| |

22 Exciting Things to Do in Cartagena Colombia in 2024

Welcome to Cartagena, Colombia! Located on the northern coast of the country, this UNESCO World Heritage site has gained worldwide popularity due to its colonial architecture, picturesque streets, colorful Palenqueras and their too-full fruit baskets, and abundance of salsa music. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or just a low-key beach bum, you’ll find no shortage of things to do in Cartagena, Colombia.

In April of 2024, I had the exciting opportunity to work remotely for three weeks in Cartagena. Although many of my days were spent behind a laptop screen, my evenings, weekends, and occasional days off were spent zooming around the Rosario Islands on speed boats, stuffing my face with Colombian street food, and dancing the nights away to salsa music. We went to every rooftop bar for sunset, made reservations at all the best restaurants, and scoped out every nightlife opportunity…so you don’t have to!

In this blog post, you’ll learn everything you need for an epic and fun-filled trip to Cartagena. Ready? Buy those tickets!

The Lazy Girl’s Cartagena Itinerary

Don’t have time to read the whole post? You’re busy—I get it! Browse my short-and-easy Cartagena itinerary below with hotel ideas for every budget and tons of exciting things to do in the city.

PSA: If you plan to take a day trip to Bora Bora Beach Club, be sure to book your tickets at least a week or two in advance! Better yet, book them right now to make sure you get your ideal date and package.



The Best Things to Do in Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia is a vibrant and culturally rich city with endless opportunities for every traveler—no matter your age, interests, or budget. From ancient history of the Spanish conquistadors to incredible views from the city’s best rooftop bars, you’re sure to find tons of exciting things to do on your next trip to Colombia.

1. Book an Old City & Getsemani Walking Tour

On week one of my 3-week Cartagena trip I booked a fantastic walking tour of the old city and Getsemani (a trendy neighborhood nearby and one of the best places to see in Cartagena). Our friendly tour guide had a knack for storytelling and offered tons of fascinating commentary as we strolled down the colorful streets covered in ivy and street art. We walked the city walls, saw baby monkeys and sloths in Parque Del Centenario, and learned about famous street murals in Getsemani—to name a few.

For just $11 on Viator, this tour was an absolute steal. You can find free walking tours around the city (the Selina Hostel offers a free tour), but those only cover the old city or Getsemani—not both.

One tip before you go—Cartagena can get extremely hot in the middle of the day, so be sure to dress appropriately. You’ll want to wear light, breathable clothing, comfortable walking shoes, and—if you decide on a skirt or dress—I highly recommend ordering this anti-chafing stick to make sure you stay comfy and heat rash-free all day long. Don’t forget to slather on the sunscreen, and consider adding a sun hat to your travel ensemble as well. Keep that skin looking young ladies!

Don’t forget to tip your tour guide at the end of the tour.

👉🏼 Book your walking tour to the Old City and Getsemani here!

Me next to a blue door and pink flowers on the streets of Cartagena.
Romper from Urban Outfitters.
Me next to a colorful blue and pink wall on a street covered with umbrellas in Getsemani.
Two-piece set from Urban Outfitters.

2. Take a Street Food Tour

One of my favorite things to do in a new city is taking a street food tour. We just took one last fall in Seville, and it was the highlight of our trip! This Cartagena street food tour was actually the first tour we booked in Cartagena—and it did not disappoint.

We started off the tour at Coctelería y Cevichería Erika, a street food stand selling Colombian ceviche in Cartagena for 50 years. It was actually named after the owner’s daughter, Erika, who sadly died when she was only 10 years old. The ceviche in Colombia is actually very different than ceviche around the rest of the Caribbean (like when I order it from the best restaurants in Roatan). This version is made with mayo, ketchup, and lemon juice mixed into a sauce on top of the seafood. Honestly, it wasn’t my favorite, but a lot of other people on the tour seemed to enjoy it.

We moved on to caucho from Palito de Caucho, tons of different local candy from Portal de los Dulces, authentic arepas from a street vendor in old town (my personal favorite), cheese bread from Pandebono, and many others! For only $42, this street food tour is definitely one of the best things to do in Cartagena, Colombia on your next trip. Be sure to show up with an empty stomach—it’s a ton of food.

