Founded on June 1, 1533 by Spanish commander Pedro de Heredia, and named after the town in Spain where most of his sailors had resided, Cartagena has a rich history as one of the most famous port towns ever. Most well-known of all are the 11 kilometers of walls surrounding the city, built across 200 years during the 17th Century by European engineers to protect against inevitable attacks by pirates and corsairs.

Check out some of the most popular historical attractions below and if you’re interested, give our city concierge a call and we’ll setup a tour for you.

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  • Historic Places
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The Cathedral of Cartagena, (officially named Catedral Basa­lica Metropolitana de Santa Catalina de Alejandra) is located deep in the old city.  It is the episcopal sight of the Archbishop of Cartagena de Indias, one of the oldest episcopal sights in the Americas which continues to run…

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The Cathedral of San Pedro Claver was first built in 1575, destroyed by Sir Francis Drake in 1586, and rebuilt in 1602. It was eventually named for a Spanish-born Jesuit priest, Pedro Claver, who arrived in Cartagena in 1610.

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El Portal de los Dulces..Known as Plaza del Juez or Plaza de la Yerba, the triangular plaza just behind Puerta del Reloj was once used as a market for enslaved people and is the most central plaza in the city.The place is called El Portal...

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One of the most popular squares in the old city, Plaza Santo Domingo is regularly packed with tourists.  Aptly named for the church situated on one of its corners, the plaza has hundreds of tables from the myriad restaurants encircling its perimeter and is a…

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Frequented by locals, travelers, hippies, families and everyone in between, Plaza de la Trinidad is a lovely place to hang out at night. There are plenty of restaurants and bars, people from all walks of life, and you can almost always find some kind of…

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Worth visiting for the elegant, colorful architecture, Plaza de la Aduana is one of the most extensive areas in the walled city, with many restaurants, banks and exchange shops – beware, it is always a good idea to shop around for the best exchange rate…

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An oasis during the day, Plaza Bolivar is one of the few plazas that is quiet and yet always full of locals. With plenty of trees offering shade from the hot sun, four fountains offering peaceful background noise and lots of benches on which to…

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Around the time of its founding in 1533, Cartagena was the principal port from which the Spanish Crown transported its greatest riches and so, it was necessary to construct extremely strong fortifications to repel attacks by pirates and would-be thieves. Constructed by the in stages,…

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The Palace of the Inquisition is certainly one of the most imposing buildings in the area. With a regal, baroque entrance, one of the largest interior courtyards and several artfully maintained gardens, this site offers an excellent example of period opulence.

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In 1601, possibly the most famous landmark in Colombia, “La Torre de Reloj” was built to connect, via drawbridge, Getsemani with old Cartagena. Originally referred to as “La Boca del Puente” (The Mouth of the Bridge), it is the principal entrance to the old city.

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For one of the best vantage points in the old city, head to Castillo San Felipe de Barajas. This massive and impressive fortification is not for the light of heart – the fort itself is huge with enormous, steeply inclined walls, many meters thick. The…

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With forty-seven arches and twenty-three domes, Las Bóvedas (The Vaults) is easily one of the most architecturally interesting structures within the old city walls and was in fact, the final structure built.