Things to do in
Walled City of Cartagena

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Walled City of Cartagena: Our most recommended tours and activities

Cartagena: Guided City Tour w/ La Popa and San Felipe Castle

1. Cartagena: Guided City Tour w/ La Popa and San Felipe Castle

Discover the magic of Cartagena — declared a World Heritage Site for its architectural distinction and its history — on this 4-hour, small-group tour. Visit the main sites around the city and learn the rich stories behind its culture. Head to the La Popa monastery, located on the tallest hill in the city, to get amazing views and take the best pictures from above. From there, explore the Fort San Felipe de Barajas, a 16th-century hilltop fortress built by the Spanish to protect against pirates and the English navy. Your guide will accompany you to tell the stories within the fort and explain more of its importance to Cartagena. Make a quick stop at an emblematic symbol of Cartagena — the Old Shoes Monument — and continue into the Walled City. Take a guided walk around the historic center and gain a deep understanding of its culture and architecture before returning to your hotel.

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Cartagena: Bike Tours Around the City

2. Cartagena: Bike Tours Around the City

In a shared or private group and with the expertise of a local guide, get to know the lively and colorful city of Cartagena by bike. Choose whether to begin your tour at the meeting point or upgrade your experience to include hotel pickup. Select between 2 tour routes: Historic Route: Enjoy a dynamic and fun tour of the entire walled city, seeing and discovering its monuments and history. Explore walls, bastions, fortifications, museums, squares, parks, and the Palace of the Inquisition. Visit one of the most emblematic Colonial Old Houses in the historic center, and find out about its history. See a display of an original cannon bullet dating back to the 17th century and go up to the lookout balcony where you can take amazing pictures from above Cartagena and have a complimentary refreshing drink. Also visit the San Felipe Fortress and Getsemaní, the most famous and oldest neighborhood in Cartagena with over 450 years of history (entrances fees are not included). If your tour leaves after 10 AM, you will have time to stop at a local craft beer shop where you will be given a tasting of different beers. Graffiti & Arts Route: Embark on a cultural tour and discover the graffiti and urban street art scenes of Getsemaní. Visit local artists' studios, and learn about the cultural richness of Cartagena and its historical roots. If you wish, you can make your own painting and buy it as a memory.

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Cartagena City Tour: 4-Hour Cruise Excursion

3. Cartagena City Tour: 4-Hour Cruise Excursion

You’ll be met at the pier by a smiling member of the tour operator’s staff, who will be holding a sign with your name on it. The 4-hour tour begins with a drive around the Manga neighborhood to see the Moorish and Republican houses. Stop at San Felipe Fort, one of the most outstanding strongholds built in America during colonial times. Follow this with a visit to Las Bovedas, a handicraft store that is filled with souvenirs of all kinds. Enjoy a walking tour around the old city (approximately 55 minutes in duration). During the walk you’ll stop to visit the Church of St. Peter Claver and the church’s museum (around 30 minutes). Head next to the modern side of the city for a sightseeing tour and for views of the Bay of Cartagena. Your last stop will be at the Emerald Museum, where a professional guide will teach you how to recognize an original Colombian emerald (30-minute visit). After this unique excursion, you’ll be transferred back to the pier.

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Cartagena: Walled City Walking Tour

4. Cartagena: Walled City Walking Tour

Start in the Plaza de Santa Teresa, where you can see the contrast between the colonial buildings of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries as well as a beautiful stretch of walls at Baluarte San Francisco Javier. Continue to San Juan De Dios Street until reaching San Pedro Claver church where you will take a guided tour of approximately 30 minutes. Later on, pass through the Aduana Plaza, Coches plaza, and Proclamation Square to visit the Plaza de Bolivar and the palace of the Inquisition. This palace was created in colonial times to punish all those people against the Catholic Church. Enter the palace with your guide to learn more about this infamous site. Continue to the square of the Inquisition, Plaza Santo Domingo and alley of the stirrups where you will reach the Santo Domingo baluarte. From there, visit the Café del Mar restaurant, known as having the best view of the sunset in the city of Cartagena. Continue with a short tour of the wall and visit some other plazas and streets until reaching the Las Bovedas handcrafts market, which is the final point of the tour.

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Cartagena: Walled City Kayak Tour

5. Cartagena: Walled City Kayak Tour

Start off this activity with a safety briefing at the pier next to San Sebastián de Pastelillo fortress. Head with your guide across the channel and enjoy in the stunning view of the clock tower as soon as you are in front of the Pegasus pier.  Enjoy the company of a professional bilingual guide who is very familiar with the coastline around Cartagena. On this 3 km ride, you will discover a different side of Cartagena that is unknown to most of the people.  Expand your knowledge about the history of the city as you pass by the main sights. Understand how the old city walls were important to keep invaders out of the city.  Pass by the Camellón de los Mártires, the convention center and cross the Román bridge into the San Lázaro lagoon. See the mangroves that are located along the only part of the wall over the sea.  Towards the end, you will reach Bird's island which is another mangrove inhabited by countless birds singing as the tour strolls along.

