A walking tour of Cartagena de Indias

Cartagena, on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, literally drips with history. It is redolent with every story of pirates, the Spanish Maine and buried treasure ever told. Wandering the ancient streets lined with beautiful buildings with overhanging flower-filled balconies, history seems to seep out of the walls.

There are some ‘must see’ places in Cartagena, but the best way to experience the life of the city is to discard the map and go wherever the sea breeze takes you. There isn’t a street inside the old walled city that doesn’t reveal some new delight, whether a shady plaza to sit and people watch or a tiny bar blaring out hypnotic music where a cold beer is obligatory in the heat of the day.

I’ve visited some old colonial towns that feel similar to Cartagena – Galle in Sri Lanka, or Ibo in Mozambique – but nothing compares to Cartagena for its mixture of vibrancy and history. It would be worth visiting for the food alone. Although photographs can’t evoke the people, smells, sounds or the humidity, here is a selection of my favourites.

Beer, Cartagena, Colombia

Beer, Cartagena, Colombia

Street food, Cartagena, Colombia

Street food, Cartagena, Colombia

Door knocker, Cartagena, Colombia

Door knocker, Cartagena, Colombia

Street art, Cartagena, Colombia

Street art, Cartagena, Colombia

Street, Cartagena, Colombia

Street, Cartagena, Colombia

Street, Cartagena, Colombia

Street, Cartagena, Colombia

Street art, Cartagena, Colombia

Street art, Cartagena, Colombia

Fruit seller, Cartagena, Colombia

Fruit seller, Cartagena, Colombia

Statue of monk Pedro Claver who worked to help African slaves, Cartagena, Colombia

Statue of monk Pedro Claver who worked to help African slaves, Cartagena, Colombia

Fruit seller, Cartagena, Colombia

Fruit seller, Cartagena, Colombia

Street, Cartagena, Colombia

Street, Cartagena, Colombia

Street, Cartagena, Colombia

Street, Cartagena, Colombia

Street performer, Cartagena, Colombia

Street performer, Cartagena, Colombia

Balcony, Cartagena, Colombia

Balcony, Cartagena, Colombia

Street art, Cartagena, Colombia

Street art, Cartagena, Colombia

Street food, Cartagena, Colombia

Street food, Cartagena, Colombia

Street, Cartagena, Colombia

Street, Cartagena, Colombia

Street, Cartagena, Colombia

Street, Cartagena, Colombia

Statue of Catalina, the Carib woman who acted as an interpreter for the first Spanish, Cartagena, Colombia

Statue of Catalina, the Carib woman who acted as an interpreter for the first Spanish, Cartagena, Colombia

9 thoughts on “A walking tour of Cartagena de Indias

    • The graffiti is in an area called Getsemani, really nice and feels a bit like Hoxton were I used to live in London. Full of Colombian families who come out onto the streets at night, play music, drink and socialise – not that that happened in London!

  1. Beautiful photos. Your leaving tour sounds quite amazing. I agree with other post that you take v memorable pics. Enjoying shazduck’s. posts as well not as frequent as I would like. X

    • I keep telling her to blog more but she’s very resistant. We’re trying to make the tour as memorable as possible as we’ll be unemployable by the time we get home and will never travel again.

  2. Your Post’s title amazed me. Why? Because in the seventies I visited in South America several times and when in Bogotá I had my C-cassette radio with me and I recorded a Cumbia in which it is sung about Cartagena de Indias!

    I love Your post and the variety of great photos from it.

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