Some historians say that if it weren’t for San Felipe de Barajas Castle (Castillo San Felipe de Barajas), South America would now speak English. The 14th-century fortress protected the coastal city of Cartagena from English invasion, allowing the Spanish to maintain their rule. Besides the role it plays in Colombia’s history, the castle attracts visitors with its panoramic harbor views. The Basics
As one of Cartagena’s architectural icons, San Felipe de Barajas Castle tops the itinerary of most half- and full-day sightseeing tours. Get acquainted with the city on a culture-rich tour that stops at multiple colonial sites (such as Plaza Bolivar and the Cathedral of San Pedro Claver), and provides social and historical context crucial to understanding Cartagena’s past. Alternatively, create your own itinerary and explore at your own pace with a hop-on hop-off bus tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- San Felipe de Barajas Castle is a must-see for history buffs and those interested in military engineering.
- Photographers can capture some of the best sunset views from the castle’s turrets.
- To enter the fortress, you’ll need to pay an entrance fee that goes toward the maintenance of the structure.
Located on Av. Pedro de Heredia at Carrera 17, San Felipe de Barajas Castle overlooks the Caribbean coastline. The easiest way to get there is by taxi or tour bus. When to Get There
The castle is open daily, through the evening. Visit at night to escape the daytime crowds and wander around in much cooler temperatures. A Bizarre Comparison
Just outside the fortress is the Old Shoes Monument, a popular photo op that commemorates a poem by Cartagena wordsmith Luis Carlos López, who famously compared the old city to a worn, but comfortable, pair of shoes.