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Cartagena Visitor Guide 2022: Everything you need to know

Published by: Bounce3 June, 2021

The Colombian city of Cartagena is an unforgettable place to visit. Combining influences from Spanish, Native, and Caribbean cultures, the city is one of the most vibrant and colorful you’re ever likely to visit. With its walled old town that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, Cartagena attracts plenty of tourists interested in the past. But it’s the vibrant life of the city and its people that make Cartagena so unforgettable. This beautiful city simply cries out to be explored.

You can make things easier on yourself by dropping off any unneeded belongings at a Cartagena luggage storage service. Traveling light allows you to experience the city the way the locals do and gives you peace of mind knowing that your possessions are safely looked after. Drop off the bags and enjoy this unique place.

The 7 Best Tours of Cartagena


There are plenty of reasons to visit Cartagena. Known as the 'jewel of the indies', this walled city is surrounded by stunning beaches, offers great cuisine, and comes with a fascinating history, as it was once the largest slave port in the Americas. Combine that with friendly locals and a Caribbean climate and you have all the makings of a great holiday destination.

If you're looking for an interesting way to explore the


Best Cartagena tour for history enthusiasts – Discover Cartagena

This city is a fascinating blend of Spanish, African, and indigenous people, and each culture has added something to the multi-layered history of the city. Declared a World Heritage site in 1984, there is almost too much history to uncover here and that is why you are going to need knowledgeable locals to guide you through your adventure. This company can do just that on one of their highly informative walking tours. 

They offer a range of tour options so to find out more, call them on 5730 4679 0037 or email them at concierge@cartagena.co.co


Best way to explore Cartagena by horse – Horses Cartagena Tours

The Colombian Paso horses are stunningly beautiful animals, and this is a company that has built their business around their passion for them. You are invited to visit their ranch where they stable and breed these fine animals and they offer a range of tour options for the horseback enthusiast.  Canter across a stunning beach or trail ride through some of Colombia's exquisite countryside. They even offer riding lessons for the uninitiated.

To find out more, call 5731 2670 1447 or email them at info@horsecartagenatours.com


Best island tours from Cartagena – Cartagena for Travellers S.A.S

If you fancy a taste of the high life then this might just fit the bill for you.  This company offers a wide range of tours on their luxury motor cruising yachts, giving you the possibility to visit some of the local islands and beaches in the area. Many of these exclusive destinations are only accessible by boat and with Cartagena for Travellers, you can be assured that you will arrive in style. 

To browse the list of boats for hire and find out more about potential destinations, email them at reserve@cartagenafortravellers.com or call them on 5730 0677 7636


Best tours of Cartagena by bike – Cartagena Adventures

This company offers a variety of adventures for those keen to experience some of the outdoor possibilities that are so abundant in and around Cartagena. You can cycle the city to discover it from another perspective, or you can be whisked away to a snorkeling adventure in some of the nearby crystal-clear waters. Discover the unique flora in the mangroves and throw in some tasty local food experiences and you have every reason to spend a day with Cartagena Adventures.

Call them on 5730 1298 7139 or email rubenmore@cartagenaadventures.com 


Best free walking tour of Cartagena – NEXPERIENCE

Cartagena is said to be a city with a soul of its own. To get a feel for it and so that you know what areas you want to delve into more deeply, this company offers a free walking tour. After that, you are welcome to sign up for one of their other tours or to tip your guide, but you will be under no obligation to do either. They are confident enough of the services they provide to offer this free walking tour, knowing that you will want to come back for more.

To find out about joining a tour and where to meet up, call 5731 3234 4660 or email them at tours@nexperience.co


Best way to experience Cartagena on the water – Karib Kayak & Paddle Center

The hardest decision you are going to need to make with these guys is whether to explore by paddleboard or by kayak. The prospect of skimming across those crystal-clear waters and discovering hidden seaside gems is probably already a given. Whether you opt to glide across the ocean or venture into the mangroves is something you should discuss with them. They are happy to help design an adventure especially for you.

To plan your adventure email them at info@karibkayakypaddle.com or call them on 5731 8755 9738.


