Cartagena Skyline from San Felipe Castillo, things to do in Cartagena, Cartagena views
Cartagena Skyline from San Felipe Castillo
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).

Downtown Cartagena, things to do in Cartagena
Downtown Cartagena

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!

Beaches
Bocagrande, beaches in Cartagena
Bocagrande
bocagrande, beaches in Cartagena
Enjoying Some Rays at Bocagrande
Bocagrande, things to do in Cartagena, Cartagena beaches
Sunset at Bocagrande
Bocagrande

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.

Castillogrande

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, beaches in cartagena, things to do in Cartagena
Playa Blanca
Playa Blanca, beaches in cartagena, things to do in Cartagena
Kim and & I at Playa Blanca
Playa Blanca, beaches in cartagena, things to do in Cartagena
Beach of Playa Blanca
Playa Blanca, beaches in cartagena, things to do in Cartagena
Some Overpriced & Delicious Pina Coladas in Playa Blanca
Playa Blanca

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.

Islands
Punta Arena

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.

Rosario Islands

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.

Barú

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
San Felipe castillo, things to do in Cartagena
San Felipe Castillo
Things to do in Cartagena, Cartagena views
View of San Felipe Castillo from the Bottom
Things to do in Cartagena, Cartagena views
Top of San Felipe Castillo
Cartagena Skyline from San Felipe Castillo, things to do in Cartagena, Cartagena views
Cartagena Skyline from San Felipe Castillo
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.

things to do in Cartagena, old town Cartagena
Typical Street in Old Town Cartagena
things to do in Cartagena, old town Cartagena
Fat Lady in Old Town Cartagena
things to do in Cartagena, old town Cartagena
Famous Church in Old Town Cartagena
things to do in Cartagena, old town Cartagena
Old Town Cartagena
Old Town

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.

Mud Volcano Cartagena
After getting out of the Volcano
Mud Volcano Cartagena
View of the Volcano
Mud Volcano Cartagena
Enjoying Some Volcano Mud Fun
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!

Like what you read? Read more about South America here.

 

Author

Who the heck is Kira? Digital marketer by trade, traveller by heart. Just a regular Canadian girl that fell in love with travelling. After taking a year-long trip around the world she has all the tips and tricks to help you travel the world. Whether it's inspiration you're looking for or complete guides on how to travel around the world, this blog will be sure to help you! When Kira isn't travelling, you'll find her cooking up amazing plant-based recipes, trying to learn something new, and lounging around with friends probably eating popcorn and drinking wine. Take a look around and don't be afraid to hit that contact button to get in touch!

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