Sitting atop the highest point in Cartagena, Convento de la Popa is a 17th-century convent characterized by graceful stone arcades and an interior courtyard filled with flowers. History and architecture aside, the biggest draw of the convent is the scenery: from the 500-foot (152-meter) perch, travelers are rewarded with sweeping views of the Caribbean coast and colonial city. The Basics
Convento de la Popa’s prime location means that it features on many Cartagena sightseeing tours. Explore the city by vintage trolley, or see Cartagena from a different perspective during a cruise along the Caribbean coastline. If you’re pressed for time and want to beat the heat, choose a tour that zips you around in an air-conditioned vehicle to popular attractions such as Plaza Bolivar and the Cathedral of San Pedro Claver. Things to Know Before You Go
- Convento de la Popa is a must-do for history buffs, and one of the best viewpoints from which to see Cartagena.
- Tourist crimes have been reported in the neighborhood at the bottom of the hill. If you’re visiting independently, ask your taxi driver to wait for you outside the convent.
- The convent is active and inhabited by nuns. Remain quiet, and wear modest clothing.
- Stairs make wheelchair and stroller access challenging.
- There is a small admission fee to enter the convent.
How to Get There
Convento de la Popa is about a 10-minute drive from Cartagena’s old town. If visiting on your own, take a taxi to avoid walking through an unsafe neighborhood. Many travelers opt to visit Convento de la Popa as part of a guided city tour. When to Get There
The convent is open daily, morning through late afternoon. Arrive early to enjoy the quiet and savor the scenery before the crowds descend. The Convent
Once you’ve finished drinking in the views of the city, wander around the convent itself, which started as a small wooden chapel. Inside, you’ll find an arresting image of La Virgen de la Candelaria, the patron saint of Cartagena. Outside is a statue of a speared priest, Padre Alonso García de Paredes, who was killed along with five Spanish soldiers while trying to convert indigenous people to Christianity.