15 Best Things To Do In Cartagena Colombia

The Ultimate Guide

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15 Best Things To Do In Cartagena Colombia

Cartagena is one of the most popular destinations in Colombia and with good reason, as this is one of the most exciting cities in the entire country.

Boasting oodles of awesome things to do, the city of Cartagena Colombia is a place where you will be hard-pressed to find a single moment of boredom.

With delicious eateries located on every corner, stunning Instagrammable architecture scattered around the city, a vibrant nightlife scene that will always leave you hungry for more and beautiful tropical islands just a short boat ride away…

Cartagena is just one of those places that you will effortlessly fall head over heels in love with the very moment you arrive.

Although finding what to do in Cartagena should never be an issue, continue reading our Ultimate Guide on the 15 Best Things To Do In Cartagena Colombia to make sure you don’t miss a single chance to cross everything off your bucket list.


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Explore The Old City

The Old City of Cartagena is in my opinion, one of the most beautiful places in all of Colombia.

This timeless maze is brimming with distinctive architecture, historic churches, delicious eateries, and thrilling nightlife.

As you walk down the cobblestone streets and take in all the beauty that the Old Town has to offer, it is not hard to understand why this is one of the best things to do in Cartagena.

Pro Tip
The Old City is one of the best places to stay in Cartagena and I highly recommend staying in this part of the city during your visit.

Related Blog | Where To Stay In Cartagena Colombia (The Certified Guide)

Pink Sea

best things to do in cartagaena colombia

Photo By| @sandraaristizabal23

Located about an hour north of Cartagena is El Salar de Galerazamba (aka The Pink Sea.)

The sea is, in fact, a salt mine and the bright pinkish color can only be seen during the months of February and March when the water level is at its lowest.

As a result of the low water level, the concentration of salt eating microbes is at its highest, therefore turning the water this interesting pinkish color.

This is one of the most unique things to do in Cartagena, so there’s no tour bus to take you.

You might have to take a taxi in order to reach this place.

Party At Media Luna

Searching for some of the best nightlife in Cartagena Colombia?

If you happen to be here on a Wednesday night be sure to check out the Media Luna Hostel Party in order to satisfy all of your late-night party cravings.

Located in the Getsemani district of Cartagena, every Wednesday night Media Luna hosts one of the biggest parties of the week.

Embellished with their very own nightclub on the second and third floor of their hostel, this weekly event has without a doubt become a staple throughout the city as one of the best things to do in Cartagena at night.

Click Here To Check Prices At Hostelworld.com

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

what to do in cartagena colombia

Located just a short 15-minute walk outside of the neighborhood of Getsemani, Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas is a can’t miss historic attraction of Cartagena.

This castle was constructed as a way to fortify the high ground to better help defend Cartagena from the looming event of another attack.

The castle is open Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m to 6 p.m and only costs 25,000 COP which is approximately $8 USD.

Islas del Rosario

Contributing a nice contrast to the historic city of Cartagena, Islas del Rosario (Rosario Islands) offers travelers the perfect tropical island getaway.

Lust-worthy white sand beach and stunning turquoise blue waters make this one of the best things to do in Cartagena.

Interestingly enough, most travelers are unaware that The Rosario Islands are in fact one of Colombia’s most important and protected National Parks.

Therefore, allowing visitors to experience this unspoiled Colombian tropical paradise in its raw and natural state.

The average day trip to Islas de Rosario does cost around 200,000 COP which is equivalent to approximately $60 USD.

Playa Blanca


As the most popular attraction in Cartagena, Playa Blanca will be a name you will hear quite early and often.

With a name that literally translates to “White Beach” and all the flawless photos of Playa Blanca advertised throughout Cartagena, it’s not hard to understand why.

The very second you arrive in Cartagena, you will be bombarded with offers and deals from various people offering to bring you to Playa Blanca, so chances are you will end up here at one point or another.

However, do temper expectations a bit, because while Playa Blanca is indeed a beautiful beach, its sheer overpopulation does drastically take away from all its charm.

If you want to learn the best time and way to experience Playa Blanca then be sure to CLICK HERE to read our full guide. 

Grab Drinks at Café del Mar for Sunset

cafe del mar cartagena

This Cartagena classic is an absolute must for anyone visiting the city.

While the drinks and food prices here are definitely not considered cheap, this the perfect place to enjoy the ending to a perfect day in Cartagena.

Convento De La Popa

what to do in cartagena colombia

Nestled on top of the highest peak in the city, this 17th-century monastery is one of the most awesome things to do in Cartagena.

Bestowing the most spectacular views of Cartagena, Convento De La Popa is a bucket list attraction that you will definitely not want to miss out on.

Café Havana

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As the self-declared king of Salsa, Café Havana is the most famous Salsa Bar in all of Cartagena.

