The coastal city of Cartagena is one of Columbia’s most-popular destinations. This fortress of a city was once the center of politics and economy. Today, remnants of this past draw visitors to its idyllic colonial streets, ornate cathedrals and beautiful beaches, making it a perfect destination for a day away from the ship.
How to Get to Cartagena
A free shuttle bus transports passengers from the dock to exit gates where it’s easy to find taxis to Old Cartagena, about 25 minutes away. Get dropped at the Convention Center, since it’s easy to find most sites from here.
One Day in Cartagena
It’s easy to spend a day wandering the streets of Old Cartagena, where the city’s rich history comes alive. Explore the underground tunnels of the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas fortress or visit the unnerving Palacio de la Inquisicion, where ancient tools of torture are on display. Then wander the streets of El Centro and San Diego where quaint homes, local restaurants and bustling cafes line the streets. Local outfits offer tours through the “Best of Cartagena” but visitors can also easily go it alone.
Locals use the peso, but US dollars and credit cards are accepted most places. Some taxi drivers and shop owners speak English, but it’s still difficult to get around without knowing Spanish. The port has an ATM as well as a pretty park near the dock, with typical souvenir shops and cafes.