Founded in 1533 and with just as much relevance for the export of Peruvian silver as for the importation of African slaves. Cartagena is a city overflowing with history, music, bright colors, a fort, and a grand old city with 4 km of stonewalls to protect it.
Strategically located on the north coast of Colombia, (the Caribbean) this port was founded almost 500 years ago. At this time Cartagena was the most important port in America as large quantities of silver and gold were exported to Spain. This city also received tens of thousands of African slaves that were sold to the highest bidder. For these reasons, Cartagena was a place full of riches and a great target for pirates for 3 centuries.
In 1851 slavery was finally abolished and the slaves were set free, with the majority moving to other places in Colombia. But many stayed in Cartagena, with some descendants now work as palenqueras (fruit sellers that wear traditional colorful clothes to attract the attention of visitors.) Some other descendants have become musicians with tropical rhythms that play in street corners, beaches, restaurants, bars, and even on top of the great walls themselves.
The Castle of San Felipe de Barajas was built over a period of more than 200 years and was completed in 1763. It is located approximately one kilometer from the coast to offer good defensive from the main attack routes. Despite this, over the years Cartagena was attacked and conquered many times by English, French and Dutch pirates. For this reason, in 1594 the plans for the great wall were drawn up to protect the city. Construction began in 1614 and was completed two centuries later.
Cartagena is a city with magic in its streets, buildings, and beaches. A place with stories of battles, conquests, and love. This place offers the opportunity to travel 400 years back in time and walk through the stone streets and on top of the stone walls of an ancient city; an opportunity to take photos of old houses and dance to the rhythm of the tropical Caribbean music; an opportunity for your dreams to come true!
Other places not to miss near and in Cartagena:
- Statue of India Catalina: Kidnapped as a child from her indigenous family, Catalina was to grow up to be a translator and major influence in Cartagena
- Los Zapatos Viejos (The Old Boots): a bronze sculpture and tribute to poet Luis Carlos Lopez
- Las Bóvedas (The dungeons): Built-in 1795 to keep criminals, they now keep a range of boutique stores.
- Isla Rosarios: A beautiful group of islands located off the coast of Cartagena. A must for snorkeling, swimming, and enjoying the sun.
7 Package Tours Including Cartagena:
- 5 Day Caribbean Crown – Cartagena & Surroundings
- 8 Days Colombian Caribbean Express
- 10 Day Medellín, Pacific Coast and Cartagena
- 10-Day Breathtaking Barichara & The Caribbean
- 13 Day Intrepid Colombia Passage – Medellín to Cartagena
- 19 Days in Colombia, Bogotá to Cartagena
- 23 Day Ultimate Colombia Experience