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Cartagena, Colombia. City #2 on 2017’s Top 12 Must-Visit Cities


Feast your eyes on the Conquistador-led walled-city of Colombia.

Downtown Cartagena, Photo Courtesy of

Baroque and pre-Colombian, Conquistador-ean architecture awaits the eyes of many to feast themselves on in Cartagena, Colombia. History and much beauty lies within the little streets of Colombia’s fifth-largest city.

Complete with shops, restaurants with world-renowned chefs, fashion outlets for those fashion-forward fiends, and museums tucked away in the most architecturally astounding of edifices, there is much to see in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Only an hour away from the capital of Colombia, Bogota, Cartagena has a lot of significant 16th-18th century history for oneto get lost in.

Let’s discover what the history of Cartagena and their amazing architecture has to offer:

San Felipe Castle

san felipe cartagena
San Felipe Castle at night.

Ordered to be constructed in the 17th century by the governor of Cartagena, the San Felipe Castle would become the city’s primary fortification against foreign attacks.

Don Pedro Zapata was ordered to construct this eye-catching beauty of a monument, which wasn’t completed until 1769, after a string of attacks to the structure.

Housing 8 cannons and a barrack for 20 soldier, the San Felipe Castle is a sight-to-see, preferably early mornings or late night during the setting of the sun to avoid overbearing heat and sun.

Make sure to visit this beautiful architecture, experience captivating views of Cartagena, and get a chance to learn more about the colonial history of the city.

There are also audio tours available for just $3USD in multiple languages!

Palacio De La Inquisicion


Want to learn about the dark history of Colombia? Here, you will find one of the largest courtyards in Cartagena, where prisoners would wait to be tortured.

Constructed in the 18th century, its impressive Baroque and Colombian architecture is a must-see for anyone coming through the area.

Housing the Holy Office, where a torture room and guillotine lives from the darkest periods of Colombia

To learn more about the museum, visiting hours, and ticket prices, check out their website.

The Zenu Gold Museum

museo zenu cartagena

The Conquistadores attempt at plundering all of the gold from the Zenu indigenous tribes during the 16th-century was not completely successful, luckily.

Over a period of 2,000 years, between the Magdalena and Sinu rivers, this amazing tribe of people sported incredible metallurgical and ceramic skills, and you have a chance to see their craftsmanship with your very own eyes at the Zenu Gold Museum.

To check out the location of the museum, hours, and ticket pricing, go here.

The Clock Tower

el reloj cartagena

Once the main gateway to the walled city,“La Torre del Reloj” was the most famous landmark in Cartagena.

Constructed in 1601, the clock became the main doorway to the city once fortifications were complete in 1631.

Originally built with a weapons room and a chapel, a pendulum clock took its place in 1874.

To learn more about the history of this captivating clock tower, head here.

Las Bovedas

cartagena las bovedas

Originally used by military to store munitions in the 18th century, these “vaults” have been transformed into cute little shops.

Las Bovedas is the place to grab your Colombia souvenirs and memorandums.

Complete with 47 arches, and 23 domes, Las Bovedas is a must-see.

Built with parts of the Old City walls; it was the last major Architecture of Cartagena.

bandeja paisa

Click here for a list of the top food and drink spots within Cartagena.

cartagena carnaval

For day trips and activities in Cartagena, check out these offers.

Book your trip to Cartagena on Expedia now! Click here.

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Check out our other post: “Taking your First International Trip: 5 Steps To Getting the F Outta Your Bubble”.