Weather: During the day you can expect temperatures between 75 and 86 *F and at night you might experience a low of 77*F
Altitude: Cartagena is at sea level.
Rainy Season: Cartagena does not have a rainy season but we can say that it usually rains during April-May and September-November.
WHAT TO WEAR? Your what-to-pack list will depend on the activities that you will be doing while in Cartagena. However, having in mind its weather, please do not forget to pack loose-fitting clothes, preferably of cotton. A bathing suit for the beach day, light clothes, and comfy sandals to walk around Cartagena’s streets! And of course, don´t forget to pack your favorite hat, sunglasses and an eco-friendly sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
HIGHLIGHTS: Without a doubt, one of the many highlights of Cartagena is knowing the historical heritage that this city holds. Visiting the walled city, walking its streets, and having contact with locals will be a memorable moment for you. Don´t forget to include a visit to the city’s monuments, such as La Popa Convent, El Castillo San Felipe, Las Bóvedas, Iglesia and Convento San Pedro de Claver.
More of Cartagena
With its breathtaking colonial architecture, horse-drawn carriages and narrow cobbled streets, the city of Cartagena de Indias is one of the most exciting destinations in Colombia. This Caribbean colonial jewel was the first Spanish colony on the South American mainland and one of the main ports for the Spanish fleet which turned the city into an important center of trade in the 16th century. It is a city full of history which has been an inspiration for artists, writers, historians and musicians. This vibrant and colorful city throughout the years has enchanted tourists with its fairy-tale charms that invite people to linger and explore the city for days.
Overlooking the Caribbean Sea, it’s no surprise Cartagena has some stunning sunsets. Watching the sunset in Cartagena is a must during your visit, and doing it with a refreshing drink is even better, especially after a day exploring in the sun. You can rent a private boat, go to one of the bars or restaurants overlooking the wall, or just walking its wonderful streets.
If you want to step outside the walls of Cartagena and experience the beauty surroundings, you can visit of one of the many islands this area has.
Cartagena also stands out for being the home of important musical events such as the Classical Music Festival or the Hay Festival, and for its variety of bars and discos with rhythms for all preferences. Here, culture and gastronomy merge together, in experiences where visitors take salsa and champeta lessons after an allusive tour of the “patacón” (fried green plantain), which ends at one of the most famous salsa bars in the historic center of the city to practice the dance moves previously learnt.
The cuisine of the Colombian Caribbean Coast is very extensive and varies according to each department of the region, combining traditional cuisine, coastal seasoning and an aphrodisiac touch. From the colony diverse traditions, elements and techniques of the indigenous, European, African and mestizo cultures are incorporated. One of the most popular gastronomic traditions, of African origin, is presented through the «Palenqueras», which are usually seen in the streets of Cartagena with large bowls on their heads carrying fresh fruit or sweets for sale.
Feel Colombia’s African roots in San Basilio de Palenque
Uepa! Kumo bo tá? Means «Hello, how are you?» in Palenquero, the only Spanish-based Creole language that is still spoken in the Americas by just 3,500 people in San Basilio de Palenque, a small town located 50 kms southeast of Cartagena which has kept alive their customs and traditions for more than 300 years. Founded at the end of that century by small populations of African enslaved people who escaped the Spanish regime and settled in the mountains of the San Jacinto’s range, this community has a rich cultural heritage that has been passed down orally from generation to generation. Its vast and ancestral knowledge earned in 2008 the declaration of UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
You can visit this interesting town if you have a full free day in Cartagena, share with the locals, learn about their culture, listen to their wonderful music and participate of a cooking lesson with a local chef who has an award-winning book. If you don’t have enough time to visit the town, make sure to see and support the “Palenqueras” all over the city: black women in colorful dresses expertly balancing bowls of tropical fruit on their heads. The Palenqueras represent an incredible feat of human resistance, the respected figure of courageous, hard-working mothers, and a still living and thriving Afro-Caribbean heritage. The women of Palenque raveled themselves into the history of Cartagena and transforming the Palenquera into one of the biggest Colombian icons.
Insider tip: San Basilio de Palenque is birthplace of amazing music as well. We recommend the following artists or bands: Son Palenque, Batata y su Rumba Palenquera, el Sexteto Tabalá, Las Alegres Ambulancias, Las Estrellas del Caribe, Louis Towers “El Rasta”, Viviano Torres “Anne Swing”, Charles King “El Palenquero Fino”, Kombilesa Mí and Franklyn Tejedor “Lamparita”, creator of Mitú.
Metropolitan Touring Colombia