Why Visit Cartagena, Colombia (Even If You Live by the Water) Uncover Colombia
Why to visit Cartagena, Colombia


June 18, 2024, 9:21 am

If you’ve been to Cartagena, you get it. If you haven’t, let me explain why you should make Colombia’s magical coastal city part of your trip, even if you live near the water or have taken a recent vacation to the beach:  

Different Beach Vibes

Beaches give off different vibes and in all my beach-going years, I have never encountered a place like where the sea meets the sand in Cartagena. The whole beach area had a celebratory feel, even though it wasn’t a holiday. Families played intense games of soccer in the sand and Vallenato music seemed to follow me wherever I went. Vendors weaved between towels, offering a variety of delicious food like juicy mangos, refreshing coconut water and plantain chips.

Day Trip Possibilities

I love my home state, but the beaches of Florida don’t have anything on the crystal-blue water of Islas del Rosario. The chain of island sits about 45 minutes away from Cartagena by boat. The group of more than a dozen picturesque islands is one of many National Natural Parks in Colombia. It’s no secret why these islands are protected, their soft white sand and immaculate water makes them a must-see destination. Plus, a day tour to Islas del Rosario means you can enjoy the beach while the sun is out, then return to Cartagena that afternoon or evening and continue to explore (or dance the night away in a Salsa club).  You can also visit la Boquilla and learn more about the mangroves and the local community.

Surrounding Architecture  

Before you spread your towel out on one of Cartegena’s beaches, chances are you passed some magnificent architecture before hitting the sand. Entering the walled city of Cartagena makes it seem like you just walked into a romantic movie. Colonial architecture line cobbled streets and beautiful cathedral-style churches loom overheard. Vibrant flowers lace around buildings, adding touches of beauty to an already lovely scene.

If you’ve been out in the sun too long, leave the beach for a while and take in the unique beauty of Cartagena’s walled city while eating ice cream or slurping on one of many fresh Colombian fruit juices.   

The People

Colombians are known for being friendly, but Colombians from the coast (known as Costeños) are said to be the friendliest of them all. Of course, I don’t want to lump a whole group of people together, but I think there’s a reason why Costeños get a warm reputation. While visiting Cartagena, locals went out of their way to help me when I was lost and were chatty in taxis, hostels and restaurants. Even though Cartagena is a popular destination in Colombia, the locals I came across in Cartagena made me feel welcome, not just like another tourist.  

If you want to work on your tan and smell the saltwater during your next vacation, consider taking a tour of Cartagena. Even people who have been blessed to live close to the beach will find this Colombian city fascinating.   

Share with your traveller friends!

Anneliese Delgado

Anneliese Delgado

Anneliese Delgado is an American digital marketer and writer living in Bogotá, Colombia. Her mother is from the United States and her father is from Venezuela, giving her the unique opportunity to blend in on the streets of Colombia, while still viewing the country with the eyes of an outsider. When she’s not writing or traveling, she’s playing soccer, wandering around stores with no intention of buying anything and binge-watching Netflix.

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