Founded and named in 1533, Cartagena has a wonderful mix of colonial history, sights to see, and wonderful attractions making Cartagena is a wonderful place for a day trip! There is much to do and this place is a wonderful Zen to relax, drink some great coffee, and enjoy life as the people in Cartagena do.

How to non-rev to Cartagena

Cartagena has one major airport (CTG) which is by far the easiest way to enter Cartagena. It’s also right next to the water making it a beautiful descent and landing into the city! This city is actually well known for a large cruise destination and sees many passengers through cruises. Most likely the easiest way into Cartagena would be a connection in the United States or in Bogota. If it’s your first time, check out this guide on how to use the StaffTraveler app and be a non-rev pro today!

Bogota Avianca, LATAM, Wingo & Viva Airlines
Bucaramanga Avianca & Easyfly
Cali Avianca, LATAM & Wingo
Fort Lauderdale JetBlue Airways & Spirit Airlines
Lima Latam & Viva Airlines
Medellin Avianca, LATAM & Viva Airlines
Mexico City InterJet
Miami American Airlines & Avianca
Monteria Easyfly
New York JetBlue Airways
Orlando Spirit Airlines
Panama City COPA

When should I go to Cartagena?

Cartagena is a great place to visit at any time during the year. This city has a dry season during the summer and a wet season during the winter peaking in October. Despite this, the city is almost always about 28 C (83 F) all year round. This makes enjoying the beautiful sights so much nicer! The beaches in this city are on the Caribbean and the water stays a very pleasant 29 C (84 F) all year round as well making a visit to Cartagena equally attractive all year round!

Getting Around Cartagena

By far the easiest way to get around Cartagena is by Taxi. The only recommendation I have on that front is to ensure that you’re in a yellow taxi and the meter is on! Thankfully, the cost of a taxi in Cartagena is considerably cheaper than in Europe or the United States making getting around very affordable!

Where to stay in Cartagena

Here there are a wide array of affordable options but I’m listing some of my favorites!

If Airbnb isn’t your thing there are many hotels in the area that have great reputations! For a staff traveler, I recommend the InterContinental Cartagena De Indias. This is a traditional hotel that has many ammenities and is located right in the center of the historic center.

You may want to upgrade to get a room with a great view of the Caribbean!

So where do I start?

We’ve only got 24 hours! Let’s get to getting around this city! First thing is first, we need to head over to your hotel or Airbnb and lets go!

Once you’re all ready to go head to a cafe! Colombia is famous for its coffee and you’ll be able to find a nice cup of coffee anywhere in the city!

Are you looking for a quiet place to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee? Maybe you should head to Abaco Libros y Café. This cafe is stacked from the floor to ceiling with books and serves some of the best coffee in the city!

Another great option is Juan Valdez Café, and yes the same famous one! This chain is famous in the area for serving up great coffee and delicious desserts. They’re also famous in the area for having beautiful decor and are on a mission to promote Colombian coffee around the world!

There are many places in the historic section of the city to grab a cup of coffee (and maybe a pastry…) and that makes a perfect launching point for touring the old city!

So, by now you must have seen some of the historic districts! Surrounded by beautiful water on all sides and beautiful architecture with colors all around. At this point, you must be motivated to explore the city and this is a perfect time to do so! The first thing to do is to make your way into the Walled City (or La Ciudad Amurallada). This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is among the most beautiful areas of the city. In this area bars, shops, restaurants, and merchants line the streets surrounded by more colorful buildings, flora, and statues. From there making your way to Plaza Aduana would make for an unforgettable morning filled with historical statues. Or even head to Plaza Bolivar where people frequently gather to perform dances! You can’t go wrong walking around and exploring what the area has to offer during your visit!

For lunch, there’s only one option, Arepas. Arepas are a very traditional South American staple and Colombians’ make the best ones! Nearby there’s a restaurant called Quero Arepa. I’d recommend getting a carne arepa and get ready for another coffee afterward!

Now we should be full of food, caffeine, and wanderlust. The next big thing to do is the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas. This attraction alone is one major reason people come to Cartagena. This fort was initially constructed in 1536 and has been standing ever since. It’s among the largest and most impressive forts that colonial Spain has ever built. This fort has played a vital role in many wars and battles and stands as a great historical monument.

In addition to its impressive history, this fort is huge! This is a great place to be to learn the history of the fortress and see some of the weaponry used. This castle is a good case to take an audio tour and learn all about the colonial era!

Additionally, there are the tunnels. Underneath the fortress lie an intreque series of connected tunnels that are constructed in a way that sound would travel all across the tunnels. If you’re able to brave the dark, it’s worth the walk through!

The castle is a great sight to see but also exhausting. Personally, I’d prefer a trip back to the Walled City and spending some time shopping and looking at some of the local boutique stores.

Depending on the time left in the day, heading to the beach as the sun sets and enjoy a mixed drink or two there is a great way to relax and spend some time in the city. There are many shaded spots, chairs, and cabanas for rent to lay down and watch the sun go down.

Once the sun goes down, the city comes back to life! Among the most interesting things are the horse-drawn carriages. Before dancing salsa and heading to a club, there are a plethora of delicious restaurants to explore. On my trip, I’ve had dinner at El Arsenal: The Rom Box and would say that it was an amazing experience. The food was amazing but the setting is an intimate setting that emphasizes that eating is an experience to be shared! A quick dinner here will go a long way!

Depending on how much energy you have left, there’s still some dancing! Cartagena is a great place to pratice your salsa dancing! On the road Carrera 7 there are a great number of dance clubs. Just walking by will give you all the information you need to know which dance club you want to go to!

Heading Back

Hopefully the loads are in your favor! Cartagena isn’t a difficult airport to get through although it isn’t as busy as many other airports around the world. You may want to be there as early as possible and try to secure your seat! If you need loads don’t be afraid to request some on the StaffTraveler app!

Colombia is a country of endless natural and cultural beauty and Cartagena is a great gateway to the rest of the country! Check out the StaffTraveler app today and see your loads to your Colombian getaway!

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