Western Caribbean Cruise — Day 8 — Cartagena, Colombia

We finally reached the place that I most anticipated on this trip. The Old Town of Cartagena, Colombia is a World Heritage Site and a well-preserved Spanish-Colonial, walled city. Having seen pictures prior to leaving on this cruise, I was fascinated with the architecture and excited to stroll the streets myself.

A Street in Old Cartagena

We entered the walled city through the Torre de Reloj, a clocktower just over the bridge from the Matuna section of the city.

Torre de Reloj

Upon entry visitors are treated to one of the most beautiful squares in the Americas. Plaza de los Coches (or Plaza de los Dulces) is lined with colorful, stately buildings and a monument to local hero, Pedro Heredia.

Plaza de los Coches

From here we followed my Walking Tour of Cartagena to reach the Santa Catalina de Alejandria Cathedral, a beautiful structure on the outside,


with a lovely interior as well.

Cathedral Altar

Nearby is Plaza Bolivar, a lovely treed park dedicated to the famous South American revolutionary. It is a popular place for locals since it is shaded and provides several fountains to refresh minds and bodies.

Plaza Bolivar

Also on this square is the Palace of the Inquisition, now a museum of history.

Palace of the Inquisition

Our next stop was Iglesia Santo Domingo and its lovely square, lined with restaurants and shops. We took a break here to have a beer (una cervesa) before proceeding.

Iglesia de Santo Domingo

We walked from Santo Domingo to the peripheral city walls to walk the walls a bit. From here you can see the Caribbean Sea and also peek down some more attractive streets.

City Walls

The city’s former prison vaults (Las Bovedos) have been converted into shops and are a Mecca for tourists to Cartagena.

Las Bovedos

Our final stop within the Old City was San Pedro Claver Church, another classic Spanish church from the 1500s.

San Pedro Claver Church

Before leaving the city and heading back to the cruise ship terminal we asked our taxi driver to take us by the city’s most important sight, Fuerte San Felipe de Barrajas, the pride of the city’s fortifications, just over the Heredia Bridge from the Old Town.

Fuerte San Felipe de Barrajas

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