Cartagena Tours and Excursions , Colombia

HALF-DAY VISIT TO THE CITY

This fascinating half-day tour starts with the visit of the most important monuments of Cartagena. We start at the Convent of La Popa (the highest point of the city) and continue to the Castillo de San Felipe, an immense fort filled with history and mysteries hidden in its stonewalled tunnels. Leaving the castle, we visit the monument of Zapatos Viejos, the “Old Shoes”. Certainly the most impressive monument is the gigantic defensive wall that surrounds the old city, and overlooks the sea and its well-preserved colonial architecture. During the rest of the visit you will see the city’s churches, museums, plazas, restaurants, shops and jewelry stores. This combination of treasures makes Cartagena deserving of the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site: You will never forget this wonderful destination. Duration: approximately 4 hours.

HISTORY & FORTIFICATIONS

Accompanied by a local history expert, take a private transfer to La Popa monastery, where one can get a birds-eye view of Cartagena’s legendary bays and understand the importance of the city’s strategic location during the Spanish colony. Then, drive to Castillo de San Felipe fortress, to explore the dark tunnels and lookout points, and recount recount the captivating stories and military strategy tactics used to defend Cartagena from pirates and invaders. Conclude the session walking along the winding streets of Cartagena’s historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while recounting the fascinating stories behind the iconic plazas, cathedrals, colonial mansions. 

HISTORY & ARCHITECTURE

Alongside a local historian, walk through the winding streets of Cartagena’s historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unlike traditional guides, your history expert will provide in-depth explanations and recount fascinating stories about the iconic plazas, cathedrals, colonial mansions and colourful streets. Learn about the Spanish colonization, Inquisition era, and pirate sieges that influenced Cartagena’s history. 

WALKING THE 16th-CENTURY

Let yourself be carried away by the incredible and majestic tour of the Old City where you will discover the enchantment of the Cartagena. Live it up and surround yourself in the mysticism of its narrow streets and plazas filled with stories and discover the meaning of their names. Don’t hesitate to participate and enjoy this walk as the best alternative to discovering even more of the charm of our “Corralito de Piedra”. Duration: approximately 3 hours. (Price includes travel and guide for hotels inside the walled city. For hotels outside the city walls, the transfer to the walled city must be added.) 

HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE TOUR WITH DINNER

Experience the colonial era with a tour in horse-drawn carriages and admire the beauty of Cartagena. Enjoy the walled city and its balconies illuminated by lanterns. Entertain your imagination with the marvelous stories of each of the streets of the Old City, narrated by the carriage driver, and conclude this romantic evening in one of the best restaurants in the Old City, like El Santisimo Restaurant or Palosanto Restaurant. 

DANCING CLASS IN CARTAGENA

Music is one of the most important elements of Colombian culture. People live and love music. In Cartagena you will hear Salsa, Merengue, Vallenato and Champeta in every corner. We invite you to learn some basic steps of traditional dances. A young team of dancers and dancing teachers will be waiting for you.

RUMBA IN CHIVA

Hop aboard one of the colorful, typical Chiva buses and enjoy the charming and bewitching atmosphere of a fascinating night-time tour of the city of Cartagena, accompanied by a Vallenato live band which will delight you all evening long while you taste traditional Antaño Rum. Included in this trip is a stop to try the exquisite typical fried Cartagena snacks with their authentic coastal flavor. The tour finishes at one of the most popular discotheques of the city. Duration: approximately 3 hours.

CARTAGENA FULL-DAY CITY TOUR INCLUDING VISIT TO BAZURTO TRADITIONAL MARKET

The full day city tour starts with the transfer from the city center to the La Popa Convent. From the convent you will have a great view over the whole city. From there, we will proceed to the biggest fort the Spaniards built in South America, the San Felipe de Barajas Fortress. We will visit the whole fort including some of its tunnels, as well as the statue of Don Blas de Lezo. Afterwards, we will visit The Bazurto market, it is a traditional market offering fish, meat, fruit, clothing. We can buy food or traditionally prepared Colombian dishes or just enjoy the local market of Cartagena in the early hours. Let this “underground” part of Cartagena enchants you; it is ideal for an adventure.

We will walk through a maze of alleys, where the tour guide will introduce you to all kinds of fruit, herbs, vegetables, fish, seafood and meat. There is also a spice market and natural healing pharmacies.

Then, we will go back to the city center and visit the most important landmarks, such as the official entrance to the walled city with the Clock Tower (Torre del Reloj). Behind it, we will find the Monument of Don Pedro de Heredia, the founder of Cartagena de Indias (1533). The guide will tell us about the story of Cartagena’s founding and will share interesting stories full of legends and pirates. Duration: approximately 8 hours. 

COOKING CLASS

Gastronomy is an important part of the local culture and the Cartageneros are proud of their Caribbean cuisine. Apart from tasting it, what would be better than learning how to prepare seafood, coconut rice and other specialties of Cartagena´s cuisine? The cooking class takes place in a colonial house in the historical city center or in Getsemaní. The Chef will give us a presentation about the ingredients before he will teach us how to prepare typical dishes. The class takes about two hours. Afterwards, we will eat together. Includes a cooking class (about 2 hours), Lunch or dinner: ceviche / fish soup, seafood rice or fried fish with plantain and coconut rice and salad, mango or passion fruit mousse as dessert, fresh juice of the season. Duration: approximately 3 hours.