👉🏼 Click here to book your Cartagena street food tour!

An arepa con huevo from Fritos la Mona that we tried on our street food tour—one of the best things to do in Cartagena.
Arepa con huevo from Fritos la Mona.
A tray of fresh caucho from Palito de Caucho on our street food tour.
Fresh caucho from Palito de Caucho.

3. Or Take a Cooking Class!

Cooking classes are another one of my favorite activities to do in a new destination. My Vietnamese cooking class in Hanoi ended up being my favorite day in the city!

Since we booked a food tour already, we decided to forego a cooking class in Cartagena. However, if you would prefer to learn how to make authentic Colombian food instead of just sampling a variety of it, then a Cartagena cooking class sounds like the perfect activity for you.

There are tons of highly-rated options on Viator, but if I were you, I would book this gourmet cooking class with a view. I had my eye on it in the whole trip in case we had extra time 👀

👉🏼 Click here to book your gourmet cooking class in Cartagena!

4. Rooftop Bar Hop

I looooove a good rooftop bar. Although my personal favorite is View on Art, which is one of the best Instagram spots in Florence, Italy isn’t the only country with a bangin’ rooftop bar scene. Cartagena had their fair share of fantastic rooftop bar views as well!

There are countless rooftop bars in Cartagena. Seriously, I think we could have gone to one every night of our 3-week trip and never had a repeat. However, below are my personal favorites—even if they are quite popular.

  • Townhouse Boutique Hotel & Rooftop (below—left)
  • Movich Hotel Rooftop (below—right)
  • Alquímico: ranked #9 on the list of the 50 best bars in the world.
  • Mirador Gastro Bar
  • 51 Skybar: I have conflicting emotions about this one. It’s a very high-end, swanky cocktail bar with great views…but it could have been 10x better than it is if they hadn’t designed it so stupidly. There is dusty glass covering the view from floor to ceiling and massive plants everywhere that obstruct your view even more.

(Clearly I have a go-to rooftop bar pose.)

Me posing on a green couch at the Townhouse Boutique Hotel Rooftop Bar.
Townhouse Rooftop Bar.
Me smiling at the Movich Hotel Rooftop Bar with gorgeous views of Cartagena in the background.
Movich Hotel Rooftop Bar.

5. Get Your Photo Taken with the Palenqueras

One of the best things to do in Cartagena, Colombia is to get your photos taken with the vibrant palenqueras. These women, dressed in colorful ruffles with handmade fruit baskets balanced on their heads, are descended from African slaves brought over during the Spanish rule. Their ancestors escaped slavery to create their own settlement of San Basilio de Palenque—where most of the palenqueras still live today.

The women used to walk into the city daily to sell fruit from the baskets balancing on their heads. Nowadays, with Cartagena being the most popular city in Colombia for tourism, these colorful ladies now hike into the city to pose for pictures with tourists. This experience is not just a fun photo op, but is also a great way to directly support the local economy, as the small fee you pay for a photo goes straight to the palenqueras. It’s a win-win: you get a fabulous and memorable shot, and they continue to sustain their livelihood.

We paid 50,000 COP per palenquera (around $12.50)—but there were three palenqueras and four girls in our group. I’m assuming this is a cost that you can haggle down, but if you’re going to try, be sure to negotiate before any photos are taken.

Me dancing with three palenqueras on the streets of Cartagena. Getting your photo taken with the palenqueras is absolutely one of the best things to do in Cartagena!

6. Take a Freedom Tour in Palenque

If you’re wondering what to do in Cartagena, then a freedom tour in Palenque has to be on your list.

Sadly, I didn’t take my own advice, and we didn’t have time to fit in a freedom tour before we left to eat seafood in Santa Marta and sail around Tayrona National Park on the Caribbean coast. It was difficult to coordinate daytime tours since I was working remotely for most of the trip….but I have many regrets about missing this particular experience.

