Located by the Caribbean coast, Cartagena is one of Colombia's most beautiful and vibrant portside cities, unmatched in the world. Full of amazing history and culture, the coastal city of Cartagena contains gems like colonial architecture, colorful floras, and rustic decors.
Needless to say, there are plenty of amazing things to do in Cartagena. But what about the must-dos or the must-sees that will make your trip special? What's the list of top things to do in Cartagena that'll allow you to see the most of the beautiful Colombian city?
Keep reading to find out our top 17 most exciting things to do in Cartagena that'll fill your trip with incredible surprises and unforgettable memories to last!
17 Top Things To Do In Cartagena, Colombia!
1. Dance The Night Away At Salsa Bars
Experience the classical Salsa dance at Colombia. I mean, where else?
Let your hair down and feel the rhythm of the music flowing through your body as you join one of Cartagena's unique salsa bars! This activity is best for a night out at one of Cartagena's salsa bars or a fun activity to do when it rains in Cartagena.
2. Learn how to salsa!
Not sure how to Salsa? Even better, because we've got the perfect matching activity.
If you want to perfect your moves on the dance floor or learn the fundamentals of the Salsa dance, then there's no better place to do it than in the city known for its salsa clubs.
And even if you feel like you're not the type to take up dancing, learning how to salsa is still a great, local, and authentic experience in Cartagena.
3. Stroll through the old town of Cartagena
Cartagena's Old Town is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved colonial areas in South America.
With its cobbled streets and pastel-colored buildings, it's no wonder that this is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
Visit Zenu Gold Museum, enjoy a shopping tour at Las Bovedas, sit and enjoy a meal at La Cevicheria, or simply stroll through the streets and soak in the atmosphere.
4. Explore the San Felipe Castle
If you're craving some history and culture, then visiting the San Felipe Castle is a must.
This 16th-century Spanish fort has been beautifully preserved and offers stunning views of Cartagena's Old Town. Stroll through the corridors, explore the rooms, and learn about the city's rich history.
5. Spend a day at Playa Blanca!
If you're looking for a place to relax and soak up some sun, head over to Playa Blanca. Playa Blanca is one of the most popular beaches in Cartagena and is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying some delicious seafood.
Couples and honeymooners will especially love this place as the view is incredibly romantic.
6. Visit the Rosario Islands
The Rosario Islands are a group of 30 islands located just off the Colombian coast of Cartagena. These islands are famous for their white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and lush vegetation. You can take a day trip from Cartagena to enjoy some time on the islands or even stay overnight in one of the many resorts!
7. Enjoy a fishing charter tour!
Cartagena is quite the perfect city to learn fishing as a coastal portside city! You'll enjoy some time out on the open water, learn about traditional fishing techniques, and maybe even catch your dinner for the night. Take a break from the city and enjoy some time on the water.
8. Eat your way through Cartagena with a food tour!
Cartagena is known for its beautiful destinations, but they're also known for its delicious dishes and fruits!
If you're a foodie, you'll want to take a food tour of Cartagena. Joining a food tour around Cartagena is a great way to try some of the best local dishes and learn about the city's culinary culture.
From arepas to ceviche, there's plenty of delicious food to be enjoyed in Cartagena.
9. Go shopping in Cartagena!
Cartagena is a shopper's paradise.
You'll find everything and anything you're looking for, from high-end designer stores to local markets. Be sure to bargain for the best prices and take home some souvenirs for your friends and family.
Some of the finest shopping malls in Bocagrande plaza mall, La Serrezuela, Torre del reloj, and more! Experience some traditional Colombian shopping in El Centro, where you can find anything from handmade textiles to handcrafted jewelry.
10. Ride in a horse-drawn carriage
One of the best ways to see Cartagena's Old Town is from a horse-drawn carriage. Riding in a carriage is a unique and fun activity for couples or families with small children. Sit back, relax, and take in the sights and sounds of this beautiful colonial city.
The rides will last for around 30 minutes to 1 hour and are a great way to learn about the city's history and culture.
11. Hop on the Chiva party bus!
If you're looking for the best way to enjoy Cartagena nightlife, you've got to try out the Civa party bus!
The party bus is a popular tourist activity and for a good reason. You'll get to tour the city by night while dancing and enjoying some drinks on board. It's a great way to see Cartagena in a different light and meet some new friends.
12. Climb the Totumo Volcano & take a mud bath!
The Totumo Volcano is a tiny volcano that you can easily climb up inside of. Inside the Totumo Volcano is a warm mud bath with therapeutic properties for your skin. It's a popular tourist activity and something that you should try during your stay in Cartagena. The mud is good for your skin and can help relieve muscle pain.
It's a great way to relax and rejuvenate after a busy day of sightseeing. After all, it's not often you can say you've bathed in volcanic mud before!``
13. Go on a deep-sea excursion!
A trip to Cartagena wouldn't be complete without a deep-sea excursion. Exploring Cartagena's deep-sea lets you explore some of the country's unique marine life. There are plenty of tour operators offering excursions to suit all budgets. You can snorkel, scuba dive, or even take glass-bottom boat tours!
14. Enjoy a magical audio guide
Why not explore Cartagena through the lens of the Nobel Prize-winning Colombian Author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez? Join a 3-hour audio tour exploring "Gabo" and the many mysteries and cool things the city has to offer.
This magical audio tour, in my opinion, is one of the most unique and fun ways to explore a city! Learn about the Cartagena through well-crafted stories and factoids from a well-established Colombian author!
15. Explore the neighborhood of Getsemeni
The neighborhood of Getsemeni is said to be one of the most distinctive places and a must-visit in Colombia.
Explore the vibrant streets, talk with the locals, and eat at one of their many street food stalls. Getsemeni is one of the neighborhoods in Colombia where you can truly immerse yourself and enjoy authentic local music, food, and conversations!
16. Have fun in a pirate ship boat tour
Venture out into the Caribbean Sea on a pirate ship boat tour! Going on a boat tour is a great way to see some of Cartagena's beautiful islands. Plus, you'll also get to enjoy some pirate-themed fun on board, including a treasure hunt and water gunfight. It's an activity best fit for families or groups of friends!
17. Visit the Emerald Factory Museum!
As a destination famous for its emerald mines, it's only fitting that there's a museum dedicated to this precious gem. The Museo de la Esmeralda is home to some of the finest examples of Colombian emeralds.
You'll also learn about the history of emerald mining in Colombia and see some incredible jewelry on display.
Explore the city of Cartagena at your own pace!
The city of Cartagena is full of hidden gems, so as the very last recommendation on the best things to do, I recommend you explore the city at your own pace if time permits!
Whether you want to learn about the city's history, try local food, or simply explore the streets of Cartagena or its vibrant nightlife, a personalized tour is a great option.
Is Cartagena worth the visit?
Cartagena is one of the most beautiful cities in Colombia and is definitely worth the visit! The city offers many things to do full of historical and cultural roots, from exploring the beautiful colonial buildings to its vibrant streets and artworks. With an average temperature of 27˚C, you can enjoy the city's beaches and outdoor activities no matter when you visit.
Cartagena is also relatively safe! While it's always important to exercise caution when traveling, you can feel relatively safe walking around Cartagena during the day.
Plan your trip to Cartagena!
Now that you know all the top things to do in Cartagena let's make sure we store them down with Pilot so that you don't lose these fabulous itineraries!