Best tour of the Cartagena coast – La Fantastica Pirate Ship

Did you know that pirates founded Cartagena and played a big role in its early establishment? Well, here is your chance to experience a little of what their lives were like by cruising on this replica pirate ship. They provide island cruises as well as sunset tours so you can decide which experience fits best with your plans. Sipping cocktails on the deck while viewing Cartagena from the water might not quite be the same as pirate life, but it will be a great adventure nonetheless.  

Call them on 5731 1262 7319 or email them at pirates@lafantasicacartegena.com


However you decide to explore Cartagena, remember that you can travel light by using nearby Bounce luggage storage services. They have teamed up with trusted local partners so that you can store your bags safely and easily before going off to explore.

A weekend in Cartagena

A couple of days isn’t enough to experience everything Cartagena offers. Then again, a lifetime might not be enough, either. If you only have a few days in the city, you’ll need to concentrate on the most impressive attractions.

  • Cartagena’s top attraction has to be its remarkable Old Town. Built by Spanish rulers in the seventeenth century, this well-preserved settlement retains much of its original ancient architecture. It’s a fascinating place to explore.

  • Step back in time at Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas. Established in 1639, the Spanish fortress was never taken despite enduring numerous attacks. The story of the fortress is fascinating, and the views from the battlements are worth the price of admission alone.

  • Take a break from the city at the stunning Playa Blanca. Reachable by boat or by car, this white sand beach with its turquoise waters is picture-postcard perfect. It's the perfect place to soak up some sun, have a refreshing drink, and just relax.

Off the beaten path in Cartagena

Once you’ve seen the main sites of Cartagena, there’s lots more to explore. Drop off your bags at a Cartagena luggage storage locker and immerse yourself in a lesser known side of the city. The real Columbia awaits.

  • Bathe in mud at a volcano. El Totumo is a volcano just outside the city known for its mud baths. The volcanic mud is alleged to have restorative powers, and offers a unique way to relax by soaking in a mud pool.

  • Enjoy the natural beauty of the Rosario Islands. These 27 islands lie in the waters just off the city and are home to stunning coral reefs. Swimming and snorkeling in the clear water is a treat you shouldn’t mess while in Cartagena.

  • Get above it all at Convento de la Popa. The 17th-century convent is built on the highest point in the city, offering incredible views of Cartagena and the ocean beyond. The convent itself is also of historic interest, and well worth exploring.

What to do alone in Cartagena

Cartagena gets plenty of tourists, and it’s not hard to meet new people. Additionally, Colombians are known for being friendly and welcoming to outsiders. On the other hand, if you prefer to be alone, Cartagena has plenty of activities you can do by yourself too.

  • Savor the sights and sounds at Mercado de Bazurto. The biggest market in the city, this is where locals come to do their shopping. You won’t find fresher food than that on offer at the stalls, and the market is worth visiting just to people watch and immerse yourself in the local culture.

  • Sample some of Columbia’s best cuisine on a Cartagena street food tour. These lively tours take you everywhere from sitdown restaurants to market stalls to little-known trailers throughout the city. Mingle with fellow travelers while you sample the delicacies the city has to offer.

  • Dance the night away in one of Cartagena’s salsa bars. Salsa dancing has a long history in the city, and bars such as Café Havana and Quiebracanto offer an unforgettable atmosphere. Lively music has a great way of sweeping away people’s inhibitions, and you’ll find yourself on the floor in no time, no matter what your skill level.

The best souvenirs in Cartagena

If you don’t mind haggling with street vendors, Calle de la Gobernacion is the place to pick up souvenirs of your trip. Vendors set up tiny stalls along the roadside all day long, and you can pick up woven bags, paintings, trinkets, and just about any other memento of your trip you might want.

If you prefer a less hectic experience, visit This Is Cartagena. This store offers locally sourced souvenirs such as fair trade Colombian coffee and handmade hammocks. If you prefer something a little sweeter, go to Portal de Los Dulces. It’s the perfect place to pick up sweet souvenirs of your Colombian adventure.

Cartagena lockers

Cartagena’s old town dates back to a time when the only way to get around was on horseback or on foot. Walking remains the best way to get around the walled city. And even in other areas, slowing down and traveling under your own power is the best way to experience the sensory overload Cartagena offers.

Although Cartagena is generally safe, it’s a good idea not to carry more than you need to. Drop off your belongings at a Bounce luggage storage in Cartagena so they can be safely looked after. It’s one less thing to worry about while you explore.

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