From everything I’ve heard about the tours, they’re an eye-opening experience that dive deep into the rich history and culture of the first free African town in South America. You’ll be immersed in traditional music and dances and stories of resilience in the face of extreme hardship. They are usually sold as a full day trip with included transportation round trip from Cartagena. Lunch is also included in this top-rated Viator tour.

Trust me—this will be the first tour I book on my next trip to Colombia.

👉🏼 Click here to book your freedom tour in Palenque!

7. Have a Beach Day

Having moved to the Caribbean to live in Roatan, Honduras for a year—it’s clear that I understand the pleasures of a simple beach day.

If you agree, then you’ll be happy to know that a beach day is one of the best Cartagena things to do! Although Cartagena’s Bocagrande coastline is not the turquoise waters and white-sand beaches that you typically see in the Caribbean, the beaches are clean and the water is clear. Also, it’s hot as f***—so you have everything you need for the perfect beach day.

If you really want to beach-it-up the right way…pack an inflatable raft with cup holders and an insulated tumbler to keep your drink nice and cool while you float the day away.

Aerial views of the Bocagrande coastline.

8. Walk the Old City Walls

Walking the old city walls is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Cartagena on your next trip to Colombia.

Now, if you book the old city and Getsemani walking tour, your guide will take you up on the walls and give you some fun facts about this UNESCO World Heritage site. No need to make a second trip! However, if you decide to forego the walking tour, but sure to add a stroll along the walls to your bucket list.

The walls offer stunning views of the Caribbean Sea on one side, and the vibrant, colorful streets of Cartagena on the other. It’s also a fantastic place to watch a Colombian sunset…but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself 🤫

Aerial views of the Torre del Reloj and the old city.
Stunning aerial views of the old city at sunset.

9. Wake Up with Colombian Coffee

Colombian coffee is world-renowned for a reason. There’s nothing quite like waking up to the rich, aromatic smell of freshly brewed Colombian coffee beans…especially once you see the price tag.

One of the most popular spots for Colombian coffee in the walled city is Cafe La Manchuria— a spot we tried on our street food tour. They sell all different types of Colombian coffee and espresso drinks, but if you want to be super authentic and bit adventurous, then order a limonada de cafe. This refreshing, but a bit strange, Colombian drink consists of iced coffee and, you guessed it, lemonade.

Coffee bean dispensers mounted on the wall at Cafe La Manchuria. Experiencing the local coffee scene is undoubtably one of the bes things to do in Cartagena.
A glass of limonada de cafe from Cafe La Manchuria in old town Cartagena.

10. Get Your Drink on in a Chiva Party Bus

Weeks before my trip, I was already itching to get a taste of Colombian nightlife. I was already familiar with the bliss of dancing the night away to reggaeton at Roatan’s best beach bars…so I figured Cartagena would be a sort of Roatan-on-crack nightlife situation. I was kind of right.

If you want to experience the best of Cartagena’s nightlife, I highly recommend booking a ticket on one of the city’s many party buses. These are hollowed-out buses featuring insane sound systems, flashing lights, and, in some cases, stripper poles. To be honest, my first impression of them was giving The Purge vibes, but I quickly got over that once I saw how much fun everyone was having 😂. I recommend stopping at the liquor store to pick up some drinks before you board!

To book your party bus, head over to Avenida Calle 24 Real around 8:00 PM and I guarantee someone will walk up to you in 0.5 seconds and offer to sell you party bus tickets.

My friend and I in colorful dresses posing on the party bus while we cruise through the streets of Cartagena.
Pink body-con dress from Popilush.

11. Or Try Out the Nightlife the Old Fashioned Way

If going crazy on a party bus isn’t your jam, you can always try out the nightlife in Cartagena the old fashioned way!

We actually tried two different pub crawls on our trip to Cartagena…and both were unfortunately a bust. I would recommend starting out slow at one of the city’s rooftop bars and, once you have a nice buzz going, checking out the dance floor at one of the city’s best nightlife spots below. A few are in the old city, but most are actually in Getsemani! This neighborhood is poppin’ on the weekends especially.

