Cartagena is Colombia‘s coastal gem and its most romantic city. The warm Caribbean breeze gathers up sounds of salsa music and the scent of the flowers that cascade down from the balconies of the rainbow-coloured houses that line its cobbled streets.

Steeped in colonial and nautical history, Cartagena boasts impressive ramparts, forts and bastions as well as plenty of Spanish-style architecture. This is a city made for exploring: wind your way through the historic centre passing carts laden with juicy fruit and women selling coconut candies under the shade of the arches that ring the plazas.

Head to Getsemani where the doors of its colourful houses are flung open and street art adorns the walls. And be sure to find yourself a spot on a rooftop where you can take in the views of Cartagena’s skyline, from the candy coloured spire of the cathedral out towards the Miami-style skyscrapers of Bocagrande.

When to go

Cartagena is hot and fairly humid all year round with temperatures peaking around June, July and September. You can expect some rain from August to November.


What to do

  • Stroll around the 11km of city walls
  • Explore the Castle of San Felipe de Barajas
  • Shop for handicrafts and peruse the jewellery shops selling emeralds and gold
  • Explore the winding streets of the old city, stopping for refreshing lulo or tres leches ice cream
  • Enjoy rum tasting followed by a salsa lesson
  • Take a day trip to the Rosario Islands