to come with a guide who can point you to the best places. You can also take advantage of the day to visit other places, such as the Cerro de la Popa and its convent.
3. Daytrips to beaches or islands, impossible to miss it
We know that one of the reasons to travel to Cartagena is also to enjoy its beaches. And in Cartagena there are different options to take advantage of the Caribbean Sea. Within the city are the beaches of Bocagrande, where people usually go to bathe.
But there is also Baru Island with Playa Blanca, Tierra Bomba, the Rosario Islands and even the San Bernardo Archipelago.
The truth is that in Cartagena there are many beaches where you can enjoy and rest. Your choice will depend on your time, preferences and budget. If you prefer to be in a more secluded or private place. Or if you don’t want to go too far from the city. And for example, if you want to disconnect for a couple of days, or if you only have a few hours.
One of the most recommended options is Playa Tranquila which, as its name suggests, is a place where you can have a relaxing time without going too far from the city.
4. Mud volcano: a plan for the adventurous
Finally, we would like to recommend an activity that is not for everyone, but it is a unique experience in the country. A mud or mud volcano.
Just as we told you. Near Cartagena there is El Totumo, a mud volcano where you can immerse yourself and enjoy its medicinal and rejuvenating properties. To do this activity you will need a guide to accompany you.
The volcano and its simple infrastructure are maintained by locals who will guide you up the stairs. Once there, you will enter the mud crater. Although it appears to be bottomless, it will be impossible for it to sink because of the thick mud.
Therefore, the minerals found in the mud work as exfoliants for the skin and body. They can help relieve muscle and joint pain and aid circulation.
So, if you want to have a different plan near Cartagena, do not hesitate to visit this place.
Now that you know which are the must-see tours in Cartagena, it’s time to start planning your visit. We are waiting for you!