A tasty cocktail from Alquimico. Be sure to add a visit to this bar to your list of things to do in Cartagena Colombia!
A custom cocktail from Alquimico—with the silly bartender posing in the background!

12. Eat at the Best Restaurants in Cartagena

If you’re wondering where to eat in Cartagena, trust me—you won’t have any issues finding delicious Colombian cuisine in this coastal city.

One of the best things to do in Cartagena, Colombia is to dive into its amazing culinary scene. Let me tell you, the food in this city is nothing short of spectacular. Cartagena has a great mix of authentic Colombian restaurants, international cuisine, and trendy fusion foods.

On the traditional side, you’ll find Afro-Caribbean flavors featuring fried fish, fresh seafood, slow cooked beef, and deep fried plantains. Colombian cuisine includes lots of ceviches, arroz con coco (a sweet coconut rice side dish that I could actually go without), and tons of local street food like arepas.

Although we mostly stuck with Colombian cuisine, we did try a few international and fusion options like Uma Cantina—a mix of Peruvian and Colombian food, and Ana—a mix of Asian and Caribbean cuisine. Try out the restaurants listed below for some of the tastiest local eats in the city!

A heaping plate of seafood from Uma Cantina in Cartagena’s old town.
Grilled octopus and potatoes from Doña Lola restaurant in Cartagena.

13. Go Salsa Dancing

If you’re wondering what is there to do in Cartagena…well the answer might just be salsa dancing.

Many of Cartagena’s best bars are filled with salsa music and you never have to look very far to find a busy dance floor. Even if you’ve never danced salsa before, don’t worry—you can take a salsa dancing class to get into the groove. It’s a fantastic way to learn the basics and feel more confident hitting the dance floor. Plus, it’s a great workout and a fun way to meet new people while soaking up the local culture in Colombia.

👉🏼 Click here to book your salsa dancing class and tour in Cartagena!

14. Go Shopping for Local Souvenirs

Going shopping for local souvenirs is on my personal list of Cartagena top things to do.

I decided recently that I’m done buying inexpensive, poor-quality souvenirs in bulk…only to throw them away six months later. I did this in Thailand, and lets just say the local Goodwill is getting a large shipment of elephant pants very soon.

In Cartagena, I decided to spend more money on one or two big souvenirs that were high-quality and locally-made. Thankfully, there are tons of unique, local designers in the area to choose from! I settled on a well-known swimwear brand called Agua Bendita which, although it’s made in Colombia, is actually very popular in the U.S.

I bought a stunning bikini and matching coverup robe for $185. Get this—the same exact items would have cost $540 at Saks Fifth Avenue. If you want to buy Aqua Bendita, Colombia is the place to do it!

Emeralds are probably the most popular souvenir to buy in Colombia, but to be honest with you, Cartagena is not the place to get them. You’ll find the most inflated emerald prices in the country in the walled city and Getsemani. If you want to do some serious emerald shopping, hit the emerald markets in Bogota and I’ll meet you there 😜

The inside of an Aqua Bendita store in Cartagena. Shopping for local souvenirs here is one of the best things to do in Cartagena.

15. Watch the Sunset from Cafe del Mar

Café del Mar is a famous bar and restaurant located on the old city walls facing the sea. Watching a sunset here tops the list of what to see in Cartagena! Every afternoon, both locals and tourists gather at Café del Mar to watch a stunning sunset over the Caribbean Sea with a local brew (or two).

I unfortunately had to sacrifice my evening at Café del Mar to bring you this drone footage of Café del Mar 😂, but I did scour the menu and everything is very reasonably priced—especially considering the location.

An aerial shot of Cafe Del Mar in Cartagena with Bocagrande in the background.

16. Or Book a Sunset Boat Cruise!

If you’re compiling your list of things to do in Cartagena, Colombia, then booking a sunset boat cruise absolutely needs to be on it. We booked an all-inclusive boat cruise on the Sibarita Master for $40/person, which was incredibly relaxing. It included an open bar, 90 minutes of sunset sailing, and a friendly crew (besides one cranky sailor who shooed us off the bow just as the sunset got really good).

