Cartagena de Indias is famous for its romantic colonial buildings and the walls that surround the seaside city.

It has a population of around one million people. It’s a popular tourist destination with more and more cruise ships arriving every year. The fortress and the old part of the city were declared world heritage sites by UNESCO in 1984. The city was founded on June 1 1533 but human activity in the region dates back over 6,000 years.

Watch a ballet performance at the Teatro Heredia with its gold leaf interior. Take a day trip out to the mud volcanoes at Totumo, the tallest mud volcanoes in the world. Go on a chiva tour, drinking and listening to live music as the bus drives around the city. Go big game fishing or on a day trip to the Rosario Islands. Visit the mangroves close to Cartagena or get your PADI diving certification.

Botero in the old town

Walk through the tunnels of the Bocachica fort. Wander around the modern shops of Boca Grande or down to the beaches one block away. Stroll around Plaza Bolivar or visit the naval museum. Take some photos with Botero’s famous fat lady statue then choose from one of the many restaurants nearby. Explore the dungeons of Las Bovedas. Visit the gold museum. Explore the fort of San Felipe de Barajas. If you’re in Cartagena in November then you can experience the biggest beauty pageant in Colombia: the Reinada Nacional de Belleza.

Feel the exciting rhythmic energy of Mapale dancers inside the walls of the old town. Watch the sun go down at Café del Mar then take a romantic ride in a candlelit horse-drawn carriage.

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