Colorful coastal Cartagena is one of those cities where it’s best to just forget about the map and allow yourself to get lost. Believe it; you can’t go too far as it’s a walled city, and it is too difficult to get lost. Also, visiting the Walled City can turn anyone into a romantic. Strolling the neighborhood’s cobblestone streets, passing by horse-drawn carriages, lighted lanterns, and balconies covered in flowers, is a beatable experience.

Whether you are coming for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a trip with friends, there are interesting things to do during your trip to Cartagena. Places like Getsemani, wall city, Baru and Rosario islands, San Felipe Castle, beautiful Punta Arena Beach, Bazurto Market, modern city, etc., should be on your to-do list.

Best Time to Visit Cartagena

When I plan any vacation, I generally pay attention to the weather, in addition to any other variables like any events going on during that time, transportation costs, taking vacation time from work, etc. Planning a trip to Cartagena is no different. Temperatures in Colombia are based on the location’s altitude since it is so close to the equator. As a result, Cartagena is a hot city, and the temperature will be relatively the same at any time of the year.

Peak Season: Between December to mid-January and during the Holy Weeks (March or April – dates change annually). Cartegena is Colombia’s most popular tourist city, and accommodation prices can be almost double during the high season.

Off-Season: Between May to mid-June and again between August to November. Paying attention to the rainy season will give you advantages since rainy months become absolutely humid. Usually, between October and November are the wettest.

Best Time to Travel: Between Mid-January to April. The dry season is a great time to walk the colonial central city. However, avoid the crowds during Holy Week (March or April – dates change annually).

Rainy Season in Cartagena
Rainy Season in Cartagena

Getting There

By Air:

Domestic air network connecting major cities is excellent in Colombia, including those in the Caribbean coastal area. The main domestic carriers are AviancaLan ColombiaCopa Airlines, and Satena. There are also flights from most major mainland cities to San Andres and Providencia islands.

By Road:

Colombian roads condition varies massively. The Panamerican Highway is mostly well-paved, but the roads get bumpier when you start venturing off the beaten track. Also, expect landslides in the more mountainous regions during the rainy season.

Rental Car:

You can pick up the rental car at the airport from any of the major international rental companies, but driving in the cities is not recommended. I have tried it in big cities like Lima and Bogota, but it could be difficult for many.


Taxis are cheap, convenient, and plenty in major cities and most midsize towns. They are also considered fairly safe to hail in the street. However, you may get charged a bit more for being a non-Spanish-speaking passenger; in Bogota, Cali, and Medellin, they have meters (taximeters), but in smaller places, you have to negotiate the price.

I usually don’t use taxis with a driver and somebody else inside, regardless if it’s a friend or someone for security reasons; such a situation may be unsafe for me, a common tactic for robbery. Good idea to use one of the taxi apps like UberTappsi, and Easy Taxi with your smartphone for a safer ride in most major cities.


Some northern cities use motorbike taxis, which is a quick way of getting around if you’re solo. These may not be the safest and are illegal in places like Cartagena, but they are not enforced. You may find options for renting a motorbike in resort areas like San Andres. 

Sightseeing & Things You Need To Know

Visit Colorful Getsemani

Getsemani, the most classic neighborhood of the city, is full of history and color and was the location of the first protests for the independence of Cartagena in 1811. At night, the neighborhood becomes even more interesting when locals and tourists gather in this bohemian and alternative neighborhood far from the glamour of the walled city.

We also recommend taking a short walk over to the Getsemani neighborhood, just outside the Old Town center. This neighborhood was originally where escaped slaves and the poorer classes lived, but today it features a cool, colorful vibe further emphasized by some terrific street art.

most classic neighborhood of Cartagena
Cartagena, Colombia
Narrow street in Cartagena

View Sunset from Baluarte de Santo Domingo

The old city is surrounded by walls that took two centuries to complete due to the continuous storms and pirate attacks that ravaged the city. In 1796, the walls were finally completed, just 25 years before the Spaniards were finally expelled from the city. The best way to explore this part of the city is on foot or by bicycle, as it gives you the freedom to move easily through the colonial streets. Don’t limit yourself to only looking for the main attractions here, as there are many interesting places that you will find as you explore around all corners of the walled city.

Baluarte de Santo Domingo, Cartagena
Baluarte de Santo Domingo, Cartagena
Baluarte de Santo Domingo, Cartagena
Baluarte de Santo Domingo, Cartagena

Watching the sunset is one of the best things you can do in Cartagena. First, find a good spot on the top of the wall that is not comfortable for you, then there are restaurants like Cafe del Mar from where you could get a spectacular view of the horizon where you only need to watch the sunset as you enjoy a local drink. 

Trip to Baru and Rosario Islands

Baru and Rosario Islands are located only 45 minutes from Cartagena. They are, without doubt, two places that you have to visit during your trip to Cartagena if you want to see what a Caribbean beach actually looks like. Baru was a peninsula that was separated from Cartagena during the construction of the Canal del Dique. Today, it is accessible by both land and sea. Its most popular beach is Playa Blanca, a vast public space that is famous for its white sand and crystal-clear blue waters.

