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CruiseDirection - Magazine May 2019

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Cartagena (Col)

Cruising to Cartagena will allow you to enjoy its unique culture, history, beaches, and, of course, indulge in a little salsa dancing. It will also enable you to enjoy warm weather whatever time of year you visit. April is the hottest month, with an average of 29°C, and January the coldest, with average temperatures of 27°C.  

A popular cruise destination for many operators including P&O, Royal Caribbean International and Windstar Cruises, the port of Cartagena is one of the most modern in South America and one of the busiest in Colombia. As your ship cruises towards the harbour, look out for the two ancient Spanish forts near Bocachica and then those of Castillo Grande and Manzanillo. In the country’s colonial past, an underwater chain would be raised from the sea bed between the forts as pirate ships appeared, then tightened and held fast. Then, with their cannons, the forts would fire on the pirate ships.

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Why visit Cartagena (Col) ?


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Colombia’s most popular tourist destination

Cartagena is one of the country’s oldest and most impressive settlements

Closer to the city is the Castillo San Filipe de Barajas, said to be the greatest fortress ever built by the Spanish in their colonies. Originally commissioned in 1630, it was extended in 1762 and eventually covered an entire hill. It dominates a large part of the cityscape and is worth a visit.  

That is just one of the many jewels in Cartagena’s dazzling crown. Its walled town is full of beautiful colonial architecture from the 16th century and 17th century. Ciudad Amurallada is the oldest part of the city, and it has bars, restaurants, shops and some beautiful and expensive hotels.  

The Museo del Oro has a collection of the gold and pottery of the Zenú Amerindian tribe who inhabited Bolívar, Córdoba, Sucre and northern Antioquia before the Spanish arrived. It hosts special exhibitions, and there are guided tours in both Spanish and English.  

For some seaside fun, Playa Blanca is said to be one of the country’s most beautiful beaches. It is located on Isla Barú, 45 minutes by boat from Cartagena. Enjoy the clear waters and the perfect white sand, and take the time to sample the delicious, freshly caught fish.  

Closer to the city is the fishing village of La Boquilla, which is on the outskirts of Cartagena. Favoured by the locals, the food available is well worth tasting, with the local delicacy being arroz con coco – rice with coconut.  

If you fancy dancing the night away, Café Havana is one of the most popular salsa venues; it is situated in Cartagena’s cultural and partying district, Getsemani. Attracting both locals and expats, there are regular live salsa bands to keep everyone entertained until the wee small hours.  

Captivating and bewitching, Cartagena will be a wonderful location to visit for any cruise trip traveller and a place to taste, enjoy, relax, and maybe party. It is a city to make memories to carry with you forever.

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