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Cartagena: Best Street Food with Local Chef

6. Cartagena: Best Street Food with Local Chef

Discover the relaxed spirit of Cartagena with a tour designed for you to taste caribbean cuisine. This tour will allow you to visit and experience places that are not featured on conventional guides. Meet your local guide at the iconic Clock Tower to begin your route of the best local eats, and key sights of the city. During the morning, visit 9 street food spots, usually unnoticed by foreigners but worshiped by locals. Try original recipes while seeing some of the most important sights of the historic center such as the Plaza de la Paz, Plaza de los Autos, and Proclamation Square. Meet and greet the guardians of local culinary treasure and take home their secrets and recipes. You'll have a small-group experience with no more than 10 people on the tour. Benefit from personalized insider tips about what to do next in Cartagena historic center after the tour has finished. This experience is a blend of mouth-watering cuisine and wonderful local people, get ready to share your stories and be part of the conversation.

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Cartagena: Private City Tour

7. Cartagena: Private City Tour

Make the most of this private tour to visit the principal sites of interest in the old city of Cartagena — all while traveling in comfort, on board a luxury air-conditioned vehicle. Starting in the downtown area, you will head to the Manga neighborhood, where you can appreciate the beautiful mansions built at the beginning if the 20th century. Continue on to the highest part of the city where there is a convent dating from the beginning of the 17th century. Visit the San Felipe de Barajas Fortress, considered the most important fortification in South America. From here, you will head to the walled city with a stop for some shopping. Following a little retail therapy, visit the different squares of the city and admire the old colonial houses. After a journey of historical discovery, fast forward to the present day and explore the modern part of Cartagena, including the Bohemian neighborhood of Gethsemani. This neighborhood is so authentically charming and on the cusp of commercial explosion. Immerse yourself in Spanish colonial architecture, dance halls, graffiti art, boutique hotels, food vendors and stunning public plazas.

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Cartagena City: 4-Hour Bus Tour

8. Cartagena City: 4-Hour Bus Tour

Begin your bus tour of Cartagena in the tourist area of Bocagrande and Laguito. Afterward, head over to a popular neighborhood near the castle, pass through the bay area, and arrive at the famous statue of the Old Shoes honoring the Colombian poet Luis Carlos Lopez. Visit the Castle of San Felipe, walk in the historic center, and see the cathedral and the Church of San Pedro Claver (the patron saint of slaves). Walk through the tropical fruit market and see Customs Square, where slaves were once auctioned.

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Cartagena: Walled City, San Felipe, La Popa Tour & Tastings

9. Cartagena: Walled City, San Felipe, La Popa Tour & Tastings

Whether you are short on time or you are wanting a complete Cartagena experience with no corners unturned, this private full-day tour is made so you can experience the city in the most complete way possible. Enjoy a local meal and visit sights such as San Felipe Castle and the Gold Museum. Start the day by meeting your local guide, who will pick you directly up from your hotel or address. Then, head first to the historic San Felipe Castle, the city’s old fortress built by Spaniards. Walk through the castle and let your guide bring back to life adventure stories of conquerors, treasures, and pirates, while you learn more about how Colombia became so mixed due to African, indigenous, and Spanish roots. Visit afterward the Walled City of Cartagena and stroll around the colonial and colorful houses as you get to know more about the main squares and bastions that traced the city’s path to independence. Visit Santo Domingo’s square and church and the Cathedral of Santa Catalina de Alejandría. After a traditional lunch recommended by your guide, you will be guided to the Zenú Gold Museum and the Palace of Inquisition, the first museum for ancestral indigenous legacy and the second old Court of the Holy Office. Feel traces of the Catholic and Spanish Empires' power over the territory. It wouldn’t be the perfect tour of Cartagena without tasting Colombia’s flavors, so you’ll have typical coconut sweets, fried arepa with egg, a traditional snack famous in the Caribbean Coast, and the raspao, a snow cone with a sugary, flavored syrup on top. If choosing the longer 8-hour tour option, you will finish your tour by going to the Convent of La Popa (Convent of the Stern), a viewpoint located at the top of a hill where the city, its sea, and one of its islands can be seen and photographed. Cartagena is not only the touristic capital of Colombia but one of the most memorable cities that holds Colombia’s history, making it a place for culture, tradition, and diversity, with many historic places and unique corners to discover.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Walled City of Cartagena

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What people are saying about Walled City of Cartagena

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 122 reviews

I really enjoyed this tour. It gave me a great overview of the city. The guide, Richard, is very experienced and has a wealth of knowledge about his beloved city. Additionally, being picked up and dropped off to and from the hotel is really convenient and reduces one's chances of getting lost in an unfamiliar place while looking for a meeting place. This is true value for money!

Really nice activity! We went around to places we wouldn't have thought of or wouldn't know how to get. It was nice that all the stops were arranged for us and all the tickets of each location was taken care of. We even got to skip the line to every place we visited because we were on this tour!

A great experience doing the walking tour with Walter. He was very knowledgable and friendly and shared the interesting history of Cartagena’s walled city. Recommended!

We thoroughly enjoyed our guide. He was interesting and translated durring our tour.

Walter was a good guide and knew the city very well. highly recommend this service