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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The costumes and the dances are seen around the world. The music is so rhythmic that your soul starts to move. Feathers and glitter and paint and foam. This is Carnival. Carnival is the celebration of the days before the Catholic holiday of Ash Wednesday. In...

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Celebrate New Year’s Eve in a the square of San Diego like the rich locals. Try to by your ticket in time because the tables are running out quick, this is a new year party you dont want to miss until the early hours of la...

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SOLD OUT! THERE ARE NO MORE TICKETS Alquimico host legendary new year’s party every year and the alchemist of drinks brings to you a mix of killer cocktails and and a swarm of DJs. You'll have a nice view of the fireworks on the awesome rooftop...

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Café del Mar is the perfect place for you to appreciate the fantastic fireworks that will give a special touch to the Caribbean sky this night. Let this party be filled with brightness, colors and stars, and that this end of the year you will...

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SOLD OUT! THERE ARE NO MORE TICKETS The New Year's Eve Party at Baluarte San Francisco is a perfect setting for a group of friends as well as a family. You'll never have the change to feel such a fiesta as here out in the...

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Cartagena is one of the worlds top New Year's Eve destinations. Here there is good parties all year round so don't think for a second that the New Year's Eve will be overseen. Cartagena has a great temperature allowing outside parties right through the night, an...

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It’s that wonderful time of year again – no, not Christmas, but time to warn your dentist that this 25th March will be the first day of Cartagena’s yearly “Candy Festival” – el Festival del Dulce. Prepare yourself to try some of the most traditional...

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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 Festival to find out. Ten years in the running, the four-day Hay Festival seeks to foster the local and international promotion of literature, debate, cultural…

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The costumes and the dances are seen around the world. The music is so rhythmic that your soul starts to move. Feathers and glitter and paint and foam. This is Carnaval. Carnaval is the celebration of the days before the Catholic holiday of Ash Wednesday....

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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 (until the last minute), the festival usually takes place just outside the city – tickets pre-purchased almost always have transport built-in along with entry and…

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Cartagena, known as “la ciudad amurrallada”, received its independence from Spain in 1933 and every year since has celebrated with a party which over the decades has grown considerably larger.

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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 Prutsman.

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If you consider yourself a bit of a film buff, the FICCI Festival (International Film Festival of Cartagena) is the place to see and be seen, taking place between February 28 th and March 5 th this year. This historic festival is the oldest film...

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With one year under its wing, the International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Cartagena has become an astounding success. Last year, the festival drew 16,000 people with 15 venues showcasing the work of 120 artists from 45 countries.

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