Located on the street corner down the block from Cartagena’s most famous hostel Media Luna, in the Getsemani district of Cartagena, this is bar is open on Wednesdays until Saturdays until 3 a.m.

The lively atmosphere, world-class musicians and some of the best live salsa music in the country easily make this one of the top things to do in Cartagena.

Walk the City Walls

In the past, the city of Cartagena was invaded on countless occasions for its vast assortment of treasures.

This then forced the Spanish crown to construct these massive stone walls as a way to fortify the city against impending invasions.

The Cartagena walls span for about 7 miles around the Old City and are considered one of the most awesome things to do in Cartagena.

Street Art Tour in Getsemani

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Hands down one of the top things to do in Cartagena is to explore all the awe-inspiring street art in the vivacious neighborhood of Getsemani.

Scattered throughout the area, travelers will find beautiful illustrations around almost every turn with each painting being more impressive than the last.

Although it was once considered to be one of the more dangerous parts of Cartagena, Getsemani has since been transformed into tourist hub known for its culture and lively atmosphere.

Related Blog | The Most Amazing Things To Do in Getsemani Cartagena

Chiva Party Bus

If you are really hungry for a party then jump aboard the Chiva Party Bus as ride and dance around Cartagena in style.

The Chiva party tour is one of the most exciting things to do in Cartagena at night and is an excellent way to get formally introduced to just how wild nightlife in Colombia can get.

The night Chiva costs around $32 USD in the high season and includes Rum and Coke, live music on board, plus entrance into a nightclub at the very end.


bocagrande beach

While the ancient walled neighborhood of Cartagena provides more of a classic and relaxed vibe, Bocagrande on the other side offers a more upscale downtown Miami style atmosphere, catering more to those looking to walk on the side of luxury.

Stuffed with high-rise resorts, top-end casino’s and flashy nightclubs, Bocagrande is a spitting image of everything Bocagrande is not.

Therefore, for anyone searching for a more upbeat and luxurious atmosphere, Bocagrande will feel right at home for you.

Snag a Photo with the Palenqueras (Fruit Basket Ladies)

Did you even visit Cartagena if you didn’t snap a photo with the famous Fruit Basket Ladies?

The Palenqueras have become a symbol of Cartagena that is practically featured on every Colombian postcard and souvenir.

On almost every other street corner in the Old Town, don’t worry about trying to find them because the Palenqueras are bound to find you.

Pro Tip
Just make sure you have some spare change on hand because after the photo they will be expecting a tip.

Party At Eivissa Nightclub

As the most popular nightclub in the city, every single night you party at Eivissa is guaranteed to be an experience.

This rooftop club is always jam-packed with party animals looking to get a little wild.

Playing a heavy mix of Reggaetón, Hip-Hop, and EDM, this is a savior for anyone looking to escape the heavy Salsa vibes of Colombia.

At Eivissa you’re guaranteed an awesome view, excellent music along with the perfect mix of both tourists and locals all dedicated to living in the moment, inevitably resulting in an avalanche of wild behavior.

Casa En El Agua (Bonus!)

casa en el agua

I dare you to name a hostel that is more awesome than this one!

Casa En El Agua, which literally translates to ‘house on the water’ is guaranteed to be one of the most memorable hostels you have ever stayed at.

Located in the middle of the San Bernardo Islands just about 2-hours by boat from Cartagena, this is the very embodiment of a bucket list experience.

However, if you plan on crossing this one off your list, then be sure to reserve your spot ahead of time because it is almost a surety that it will sell out. 

Although not technically located in the city, the Cartagena port is where you catch the speedboat from in order to reach Casa En El Agua and the San Bernardo Islands.

The hostel has a set weight limit on how much baggage you can bring with you, so be sure to only take what you need and leave the rest in storage of your previous hostel.

Related Blog | Casa En El Agua Colombia {The Party Hostel In The Middle Of The Ocean}

Where To Stay In Cartagena

Please be aware that some of the links in this blog contain affiliate links and at NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU, Wild & Away earns a small commission if you decide to make a purchase/reservation.  The commission made from each affiliate link helps to support this website. Please understand that I have experience with all of these booking companies, and I only recommend certain accommodation if I find they will be useful to you. Thank You!

Media Luna Hostel

media luna hostel cartagena

If you’re looking for a social atmosphere where you can meet other like-minded travelers, look no further and book your accommodation at Media Luna Hostel.

Click Here To Check Prices On Hostelworld.com

Republica Hostel

This little gem of a find offers a fun, relaxed and above all welcoming stay in one of Cartagena’s best hostels.

Click Here To Check Prices On Hostelworld.com


Click Here To Read Our Full Guide On Where To Stay in Cartagena

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