TOTUMO VULCANO

The Volcano of Totumo is located on the way to Barranquilla. The cone shaped volcano is located near to the fresh water lagoon El Totumo. We will have this once in a lifetime opportunity, to bath in the warm mud pool that is 500 meters deep. Do not worry, the mud is so thick that it is impossible to sink. Afterwards, we will be rinsed by local women in the lagoon nearby (for a little tip). They also offer massages in the mud pool (not included).  Duration: approximately 4 hours. 

SAN BASILIO DE PALENQUE

In 1603, America’s first liberated village was founded by Benkos Biohó, an escaped slave that hid with 36 other men and women. Until the sixties, there was no connecting road between the main road and San Basilio de Palenque. That’s why the creole language Palenquero that is not spoken anywhere else in the world, was able to be preserved. The small village was declared World Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO. It has a fascinating history and it is the place where many Afro-Columbian styles of music and dance find their origin. From Cartagena, it will take us about 1,5 hours to San Basilio de Palenque, where we will meet our local tour guide, a Palenquero. We will visit the village and the cultural center, where we will learn about the history of Palenque. Afterwards, we will be served a typical Palenque dish for lunch (Not included), After lunch, we will go back to Cartagena. Duration: approximately 6 hours.

AVIARIO BARU ISLAND

Colombia is the first country in bird diversity. It has 1,903 species, equivalent to 20% of bird species on Earth. Among them scientist count here 197 species of migratory birds and 71 endemic species. Near Cartagena, in the peninsula of Baru we found the largest aviary of the Continent. A tourist attraction that promotes conservation, reproduction and repopulation of the Colombian avifauna. During this visit to the Aviary you will walk through six environments, including tropical rainforest, the coastlines and the desert. These are located in an area of seven hectares in which you get to see some 138 species of birds and about 1800 birds, including: the Harpy Eagle, the toucan Caribbean, the Pink Flamingos, Crane Crown and Condor. The transfer from the hotel to the Peninsula of Baru takes about 1 hour and crosses the port and industrial area of the city, as well as the Dique canal. The visit to the Aviary takes around 3 hours. Drive back to the hotel. Duration: 5 hours approx.

This tour leads us to the small fishermen village of La Boquilla and we highly recommend it for nature lovers. You will to be in touch with local people from the fishing village and learn from a native hand to assembling fishing nets, boxes to catch crabs and how to throw the traditional net, and then cooking your catch with a native family. 

ROSARIO ISLANDS

Set off to Islas del Rosario on a speedboat, staffed with captain, crew and an English-speaking butler.  The archipelago of 30 islands is located 50-60 minutes from Cartagena and is replete with coral reefs, virgin white sand islands and calm bays with clear blue waters.  Spend the day cruising between islands, snorkeling among colorful reefs and enjoying the pristine waters of the Rosario Islands. The boat will be equipped with snorkeling equipment and your favorite snacks and beverages. Lunch will be arranged at one of the beach restaurants in the islands. Lunch not included.

COOKING CLASS WITH LUNCH

A local chef will teach you how to make some of Cartagena’s most typical dishes such as ceviche, seafood soup in coconut milk and white wine, coconut rice, plantain chips, a few other secrets. The menu can be designed based on your preferences. The classes take place at a private house in the old city, with a beautiful open air kitchen and a refreshing dip pool. 

RUM TASTING

You will be met in the hotel lobby by your host. One of the best sommeliers in Colombia will guide you through an exquisite tasting experience. Sample a variety of premium rums, understand how rum is processed and aged, and learn how to recognize its numerous characteristics. An English-speaking translator will be available. 

CHOCOLATE CHEF

Have fun with one of Colombia’s local delicacies: cacao. Guests will get a short and entertaining explanation of the chocolate making process, and then get the chance to make their treats with white, milk or dark chocolate and over 15 different flavorings.

COFFEE TASTING

Meet your host in the hotel lobby.  Enjoy a one-on-one session with a local barista who will walk you through the intricate process of coffee-tasting and help you identify its flavors and aromas. The barista will describe how the cultivation and harvest process impacts quality, while you taste a variety of award-winning beans and learn how to make a perfectly balanced cup of coffee. Duration: 1 hour. 

PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP

Follow a professional photographer as he shares his very own locals-only stories, invaluable photographic advice and lessons, and takes you to the very best spots. The tour begins with a mini-class to help you get the best out of your camera and then takes you through Cartagena’s most picturesque streets and lesser-known points to get the best views of Cartagena. 

STREET ART TOUR

Alongside a fascinating Belgian who now calls Cartagena his home, walk the streets of Getsemani neighbourhood where one can find spectacular street art that recounts the history, culture and daily life of this authentic and vibrant area of Cartagena’s Old City. Learn about the artists, techniques and stories behind each of the murals while understanding how it portrays the neighbourhood’s history, culture and daily life. 

RESTAURANT HOPPING

Stroll the streets of Cartagena with a local who will give you the low-down on Cartagena’s food and culture scene. Along the way, taste local street food and treats, learn about the origins of each dish, recount the stories of Cartagena’s peculiar street names and understand Cartagena’s fascinating history and culture.

Cartagena Tours and Excursions

Be on your own schedule. Activities or day tours can be private or shared. Join a scheduled, multi-day group tour. All-inclusive travel by cruise ship.

Including accommodations, transportation, and activities/tours.

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