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Founded in 1533, Cartagena became a main port for trade between Spain and other countries. However, the history of the city dates all the way back to 4000 BC according to the age of the ceramic artifacts found at the Puerto Hormiga archaeological site. Today it is the capital of the Bolivar Department with a population of over a million people.
With a daily average temperature of 82 degrees year-round, outdoor activities are very popular. In fact, it never gets lower than 64 degrees in Cartagena, so the coast is a popular spot with locals and tourists. And tourism is a major income for the city, with many thousands of visitors each year. While the main attraction is the historic old town, you will find that most people are naturally drawn to the beaches as well.
The coral reefs and sandy beaches are great places to spend a hot day in Cartagena. The most popular spots are at the tip of the Boca Grande Peninsula, where there are close to a dozen named beaches and many unnamed spots to enjoy. Marina Park on Santander Avenue is a nice spot with access to the beach, memorials, old forts, and picnic areas.
Traveling can be frustrating when you have luggage with you because you cannot carry it around with you while you enjoy the beaches and other fun. Since we travel a lot too, we understand. That’s why we started Bounce, our luggage storage service with partners all over the globe. Locals can also enjoy our service if they have bags to stash while they hit the beach or the clubs after work.
Top Things to Do
You can hardly get around Cartagena while you have your bags to take care of. Have you ever tried pulling one of those wheeled suitcases in the sand? It doesn’t work very well. Download our Bounce app and find the closest location to drop off your things. Then, relax as you explore and enjoy the beaches, parks, museums, and malls.
Because Cartagena has over 20 museums and many more memorials and galleries, those that want to learn more about the city are in for a treat. From the Museum of Modern Art to the Chocolate Museum, there is something that everyone can enjoy. Check out some of these favorites:
Zenu Gold Museum: Located in a mansion on Plaza de Bolivar, the Zenu Gold Museum is a treasure. See hundreds of gold artifacts like jewelry, coins, and small statues. You can learn more about Cartagena's history as well as other cities around Columbia. The indigenous Zenu people who lived nearby were talented craftsmen and had a style of weaving gold like no one else could ever replicate.
Palace of Inquisition Museum: Just across from the Zenu Gold Museum in the same Plaza de Bolivar, the Palace of Inquisition Museum is a fantastic old office where the Spanish military conducted many investigations from 1610 until 1810. In 1770, the museum was completed and still has the most beautiful colonial design. Inside, you can see exhibits like torture devices the soldiers used to question their prisoners. On the third floor, a more reserved exhibit of historical conquests is displayed.
San Felipe Castle: One of the most unique landmarks in Cartagena is the San Felipe de Barajas Castle built on San Lazaro Hill. Although it started out as the San Lazaro Castle in 1536, the entire hill ended up being part of the fortress as they built it up between 1657 and 1762. This structure was the only one that was never taken by the pirates who were constantly invading the area. Take a guided tour through the underground tunnels or explore on your own.
You won’t have to go far to do your shopping. The streets are full of vendors, and the markets are all nearby. Whether you are looking for something specific or just browsing, leave your bags with one of our Bounce partners so your hands are free to carry all your purchases.
Las Bovedas: Shop inside 23 vaults the Spaniards call dungeons, built in the late 16th century. They were a project done in colonial times for military purposes to store weapons and ammunition but were later used as jails. Nowadays, you can find some of the most interesting crafts in these cells, most made by hand by the local artisans. Grab some souvenirs for your loved ones and some gifts for yourself too. Located in the Walls of Cartagena by the Lago del Cabrero.
Caribe Plaza: Centro Commercial Caribe Plaza on Pie de la Popa is a large and decked out mall by the Castillo de San Felipe. They have almost 200 shops, including name brands like Adidas, Polo, and Classic Jeans. You can also catch a movie at the cinema or try your luck at the King Club Casino. If you get hungry, grab a bite to eat at Jeno’s Pizza, Sr. Wok, or they even have Burger King and McDonald’s.
Markets: There are street vendors all over the place, and the outdoor markets are filled with colorful clothing, bags, jewelry, and crafts to buy. Mercado de Bazurto is located off 90A along the eastern shores of Cienega Las Quintas Lake. This market is full of delicious foods and vibrant colors. Another gem, the Columbia Artesanal on Callejón de los Estribos in Old Town, has some of the best handcrafts on the fancy side.
While visiting Cartagena, you have to try some of the local cuisine at least once. Whether you are a meat lover or vegan, there are plenty of choices to be had. You can even grab a meal or snack on the street from one of the vendors on your way to somewhere else. Try some of these local favorites.
Local Food: The Bandeja Paisa is the national dish of Columbia, and you can find it everywhere. It is a huge plate of food with grilled meat, pork rinds, and sausage with rice and beans. For the best, try the Rancho Paisa Restaurant on 90A along the coastline. If you like seafood, try the ceviches at La Cevicheria on Calle Stuart by Hotel Santa Clara. Or try some Fritanga (grilled meat and plantains) at the El Santisimo on Calle del Torno.
Fine Dining: If you want to be waited on, try Restaurante 1621 in front of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s House. Their French food is exquisite, and the staff is wonderful. Try the roasted veal with tartufata sauce, fried octopus with potatoes and creole sauce, or beef steak tartare. Moshi is an upscale Asian establishment on Calle del Santisimo with some of the best sushi in the country. Try an Omakase tasting menu for a bit of everything, including local fish and meat.
Fast Food: For some food in a hurry, head over to Burger Bistro on Calle la Estrella by Gelateria Paradiso. Try the Latin burger or the La Latina burger. They even have vegetarian burgers. Try Sierva Maria on Calle de las Carretas for some mini fritos, frijoles, egg and cheese arepas, or carimanolas. They also have pizza, hot dogs, and some of the best smoothies in town. The eclectic café is friendly and fun with nice servers who will make sure you are pleased with your meal.
How much does luggage storage cost in Cartagena?
The price for luggage storage in Cartagena is just $5.90/bag for the entire day.
Is it safe to store your bags in Cartagena?
Yes. Every bag is tagged with a security seal and comes with the $5,000 Bounce Guarantee. Every location is required to uphold tight security precautions. You may be asked to show ID and you will be required to use a credit card to book through Bounce in advance. With hundreds of thousands of bags stored, you can count on Bounce to handle your baggage in Cartagena.
Are there storage lockers in Cartagena?
Yes. There are storage lockers and many other luggage drop off points in Cartagena. Bounce has multiple locations throughout Cartagena where you can conveniently store your luggage with full security and the $5,000 Bounce Gurantee.
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