Colombia’s most popular destination was founded in 1533 by Spanish Conquistador Don Pedro de Heredia as “Cartagena de Indias”. This beautiful colonial city rapidly became the gem of the Spanish Crown’s territories and, to protect it from continuous attacks by pirates, the largest wall fortress in America was built around it.
Cartagena hides Colonial, Republican and Italian architectural treasures in its residential, commercial, religious, military and governmental constructions.
Cartagena de Indias was declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site because of its colonial walled city; and just walking through to its cozy narrow streets is enough to understand why. It is divided into three sightseeing zones: the Historic Centre with Clock Gate, Carriage Square, San Peter Square, Palace of the Inquisition, The Cathedral, dating back to the 16th century, Santo Domingo Square, the Heredia Theatre and masterpiece San Felipe de Barajas Castle, built between 1639 and 1762 which is the greatest fortress ever built by the Spanish. The San Diego zone, with its enchanting Hotel Santa Clara, formerly Convent of the Saint Claire Order and Las Bóvedas [Dangeons] by the Santa Catalina Fortress and Getsemaní; the zone used to be a slave neighborhood and now hosts Cartagena’s Convention Center and popular nightlife clubs like ‘La Carbonera’ and Mr. Babilla. The real joy of Cartagena is exploring its exhilarating narrow streets by foot or on a horse-carriage, an experience that awakens all senses with the flavors and warm breeze of its sunset, making it an incredibly romantic destination and the most fascinating Caribbean hidden treasure.