However, I have to admit, I wish we had booked this sunset catamaran tour instead. While our boat was great, the catamaran looked a lot more comfortable and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a cat?

Keep in mind, although Cartagena can have some great sunsets, they’re not always guaranteed. Although if you’re on a boat in Colombia with an open bar… it’s hard to find anything to complain about, regardless of the sunset situation.

👉🏼 Click here to book your sunset catamaran tour!

Me smiling for the camera on our sunset boat tour.

17. Have an Affordable Spa Day

How many massages did I get in Cartagena? Hmm…it’s hard to keep track. I think four? Perhaps five? I couldn’t control myself—they were too cheap.

Now when I say cheap, I don’t mean Thailand cheap. You won’t find any 90 minute massages for $20 on the menu in Colombia. However, you can get a wonderful 60 minute massage for around $45-55 here—less than half what it would cost in the United States.

We especially loved Rosi Spa Medicinal for their lymphatic drainage massages—perfect for a vacation where you’re consistently wearing a bikini. Although to be honest, it’s hard to find a country that’s more body-positive than Colombia!

18. Fenix Beach Club on Isla de Tierra Bomba

Remember when I said that Cartagena’s beaches aren’t exactly Caribbean-level? Well Colombia has the perfect answer to that—they’re called beach clubs on nearby islands.

Isla de Tierra Bomba is a small island located only a 15-minute boat ride off of Cartagena’s coast. It’s a popular spot for tourists to book day passes at one of its many beach clubs and spend the day sipping tropical cocktails, relaxing in comfy day beds, and splashing away in the waves.

We decided to spend our Tierra Bomba beach day at Fenix Beach Club. For 290,000 COP (around $73) per person, we got round-trip transportation from Cartagena (Muelle Bodeguita pier), a beach bed, towels, access to pool and facilities, a welcome drink, lunch, and dessert. We paid a bit extra to sit in the front row near the water, but passes for the 2nd and 3rd rows only cost 220,000 COP each (around $55). You can book Fenix Beach Club passes directly on the website and I would recommend booking at least a week in advance because these clubs fill up very quickly.

The day beds at Fenix Beach Club on Isla de Tierra Bomba.

19. Bora Bora Beach Club

A day trip to Bora Bora Beach Club is definitely one of the most popular things to do in Cartagena, Colombia. Located in the Rosario Islands, this beach club is well known as one of the nicest beach clubs on the Colombian coast.

Now, while I agree that Bora Bora is nicer than many of the other beach clubs near Cartagena, I did think that it was overpriced for what you actually got. Day passes were $85/person and didn’t even include a beach towel or pool access. We had four girls (who paid $340 total for the day) and they tried to seat us on one day bed…which was only enough room for two people. We ended up having to pay extra to rent another day bed so we all could have enough room, when they should have just seated us in two day beds to begin with (everyone else around us was 2-to-a-bed). The beach itself also was not very nice—it was full of hard shells that were really painful to walk on.

The day pass did include a welcome drink and round-trip transportation from Cartagena (a 45-minute ride each way). Keep in mind that, if you’re prone to seasickness, the ride back to Cartagena might be difficult for you. I recommend packing dramamine just in case!

In the end, I’m glad I experienced it, but I wouldn’t spend my money going to Bora Bora Beach Club again. However, if you’re sure you want to go, be sure to book passes around two weeks in advance because it fills up very quickly. You can book on the website, or this Viator tour includes lunch and might be available longer than the tickets on their site.

Me smiling and holding a drink in our day bed at Bora Bora. A visit to this beach club is one of the best things to do in Cartagena.
An aerial shot of Bora Bora Beach Club outside of Cartagena.
The four of us girls sitting in our day bed and smiling for the camera at Bora Bora Beach Club.

20. Take a Full-Day Island Tour

For my friend’s birthday, we decided to book a full day island tour with the Tribu Project—a party boat operator in Cartagena.

