Colombia, rich in diversity, welcomes travelers enthusiastically throughout the year. Whether touring bustling cities like Medellín and Bogotá, immersing oneself in the serene coffee region of Quindío, conquering the majestic Andean mountains, or simply enjoying the beach, the country offers countless opportunities for adventurers. Both locals and international tourists always find something new and exciting in Colombia.
When seeking to escape the cold and bask in the warm winter sun, there’s a destination that fulfills all your desires: Cartagena. Nestled on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, this city hosts a variety of visual, auditory, and gastronomic experiences that will captivate your senses. Beyond its reputation as a beach destination, Cartagena also promises a rich experience in history, gastronomy, nightlife, and nature, providing a wide range of options during your visit.
Passionate about architecture and history? Exploring the UNESCO World Heritage fortresses and walls will transport you to bygone eras. Eager to taste Colombian cuisine? Indulge in the diverse offerings of award-winning restaurants throughout the city. Looking to add a bit of rhythm to your vacation? Rooftop bars and salsa clubs are perfect for that.
Discovering Cartagena Your Way
While Cartagena’s urban beaches may not top the list for sun lovers due to their darker waters, the Caribbean paradise is just a step away. The Barú Peninsula, accessible by bus or boat, offers sandy beaches and turquoise waters straight out of a postcard. Alternatively, for a more immersive experience, the Rosario Islands, a 45-minute boat ride from one of Cartagena’s main ports, feature crystal-clear waters and white sands perfect for relaxation. Additionally, with a wide range of hotels to choose from, you can extend your getaway with an extra night.
Concerning gastronomy, Cartagena boasts a thriving restaurant scene. Celele, ranked 19th on the 2022 list of the 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America, enhances traditional ingredients with a contemporary twist. On the other hand, Carmen merges innovation with Caribbean culinary traditions. And when it’s time for a cocktail, head to Alquímico, ranked 9th in the 2023 list of the world’s 50 best bars, spanning across three floors.
Then, there are Cartagena’s museums. On one hand, the Naval Museum vividly portrays the historical importance of Cartagena as a defense against invasions. On the other hand, the Gold Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the intricate and unique craftsmanship of the Zenú tribe. Finally, the Castillo de San Felipe stands as a monumental fortress and a reminder of the city’s resilience against numerous sieges and battles throughout history.
Planning Your Visit
If you’re looking to escape the cold for a warm climate, you’ll be pleased to know that the best time to visit Cartagena is between December and March. During these months, the weather is pleasant, with warm temperatures and fewer chances of rain to hinder your adventures. With an average temperature of 83 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, Cartagena provides a warm retreat during the winter cold.
As for getting to Cartagena, the city’s Rafael Núñez International Airport welcomes passengers from around the world, including direct flights from New York, Miami, Chicago, and Atlanta. In terms of budget, a round-trip ticket will cost you between $350 and $500 depending on your departure dates.
Fortunately, however, your dollars will go a long way once you land. With the current exchange rate set at around $1 USD to 4,200 COP, you can find nightly hotel stays for under $90 in four-star establishments. A meal for two at a mid-range restaurant will cost approximately $23, and custom cocktails at places like Alquímico can be found for around $9. Additionally, island shopping tours cost around $85.
Published by Cartagena Herald, a news and information agency.