What to Do and See in Cartagena. Colombia







The old town of Cartagena is a wonderful place to explore with vibrant colors, beautiful colonial balconies full of flowers, many churches and small squares. There are cafes, restaurants, bars, boutiques and many vendors selling fruits and other food items. You will see men playing chess or cards in the shaded parks.

Visit the Portal de los Dulces: Many candy vendors sell their local specialties under this covered walkway along the Plaza de las Coches.

Museo de Arte Moderno: This is a very nice small contemporary art museum on two levels. The original focus of the collection was on Colombian artists who were working in the 1950’s. It has been expanded to include living artists as well. It is located in the Plaza de San Pedro Claver adjacent to the church and convent of the same name. The abstract work from the 1950’s was excellent and well-worth the visit.

I suggest visiting the Santuario San Pedro Claver which has a beautiful church, courtyard, museum of religious artifacts and some wonderful rooms to explore on both the first and second levels. If the church is closed you can view it from the balcony through the museum.

The squares of Cartagena are really lovely. Plaza Bolivar, or Great Plaza, is one of the three main squares surrounded by buildings with wonderful colonial architecture. Plaza Santo Domingo with its cafes and Botero sculpture. Others not to be missed include Plaza de los Coches, Plaza San Diego and Plaza de la Merced which is the site of Adolfo Mejia Theater.

You can walk on and along the Walls of Cartagena which were started by the Spanish in 1586. There are 11 kilometers of walls with 21 bastions, 7 forts and 13 batteries and 3 breakwaters. If you have time, visit the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas which is a fortress from 1536, just outside the old city.

Stop in at the Casa Museo de Arte y Cultura to see if they have a current show exhibition. Local photography was featured while I was there. The garden in the courtyard has some lovely tropical flowers! It is located at 83 Calle 38 #5.

If you have time, walk through the Palace of the Inquisition and Historical Museum on the west side of Plaza Bolivar. It is a colonial building built in 1770 for the inquisition where several witches and heretics were tortured and burned over 200 years.

I recommend just walking and getting lost in the narrow, colorful streets and watching the people.