We booked the Cholon Afrobeats and Reggaeton Boat party for $150/person + a $20 marina fee. The tour was six hours long and included stops on three islands, an open bar with champagne, and a beach club day pass at Mangata by Pietro. While we all had a fantastic time, we all agreed the tour was extremely overpriced for what it included. There was absolutely no food, and they only had tequila and champagne in the open bar—which, in my opinion, is not really enough options if your guests are paying $150/person. The boat captain was also an extremely reckless driver, and there were parts of the tour where guests were actually scared because we were moving so fast in rough seas.

While I absolutely think a full-day island tour should be on the list of the best things to do in Cartagena, I wouldn’t recommend booking through the Tribu Project unless money is of no concern and all you want to do is get completely fucked up. Next time I’m in Cartagena, I’ll be booking something a little more reasonably priced and not so crazy—like this Rosario Island tour with 5 stops.

👉🏼 Click here to book your Rosario Islands day trip!

Me leaning against a palm tree at the Mangata by Pietro beach club.
My friends smiling on a banana boat at Cholon Island during our island tour—which is one of the best things to do in Cartagena.

21. Visit Volcan Totumo

Volcan Totumo is not your average volcano—it’s more like a volcano mixed with a spa day. Located about an hour outside Cartagena, this quirky natural wonder is essentially a giant mud bath. Legend has it that a priest once sprinkled holy water on the lava, turning it into soothing, therapeutic mud. Visitors can dive right in, float effortlessly due to the mud’s density, and enjoy a unique spa experience. After your mud soak, local women are on hand by the lagoon to help you wash the mud off your skin and hair.

We actually decided to skip Volcan Totumo, since we were short on time and not keen on being covered in mud. But that’s not to say the photos didn’t look like a blast!

👉🏼 Click here to book your Volcan Totumo half-day trip with lunch!

22. Tour the San Felipe Castle

Last on the list of must-see attractions in Cartagena is a visit to the San Felipe Castle.

This fortress was built in the 16th century to protect the city from attacks by pirates and other enemies. Today, it stands as one of Cartagena’s most popular tourist attractions and offers a glimpse into the city’s history. Tour guides are available at the castle to provide interesting facts and stories about its past.

Tickets cost 33,000 COP (or $8.40) and the castle is open Monday–Sunday from 7:00–6:00 PM. I would highly suggest visiting in the early morning or evening before closing—that way you can enjoy the castle during the coolest part of the day.

No matter what time of day you visit, be sure to climb to the top of the fortress for stunning views of the city and ocean.

Where to Stay in Cartagena

Selina Hostels are always great. We stayed at the Selina during our long weekend trip to Porto last fall and, besides a poorly-timed broken router, we had a fantastic experience. During our trip to Cartagena, we decided to book a pub crawl through the Selina Hostel in Getsemani—so we hung out at the rooftop bar and pool area to have a couple cocktails while we waited for the rest of the group.

This is one seriously nice hostel. With both dorm beds and private rooms available, it’s the perfect place to stay in Cartagena on a budget.

👉🏼 Book your stay at Selina Cartagena here!

I stayed at the Armería Real Hotel on the outskirts of Getsemani during my last couple days in Cartagena. It’s a beautiful and quiet hotel, perfect for couples or solo travelers looking to relax during their vacation on a mid-tier budget.

There’s a rooftop bar and pool, a delicious breakfast buffet, and the rooms are comfortable and impeccably decorated. The location is also fantastic, it’s only a 5-minute walk to Plaza de la Trinidad.

👉🏼 Book your stay at the GHL Collection Armería Real Hotel here!

The courtyard of the Armería Real Hotel in Getsemani.

The Movich Hotel is not only the site of the city’s best rooftop bar, it’s also one of the most luxurious hotels in Cartagena. Along with craft cocktails, the rooftop bar lounge offers a guest-only swimming pool and incredible views of the old city and Bocagrande.

In addition to the restaurant on the roof, there is another restaurant located on the 1st floor—Oceanika Restaurant that serves Colombian fare and South American wines. Guests will enjoy the 24-hour reception, air conditioned rooms, included breakfast, and room service.

👉🏼 Book your stay at Movich Hotel Cartagena de Indias here!

Stunning views of Cartagena from the Movich Hotel in the old city.