Baru and Rosario Island
Trip to Baru and Rosario Island
Rosario Island, Cartagena
Rosario Island, Cartagena

Castillo De San Felipe

Entering San Felipe Castle in Cartagena is like going back in time. African slaves built it under the command of the Spanish military. Cartagena was the most important port in the Caribbean for the Spanish colonizers, and they needed to protect the city from their enemies because of the treasures they kept there. For this reason, inside the castle, they built a complex system of tunnels, which you can still walk through today, to allow the Spanish troops to move from one location to another. Watching the sunset from the top of the castle is magnificent, which also provides a beautiful view of the city. Furthermore, you can easily walk to the castle, as it is only steps away from Getsemani and about 10 minutes from the clock tower in the old city. 

Beautiful Beach at Punta Arena

Tierra Bomba island is only 10 minutes away from Cartagena by boat. From the beaches of Castillogrande, you can also see the island where you will find Punta Arena, a beautiful beach with white sand and turquoise water where you can spend an entire day trying the local food and enjoying the panoramic view of the city from the other side of the water. You can get to Punta Arenas from the beach at Castillogrande, behind the hospital of Bocagrande, where boats are ready to transport tourists throughout the day. You can even coordinate your return trip with the person who takes you to Tierra Bomba.

Beautiful beach of Punta Arenas

In Punta Arenas, you will find accommodations, restaurants, and sun loungers where you can spend the day. We recommend that you go mid-week and walk towards the right side of the beach (with your back towards the city view) once you get there. After walking for 5 minutes, you will find a larger beach space with fewer people.

Visit Bazurto Market

The Bazurto Market is not a place for inexperienced travelers. However, this market is a favorite among those who know where to find the best local ingredients and how to face the chaos and crowds of the market to get them. It’s only 15 minutes from the city center, where you can find the freshest fish, exotic fruits, and all sorts of electronic devices. You can also try the local cuisine, including a turtle, shark, and cow’s tongue. It truly is an example of authentic Cartagena culture.

You’ve probably read many warnings about Bazurto Market, but there are many more good things here than bad ones, and you should not let this stop you from visiting one of the best places in Cartagena. If you are an expert traveler and want to go on your own, we recommend you don’t bring any valuables.

Local shop in Cartagena
Local shop in Cartagena
Street vendor in Cartagena
Street vendor in Cartagena

Visit the New and Modern Cartagena

Far from the walled city and Getsemani to the southeast of the city, you will find the “new” neighborhoods where almost all of the city’s hotels are located. The neighborhoods of Bocagrande and Laguito, aside from being known for their high-rise buildings, are also home to the beaches inside the city. Castillogrande has an even more extensive beach than the others and shares a bay with the Manga neighborhood, one of the city’s more residential areas. The best way to visit these neighborhoods is by going on an open-air city bus tour, where you will get to see all the spots mentioned above and listen while we tell you the fascinating history of each place.

Eglesia De San Pedro Claver,
Eglesia De San Pedro Claver, in old town Cartagena
Cartagena skyline
Cartagena skyline

Where to stay in Cartagena, Colombia

Edificio Morros 3, Cartagena

Edificio Morros 3 offers 3 outdoor swimming pools and a fitness center in Cartagena de Indias. This self-catering accommodation features free WiFi. The property is 3.7 mi from La Popa Mount and Cartagena’s Walls. There is a full kitchen with a microwave and an oven, private bathrooms with a bath or shower, and a hairdryer. In addition, you can enjoy the sea view. At the accommodation, you will find a hammam and a hot tub. In addition, other facilities like grocery deliveries and water sports facilities are offered. Activities in the surrounding area include windsurfing and snorkeling. The property offers free parking.

Casa La Fe by BespokeColombia

Set in a charming republican house decorated with flowering plants, Casa La Fe by BespokeColombia is in Cartagena’s historic center. Its rooftop pool and sun terrace overlooks the scenic city skyline. Guests at Casa La Fe by BespokeColombia can enjoy its central location or make a trip to Bocagrande Beach, only a 5-minute drive away. They can also visit the renowned San Felipe Castle, a 20-minute walk from the hotel. An a la carte breakfast is served daily and may be enjoyed in the pretty central courtyard featuring a vertical garden and ornamental furniture. Coffee is available 24 hours a day. The place is a 10-minute drive from Cartagena Airport.

My Opinion and Last Word

Have you been to Cartagena, Colombia? Any cool tips to share?

loved being in Cartagena, Colombia, and want to go back again. I hope my story has motivated you to visit Colombia.

Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge. 

Was this travel guide helpful for you?

If you’d like to help me continue making free guides, here is one way you can help:

  • Share This Guide – If you have a friend that would benefit from this guide, share it with them. Or post this guide on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Your Support would definitely help me make more free guides like this. Thank you in advance!

Affiliate Link – This post in Dizzy Traveler contains affiliate links, which means I receive a referral commission if you purchase after clicking at no additional cost to you. These funds go to maintain the site. Thank you for your supporta

Book Your Sightseeing Trip

There are a lot of beautiful places to visit and some exciting sightseeing activities to bring unforgettable memories back home. Please click on our below affiliate link to see your options.

Hasan Mahmud

Traveler, Blogger, and Travel Photographer!

Leave a Reply