Cartagena has been described as a fairy-tale city of romance; tropical sea breezes whistle through the cracks of massive fortifications as travelers and street musicians alike stroll through a maze of cobblestone alleys. Spanish built city walls protect a World Heritage listed old town, where a parade of horse drawn carriages, spectacular cathedrals, and lush greenery cascading from balconies over leafy plazas reveals a faded colonial grandeur.
Fashionable locals dine in the city’s many open air cafes, white sand beaches with crystal clear waters lie just beyond the city’s colourful colonial architecture, and once the sun goes down, the city pulsates with an intense night-life full of salsa, live music, and “soulful Colombian culture”.
While there are so many great reasons to visit Cartagena, here are our top 5…and, after you’re inspired, scroll to the bottom of this post to find out how you can win a trip for two to this amazing Caribbean hot spot!
#1 The Monuments & History
Cartagena boasts monuments & fortified buildings at every turn – enough to satisfy the cravings of even the most extreme history buffs. A short stroll through the city’s historic walled district leads to sober, ancient monasteries, colonial churches, magnificent cathedrals, and towering fortifications. The historical city center dates back to 1533 and is easily walkable. With beautifully restored colonial architecture, squares, monuments & plazas, the old city is more of a captivating open-air museum.
Leaving the old city, travelers will find the massive Castillo de San Felipe; 17th & 18th century Spanish fortress which features a maze of hidden tunnels that you can explore with or without a guide, and climb to the top for stunning views of the sea.
# 2 The Romance
Long walks along the white sand of tropical Caribbean beaches. Strolls along cobblestone alleyways as street musicians serenade you while exploring lovingly restored medieval streets. Horse drawn taxi’s passing by colourful, charming colonial buildings and magnificent cathedrals. Sunset cocktails and sexy salsa. Cartagena absolutely reeks of romance!!
Plan to visit one of the city’s stunning cathedrals at sunset; not only are the photo opportunities amazing, you may even be able to crash a wedding!
#3 The Food
Eating out in Cartagena is a reason to visit Colombia in it’s own right! Open air cafes and trendy restaurants are spotted all over the city, blending new and extoic flavors and ingredients from the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and even Asia. Scrumptious street food is available at almost every hour of the day, and from breakfast to dessert, the streets are full of carreta’s selling everything from strong Colombian coffee to sweet sesame snacks and exotic fruit.
A city mostly surrounded by water, Cartagena’s freshly caught seafood & mouthwatering shrimp is something you will write home about, and the Ceviche is to die for.
#4 The Islands & Beach
Tropical Caribbean islands await! Relax in hammocks with a delicious cocktail in one hand and book in the other, soaking up the warm Caribbean sun while relaxing on one of Colombia’s finest white sand beaches.
Islas des Rosario is a beautiful archipelago of 27 tiny islands – a mid-morning scuba dive or snorkel session followed by freshly caught seafood and a browse through colorful jewelry might be just what the travel doctor ordered.
Plan for a few day trips to explore this whole area!
#5 It Could be FREE!
LAN Airlines is currently offering US Residents the opportunity to win a trip for two people to Cartagena! Both you and a guest will be flown from any city in the US to Cartagena, where you’ll explore this charming, colonial city. Includes a three-night stay at Casa San Agustin, a small, charming hotel lovingly restored and located within Cartagena’s walled Old Town.
• Round-trip tickets on LAN Airlines
• Four days/three nights in Cartagena with breakfast included.
• Accommodations at Casa San Agustin
Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 pm (EDT), September 4 2014, so hurry up and ENTER HERE!
This post is proudly sponsored by LAN Airlines.