My Experience in Cartagena
I just finished exploring the depths of Cartagena, and I can honestly say that my friend Kim and I did it all. There are so many things to do Cartagena Colombia. We were here for 5 full days, and I think it was the perfect amount of time. Cartagena Colombia was the first stop on my around the world trip and I could not be more thrilled with it!
The locals were SO nice, the food was great, everything was about half the price of Canada, and the weather was beautiful (very humid & rainy in May, but still beautiful).
If you are planning a trip to Cartagena I would highly recommend staying a couple of days exploring the rest of the country as well.
Lots of backpackers we met spent a few days in Bogota and were on their way up to Barranquilla and Santa Marta for more adventures. If we didn’t have Machu Picchu booked already in a week we definitely would have stayed and explored more!
Are you concerned about the safety of Cartagena? Read my post about Cartagena Colombia safety coming soon!
This beach won’t give you white sand or turquoise blue waters but if you don’t feel like venturing too far away this beach is a great option. The salty ocean water is always beautifully warm and faces the Caribbean, so you can’t go wrong.
This beach seemed like it had a lot more locals on it, and less vendors than Bocagrande. It’s still nice and close to the town, so you won’t get the white sandy beach, but I’d say worth a visit! You seriously can’t go wrong with any beach that’s on the ocean and a part of the Caribbean.
Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of Castillogrande, but you can expect the same kind of sand and waters as the above Bocagrande.
Playa Blanca, meaning “White Beach” houses the most beautiful white sand and turquoise waters. But be aware that you will be heavily harassed by locals trying to sell you things. “No Gracias” & “Estoy Bien” will be your two new favourite phrases.
Despite that part, it was BEAUTIFUL. We had the best day, being taken from our hostel at 830am with a one-hour bus ride to the beach, and then left the beach on our bus at 3pm. There are many ways to get to the beach, you can also boat in from Cartagena. The round-trip bus ride cost us $45,000 COP each and was well worth it.
Tip! Locals will swarm you when you first get to the beach to try and get you to sit at one of their chairs. It’s not mandatory, you can just sit on your towel. But if you stay near the beginning of the beach the prices are a lot cheaper than if you walk further down. Some of the chairs and shade you can get for free near the beginning of the beach.
If you’re looking for an affordable beach to spend the day at, this is the one! We didn’t get a chance to go but I’ve heard great reviews from it. Juan Ballena does excellent tours hear.
This is probably the most popular island destination, and thus of course, your most expensive. A friend I had met from Chicago did a full day tour with scuba diving, lunch and island hopping here for roughly $270,000 COP.
The beaches on Barú are quaint and intimate, with the exception of Playa Blanca, which is the most expensive of Barú’s beaches. You can’t go wrong here for a relaxing, white sand filled afternoon.
Town of Cartagena
Castillo San Felipe de Barajas
This was a great way to spend an hour or two if you’re looking for something to do in Cartagena. It’s $25,000 COP to get in, but well worth it. This old fortress has so much history and is so beautiful to walk around. You can walk all the way up to the top and then explore the tunnels underneath.
Since we went in May, which is the start of their winter and the rainiest month, it was also the most humid month. Reaching degrees of 40 Celsius, and 75% humidity made this a very hot trek so if you can, try and avoid the month of May in Cartagena.
Old Town was much different than I expected. For whatever reason I assumed it would have been a place to walk around that had very old buildings that were deserted. Man was I completely wrong. It had the best little shops and restaurants and was probably the liveliest place of all of Cartagena.
Volcan de Lodo El Totumo
Our hostel had a great deal on visiting this mud volcano for the afternoon. I was a little skeptical at first but it turned out to be one of my favourite experiences!
It’s like something you can never do again, very unique and just outright interesting. You drive about an hour out of Cartagena, we paid our hostel $50,000 COP for this, and then you simply get to go inside a volcano and take a sort of ‘mud bath’.
Any things to do in Cartagena Colombia to add that you absolutely loved? Scroll down and comment them below!
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