While cruise passengers are just beginning to discover this port, Cartagena has long been a popular tourist destination. The city offers a variety of things to do and see, from lovely beach resorts to a historic old town.
The fortified walls of the old town enclose a World Heritage site. There’s an inner ring divided into two districts, El Centro and San Diego; and an outer ring, called Getsemani. You may be tempted to linger in Getsemani to enjoy the cafes and shops, but you’ll want to continue into to the heart of the old town to experience the atmosphere of colonial Cartagena.
The Plaza de Bolivar is a lovely square filled with fountains and a statue of Simon de Bolivar, the leader who played a key role in liberating South America from the Spanish Empire. Explore the streets around the square to admire the colonial churches, palaces and homes. There are lots of cafes where you can sip fragrant Colombian coffee.
For an echo of the Spanish Inquisition, stop at the Palacio de la Inquisicion. In addition to the rather gruesome history of the inquisition in Cartagena, the museum presents art, a map collection and intricate dioramas of the city.
To enjoy the waterfront, visit the seaside districts of Castillo Grande, El Laguito and Bocagrande. Relax in a waterfront restaurant, or jump into the water to snorkel or scuba your way through Cartagena’s underwater attractions.
If you’d like to venture outside the city, a popular shore excursion is a motorboat ride to the Rosario Islands, which are a National Nature Park. The Isla del Sol has an aquarium full of tropical fish, sea turtles and sharks, as well as a dolphin show. After lunch, take a nap on the beach or snorkel around the coral reef.
To find cruise itineraries that include a stop in Cartagena, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holiday personal cruise expert.
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