Cartagena, Colombia’s Caribbean gem, is brimming with colorful architecture, rich history, and vibrant culture. You can experience this charming city’s allure without emptying your wallet, as there is no shortage of free activities to enjoy. Here is a list of the top 10 free activities that Cartagena has to offer.
1. Walk Through the Walled City
The walled city, located in the heart of Cartagena and fortified by a citadel, was historically used to protect the city from pirates and storms. You’ll find a nice assortment of local restaurants, quaint bars, shopping, and several lovely hotels in this small but bustling area. Despite being filled with tourists practically all year, the city’s historic quarter keeps its undeniable charm.
2. Visit Plaza de Bolívar
Located in the heart of the Walled City, Plaza de Bolívar is a bustling square surrounded by historic buildings, including the Palace of the Inquisition and Cartagena Cathedral. Relax on a shaded bench, enjoy a refreshing raspao, or simply people-watch amidst the lively atmosphere.
3. Explore Getsemaní Neighborhood
Once a district for slaves and working-class citizens, Getsemaní has evolved into a vibrant hub for artists and creatives. Meander through its narrow streets adorned with captivating murals and street art, and experience the area’s unique blend of history and modernity.
4. Enjoy the Sunset at Café del Mar
Perched atop the ancient city walls, Café del Mar is a prime location for watching the sunset over the Caribbean Sea. While the café itself isn’t free, you can still soak up the atmosphere, admire the view, and witness the sky transform into a stunning array of colors without spending a dime.
5. Take a Dip at Bocagrande Beach
Cartagena’s Bocagrande Beach offers a refreshing respite from the city’s heat. Enjoy a leisurely swim in the warm Caribbean waters, or simply relax on the sandy shores while admiring the impressive skyline.
6. Discover the Street Food Scene
Sampling the local street food is a must when visiting Cartagena. While not entirely free, many options are budget-friendly, allowing you to savor the city’s culinary delights without breaking the bank. Don’t miss treats like arepas de huevo, carimañolas, and cocadas.
7. Marvel at Cartagena’s Churches
Cartagena is home to a multitude of stunning churches, each with its unique architectural style and history. Visit the imposing Cartagena Cathedral, the beautifully restored Church of Santo Domingo, or the serene Church of San Pedro Claver.
This square is regarded as the most important in the city, and it was renamed “Plaza de Mercaderes” by the end of 1585 since merchants had been parked there for some time. Following this name change, the square was renamed “Plaza de los Coches” by a city council resolution enabling carriages to be left in front of Portal de los Dulces.
8. Stroll Along the Pegasos Wharf
The Pegasos Wharf, located near the Clock Tower, offers a serene walk along the water with spectacular views of the historic city walls, Bocagrande skyline, and the imposing Castillo San Felipe de Barajas. Take a leisurely stroll and soak in the atmosphere, or simply sit and watch the boats glide by.
9. Visit the India Catalina Monument
India Catalina, an indigenous woman who played a crucial role in the Spanish conquest of Colombia, is honored with a bronze statue in Cartagena. Located near the Walled City, this monument is a tribute to the city’s rich history and serves as a reminder of its indigenous heritage.
10. Join the Free Tour of Cartagena
For an in-depth exploration of the city’s history and culture, consider joining a Free Walking Tour of Cartagena. Led by knowledgeable local guides, these tours delve into the city’s past and present, unearthing fascinating stories and lesser-known facts about Cartagena’s most iconic landmarks.
Cartagena offers a myriad of free things to do that allow visitors to experience its rich culture, history, and vibrant atmosphere without spending a fortune. From exploring the stunning Walled City to enjoying the sunset at Café del Mar, these Cartagena Top 10 free activities showcase the city’s undeniable charm and beauty. So whether you’re a history buff, a beach lover, or a culinary enthusiast, Cartagena has something to offer everyone. Embrace the city’s unique spirit and discover the best free things to do in Cartagena on your next visit. Happy exploring!