With its narrow cobbled streets, colorful buildings, and enough restaurants to satisfy all tastes, there’s no wonder why the old town of Cartagena is considered one of the highlights of Colombia.
Although the city is very touristy, it has major charm and it is not to be missed if you visit Colombia.
Discover the old town
We allowed a full day to discover the old town of Cartagena, walking for hours, snapping pictures every step of the way, trying to see everything.
Although we normally mark the places we want to see in Lonely Planet or on a map, this time, we decided to walk and discover. Hence, we didn’t know where we were heading, what we were going to see, and it felt great.
Visit the Palacio de la Inquisición
From our discoveries, Palacio de la Inquisición was the most striking. It was quite shocking to read about the tortures people were subjected to and seeing the tools they used. However, it’s important to know what was a big part of the world’s history.
On a more positive side, we also loved it because of its photogenic qualities. Almost every wall of the facades had a special color, a particularity that we loved.
Also beautiful are the views you can see from the walls surrounding the old town: the busy streets packed with cars, especially taxis who’s color blended perfectly with the houses’ facades. What a beauty!
Know before you go:
When to go: We were there in March and the weather was glorious :).
How to get there: We took a minibus from Tayrona Park with Marsol and paid COP 65000 pp. Although the price was good and we were picked up at the hotel, the driving was awful, and we were not dropped off at the hotel in Cartagena as promised.
Where to stay: We stayed at Casa La Espaniola, a B&B about 10 min by taxi from the old town. We had a great time there. The owner, Blanca, was absolutely lovely, from preparing breakfast to answering all our questions.
Where to eat: We tried a few places and one of our favorites was Nativo in the old town for a nice lunch and La Brioche for great fruit juices and croissants.
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Other top destinations in Colombia
OK, so you made it to Cartagena, visited the old town, posted as much as you could on Instagram, and now you are wondering what next. Well, let me tell you, the options are endless. From the difficult but rewarding Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) trek to sunbathing in Tayrona Park or coffee tasting in the Zona Cafetera, you will definitely not get bored. Oh, and then there is the wonderful Valle de Cocora. A must see. Happy travels!