In 1984, the Port, Fortresses and Monuments, including the old town of Cartagena were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mystified in romance, legends and beautiful colonial era antiquity, this city captivates visitors and travelers with its cobbled alleys, enormous balconies draped in bougainvillea and horse-drawn carriages. The backdrop to movies such as “Romancing the Stone” and more recently the film adaptation of “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Nobel Prize winning Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez, Cartagena has a long history of fairy-tale mystique. Capital of the department (state) of Bolívar, Cartagena is currently the fifth largest urban area in Colombia. During the colonial period, Cartagena was the most important bastion of the Spanish overseas empire and influenced much of Colombia’s history.

Cartagena’s calendar is packed with festivals -the biggest bash is the Carnaval de Cartagena, which culminates with the Miss Colombia beauty pageant on November 11 – one of the biggest cultural events in the country! Cartagena also hosted the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games, finishing fourth of the overall medal count.

Today the city hosts numerous annual intellectual and cultural events. The town is painted with beautiful colonial restored homes among exotic, highly attractive and dynamic plazas, waterfronts and other public spaces. The city plays host to many conventions but the two of major interest to Europeans and North Americans are without doubt the classical Music Festival held during the first two weeks of January and the South American version of the (UK) Hay Literary Festival at the end of January. Both are particularly imaginative with world class performers, writers and critics.

Check out some of the cooler events and festivals in Cartagena below.  We’ll keep adding to this list as we discover new things to do – submit a comment below if you have any ideas!

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Café del Mar is the perfect place for you to appreciate the fantastic fireworks that will give a special touch...

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The New Year's Eve Party at Baluarte San Francisco is a perfect setting for a group of friends as well...

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It’s that wonderful time of year again – no, not Christmas, but time to warn your dentist that this 25th...

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Hay Festival..what do literature, visual arts, cinema, music, geopolitics, journalism and the environment have in common? Check out the Hay…

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The costumes and the dances are seen around the world. The music is so rhythmic that your soul starts to...

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Similar to the Cholon Parties, Regatta Reggaeton is much bigger and much more epic as it only happens once a year,

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The biggest Ibiza-style rave in Colombia, Storyland Dance Festival attracts thousands of ravers each year. Held in an undisclosed location…

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Cartagena, known as “la ciudad amurrallada”, received its independence from Spain in 1933 and every year since has celebrated with…

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The Cartagena International Music Festival is a week-long festival consisting of chamber music performances selected by the Artistic Director, Stephen…

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If you consider yourself a bit of a film buff, the FICCI Festival (International Film Festival of Cartagena) is the...

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With one year under its wing, the International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Cartagena has become an astounding success. Last…