Cartagena de Indias, the name alone invites you to travel! A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city cradled by the sublime waters of the Caribbean Sea is a true jewel that has been able to pass through the centuries to refine its charm and attract travelers in search of culture, a change of scenery and the good life. Founded in 1533, the city was a stronghold of the Spanish kingdom in South America, the scene of economic and political activities and a maritime industry of the utmost importance thanks to its port which relayed the West Indies route.
Today, the fortifications and the old walled city are the main attraction of Cartagena, which also provides many cultural activities. Latin Exclusive offers a wide range of luxury rental houses and flats, a perfect base for a peaceful stay. Latin Exclusive takes you for 48 hours to this fantastic city. Discover our good addresses, we have concocted a program mixing culture, nature, gastronomy and emotions!
By morning the sun is beating down hard and it's a good idea to take a hat and sun cream before going out to enjoy what the city has to offer. Don't worry, there is no danger, you are safe here. Cartagena's colonial feel has lost none of its charm, quite the opposite in fact, and wandering through the narrow streets of the walled old town is a delight at any time of day. If you are staying in the old town, a visit to the Epoca Espresso Bar on Carrera 5 is a must for a real Colombian coffee.
The colors of the walls and facades of the houses are vibrant, inviting you to take photos at every corner. From Carrera 5, continue to the Santa Catalina Cathedral, an architectural gem. Then head to the beautiful Plaza Bolivar. Take the opportunity to visit the Palace of the Inquisition (dating from the 18th century), the Historical Museum of Cartagena, which traces the history of the Inquisition Tribunal and the different historical stages the city has gone through, as well as the construction of Colombian society. Then take Calle de la Inquisición to Calle 34 towards Plaza Santo Domingo, passing the beautiful Hotel Pestagua, the perfect place to have lunch at the Amadeus restaurant.
After lunch, continue to Plaza Santo Domingo, to discover two works of striking contrast: the church of Santo Domingo, one of the oldest in the city, and in front of its neoclassical entrance door, a large sculpture by the Colombian artist Botero, in complete contrast to the sacred place. From here, continue to the Teatro Heredia, which you will enter to discover this place of culture and refresh yourself. From here you can walk to the house of Gabriel Garciá Marquez, the famous Colombian Nobel Prize winner for literature who loved Cartagena so much.
Next, we head for the Castillo de San Felipe, an imposing military fortress that overlooks the entire city. The labyrinths hidden in the construction will amuse young and old alike! The visit is perfect in the late afternoon, when the sun is milder. Enjoy the Golden Hour and the magnificent sunset over the city plunging into the Caribbean.
Ready to go out for dinner? Our recommendation is the wonderful Celele restaurant, a nationally renowned address offering a colorful combination of Colombian dishes. This will give you the opportunity to discover the trendy Getsemani neighborhood. An unforgettable experience in this temple of gastronomy, one of the 50 best in South America. If you feel like it and have the energy, continue your evening at the mythical Bar Alquímico, on Cartagena's most popular roof top! Its chef's cocktails are reputed to be among the best in the country!
If you want to escape for a day at sea, you can take a boat to the Barú Peninsula or the Rosario Islands to enjoy the turquoise sea and white sand beaches. A lazy day soaking up the sun and eating seafood. Return in the late afternoon to enjoy the sunset and a lively evening.
If you prefer to enjoy the charm of Cartagena, start with the brunch at the Hotel Santa Clara, which will open the doors to a mythical place in the old town. Take the opportunity to stroll through the surrounding streets, from Carrera 8 to Parque Fernandez Madrid, to reach the Plaza de los Coches, so well described in Gabriel García Marquez' stories. Take the opportunity to taste the fruit juices sold by the many local vendors and discover the famous clock monument. Then head to the church and cloister of San Pedro Claver to discover its mission as a man and the attached museum of sacred art. Strolling through the streets of this old city with its colonial look, visiting the many shops, everything is an excuse to indulge in the sweetness of Cartagena. Soon, the streets come alive, the dresses are out, it's now time for the sunset! We head for the Café Del Mar, to enjoy the incredible view of the Caribbean Sea, with a mojito in hand. Perched along the wall, you will be in the best place to contemplate the beauty of the sea in which the sun is slowly dipping...
To round off the day, Latin Exclusive recommends the Mar y Zielo restaurant, a local reference whose chef is renowned for his dishes made with local products. The atmosphere is peaceful, the place calls for relaxation and the discovery of local dishes, all in a charming tropical setting. At night, a gentle breeze rises to refresh the city walls burning under the hot sun during the day...what better way to end the day than on a terrace? Go to the Plaza San Diego to sit in one of the bars, listen to music, smoke a good cigar and drink a last cocktail among the locals!