Cartagena ATTRACTIONS See all

Old Town Cartagena

A leisurely walk through the narrow streets of Old Town Cartagena, with bougainvillea spilling off second-floor balconies and brightly painted Colonial houses, invites visitors to escape into the past. The bustle of daily life mixes with the historical architecture of this walled city by the ocean. In addition to the beautiful boutique stores, numerous restaurants, and colorful street vendors, there are many treasures to see around town and just outside the city walls.

The leafy Plaza de Bolivar serves as a good place to start a tour in Cartagena and to see some of the local culture and buy fruit from the colorfully dressed women known as palanqueras. Next to the plaza, the free Gold Museum (Museo de Oro) displays pieces that tell the history of the Zenú indigenous tribe. The nearby Palace of the Inquisition (Palacio de la Inquisición) provides a rather gruesome look at Colombia’s past and the Spanish Inquisition -- some of the torture devices used on the accused are on display.

The San Pedro Claver church and monastery tells the life story of a priest in Cartagena who fought for human rights, and Cartagena’s Museum of Modern Art takes a look at art in Latin America. A short walk away is the Clock Tower (Torre del Reloj), the main entrance to Cartagena and a symbol of the city. Las Bovedas, a long series of vaults built under the city, have been alternately used as jails, munitions storage and in modern times, souvenir shops. Crafts made by indigenous tribes and bags of 100 percent Colombian coffee can be purchased here.

On a hill just outside the city is the San Felipe de Barajas Castle, which was built to defend Cartagena in the 1700s, and its tunnels are a cool place to avoid the tropical heat and find good views for photos.

Practical Info

To avoid the heat of the day, try getting to the Old Town earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon. Another option is to hide out during the hot hours in the shade of the Plaza de Bolivar, in an air-conditioned museum or at one of the numerous restaurants. The wide walls surrounding the city are ideal for a walk in the evening just before sunset.

Tours & Tickets

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Small-Group Historical Segway Tour in Cartagena

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

See some of the most prominent historical sites in Cartagena on this 90-minute Segway tour! Tour the historic El Centro and San Diego neighborhoods of ...  Read more

Location: Cartagena, Colombia
Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)

From USD $69.99

Cartagena Shore Excursion: Small-Group City Sightseeing Segway Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 17 Reviews

While in port in Cartagena, discover the beautiful city on this 1-hour sightseeing Segway shore excursion! Ride around Cartagena’s old town, the El Centro ...  Read more

Location: Cartagena, Colombia
Duration: 70 minutes (approx.)

From USD $59.99

Small-Group Cartagena Segway Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 4 Reviews

Discover the beautiful city of Cartagena on this 1-hour sightseeing Segway tour! Ride around the El Centro neighborhood (the ‘old town’) as you admire the ...  Read more

Location: Cartagena, Colombia
Duration: 70 minutes (approx.)

From USD $59.99

Cartagena Old Town Architecture Walking Tour

Discover Cartagena’s rich history and beautiful colonial architecture on a guided walking tour of the city’s traditional old center. Learn about the culture of ...  Read more

Location: Cartagena, Colombia
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $50.99

Small-Group City Sightseeing and Walking Tour in Cartagena

2.5 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better 5 Reviews

Embark on a small-group sightseeing tour of Cartagena and experience the magnificence of its colonial architecture. Your guide will take you by minivan to this ...  Read more

Location: Cartagena, Colombia
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $53.99

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