Cartagena’s Tourist Area

The guidebooks call it “The Old City,” or “The Walled City,” and the locals merely call it “El Centro” but either way they’re talking about a beautiful place to visit. Cartagena’s tourist area is a compelling mess of narrow streets filled with colorful buildings, art, crafts and people. Visitors to the city flock here for many reasons.

The Walled City of Cartagena

 The exterior of the old city is marked by an old stone wall, which makes for a great walk overlooking the sea at dusk when the blazing sun isn’t burning you to a crisp. The wall runs for 11km and encompasses the port and the old city, including Getsemani.

Horse drawn carriages mix with taxis in the roads, and tourists work around vendors on the sidewalks. Stroll around and see beautiful old buildings, modern art sculptures, craft stalls and lovely plazas.

Cartagena Teatro
Teatro in Old City Cartagena
Get Lost in the Streets

I visited the old town multiple times over the course of my stay in this city, and “lost” every time, but I always saw something new and lovely. For me, getting lost in the streets of Cartagena’s tourist area is a day well spent. I loved wandering the streets taking countless photos of the gorgeous surroundings.

Bolivar Statue Cartagena
Bolivar Statue in Cartagena
Plaza Bolivar Dancers
Plaza Bolivar Nighttime Entertainment
Sample and Engage

The juices and street foods in Cartagena are varied, delicious and so so cheap. Buy a lemonade or any fruit juice with your spare change and savor the freshness and the smile of the vendor as you wander the cobblestone streets. Cartagena’s tourist area is a UNESCO World Heritage site for a reason!

Lime Aid vendor Cartagena's tourist area
Lime Aid Vendor

The courtyards all feature restaurants and bars which are very welcoming to tourists. Options range from an Irish pub to Cuban bars to seafood restaurants and more. While I call this Cartagena’s tourist area, don’t think it’s not authentic. International travelers mix with locals and natives from other parts of Colombia in the cafés and restaurants.

Courtyard Cartagena's tourist area
Cartagena Courtyard with inviting restaurants and bars
Walled City Cartagena's Tourist Area
The wall that surrounds the old city

Since this is the tourist area, you can be assured the walled city is safe. Those who work here rely on the safety to ensure travelers come and return. I visited here whenever I needed a break from my life in the real Cartagena. I could relax and use my phone in peace without worrying. Solo travel is hard! Sometimes a girl needs to let her guard down.

Old City Street
Cartagena street
Buildings and Flowers
Botero Sculpture
Fernando Botero sculpture in Santo Domingo Plaza
Clock Tower Cartagena's tourist area
Cartagena Clock Tower

Cartagena’s tourist area is full of culture and sights. It’s been a pleasure to walk these cobblestones and interact with the people.

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Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, blogging about the places we visit and the adventures we have. Love hiking, cycling, scuba, animals and adventure.

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