Is Cartagena worth visiting?

Absolutely, Cartagena is worth visiting! Cartagena is a beautiful, vibrant city with a rich history and culture. It has something for everyone—stunning beaches, colorful architecture, delicious food, and plenty of activities to keep you entertained.

How many days should I spend in Cartagena?

I recommend spending 4-5 days in Cartagena to fully experience the city. This will give you enough time to explore the old town, take a day trip to the nearby islands, and learn about the fascinating history of Colombia’s Caribbean coast.

What is Cartagena best known for?

Cartagena is best known for its stunning old town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This area is filled with colorful colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, and charming plazas. It’s also known for its delicious seafood, vibrant nightlife, and beautiful beaches.

Is Cartagena safe?

While Cartagena is generally a safe city, it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions. Avoid walking alone at night, especially in isolated areas. Stick to well-lit and populated areas, and always use caution when withdrawing money from ATMs. As with any popular tourist destination, be wary of pickpockets and keep an eye on your belongings. Overall, I felt very safe in Cartagena as a woman traveling with other women.

Is there Uber in Cartagena?

Yes, there is Uber in Cartagena, and it’s actually incredibly affordable. We took Ubers everywhere during our trip—and only paid $2-3 per ride. If you’re staying in the old city or Getsemani, walking will mostly be your best form of transportation. However, if you’re staying further out in Bocagrande, Uber is a lifesaver for getting around the city. 

What is the best time of year to visit Cartagena?

The best time to visit Cartagena is during the dry season from December to March. However, keep in mind that this is also peak tourist season, so the city may be more crowded and prices may be higher. If you want to avoid the crowds, consider visiting in April or November. We visited in April and, although it was hot, it seemed like the perfect time of year to visit in regards to the crowds. It’s also always hot—there’s no escaping the Colombian heat.

What should I pack for Cartagena?

If you plan to do day trips to beach clubs and the Rosario Islands during your Cartagena trip, then I recommend packing like you’re going on a Caribbean vacation. Cross the items below off your Cartagena packing list:
Reef-safe sunscreen
Anti-chafing stick
—A comfortable sun hat (or a cute visor)
Flip flops or water-resistant shoes (like the Midform Infinity Tevas)
—Lots of swimsuits and cover ups
—Lightweight clothing like dresses, skirts, and shorts
—A packable rain coat
—A water-resistant travel backpack
Dramamine for sea sickness
—A portable phone charger

Do I need a voltage adapter for Colombia if I’m traveling from the U.S.?

Nope! No voltage adapter needed for U.S. travelers visiting Colombia. Colombia uses 110 volts, the United States uses 120 volts, and the plugs are the same shape, which means that your U.S. devices will be compatible. If you’re visiting Colombia from Europe, Australia, Asia, or Africa—you may need a voltage adapter.

Colorful street art hung on the streets of Getsemani.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it, folks! A slice of paradise full of history, charm, and endless things to do—Cartagena, Colombia should definitely be on your travel bucket list. Whether you’re losing yourself in the colorful streets of the old town, soaking up the sun on pristine beaches, or savoring mouthwatering seafood, this city has a magical vibe that will leave you wanting more—I know I did.

Remember, when planning your trip, think about what time of year suits you best. While the peak tourist season is buzzing with energy, visiting in the off-peak months like April or November can offer a more relaxed experience. Pack smart, stay safe, and most importantly, have a blast exploring all the things to do in Cartagena, Colombia. Trust me, from the unforgettable days boating around the Rosario Islands to the dance floors packed with locals dancing to salsa music—Cartagena is a destination you won’t soon forget.

I’m lucky enough to have family in Colombia, so I plan to be back fairly soon—this time to the jungles of Medellín! Stay connected to follow all my future adventures on Instagram @madisonsfootsteps and be sure to join my email list (enter your info below). If you enjoyed this guide to the best things to do in Cartagena, you may also enjoy the related posts below. Happy travels!

Pin this Post

Pinterest pin for the best things to do in Cartagena Colombia.
Pinterest pin for the best things to do in Cartagena Colombia.

Similar Posts