A travel guide to the best attractions near to Cartagena, Colombia.

Take a day trip from Cartagena Colombia. When in Cartagena, you don’t need to spend all your time entirely in the city as there are several options on where to go, all of them easily accessible on a one-day or a half-day trip.

Rosario Islands Near Cartagena

Part of the allure of coming to Cartagena is the beautiful, crystal clear Caribbean and white sand beaches of the islands near Cartagena.

Rosario Islands and San Bernardo

The archipelagos of the Rosario Islands and San Bernardo are located one and two hours by boat respectively from the coast of Cartagena. Visitors especially enjoy the islands’ underwater charm, protected by the Corales del Rosario and San Bernardo National Nature Park.

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Tips for Visiting Volcan del Totumo

A popular backpacker day trip, this active mud volcano, as well as being the smallest volcano in Colombia, is famous for its alleged healing properties. Up to 15 guests at a time can bathe in the dense, warm mud (with an optional massage), before heading to the nearby sea to be washed off. It’s dirty, relaxing fun!

El Totumo Mud Volcano (Spanish: Volcán de Lodo El Totumo)

El Totumo Mud Volcano (Spanish: Volcán de Lodo El Totumo) is an active mud volcano located near sea level in northern Colombia in the municipality of Santa Catalina. A local tourist destination, popular for its alleged healing mud bath, it receives most of its visitors from nearby Cartagena. Along with this, it is the smallest volcano in the country. The mound has a prominence of about 15 m (49 ft) and it is accessible via a staircase that leads to the crater, which can accommodate about 10 to 15 people at a time; there, tourists bathe in the dense, warm mud and have the option of receiving personal massages from the attendants. The experience is then followed by a bath in a nearby lagoon to remove the mud.

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Exploring Santa Cruz de Mompox

Just 90 minutes from Cartagena, get to know the first free town in all the Americas, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Walk down dirt roads alongside houses made from wood, cement, and straw.

Santa Curz de Mompox

Life in Mompox is tempered by the gentle breeze off the Magdalena River, Colombia’s main artery. The town, whose historic center was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, grew from what used to be an island vault for the gold and silver plundered by the Spaniards during the colonization of the Americas. Mompox was founded in 1540 and is located about six hours away from Cartagena.

Learn about the art of goldsmithing: The history of filigree goldsmithing in Mompox goes back to an indigenous tradition perfected during Colombia’s colonization, when one fifth of the gold collected in the town was sent to Spain. Visit goldsmith workshops and learn about the production of wood and wicker rocking chairs.

Religious tourism: You don’t have to visit during Easter to witness the fervor of devotion and the Catholic traditions of Santa Cruz de Mompox. This town, anchored in the river Magdalena, marches to the beat of its own drum —one in which altars, images, crucifixes, and rosaries remain fixed in citizens’ minds and captivate visitors’ souls.

San Basilio de Palenque is a good place to observe Afro-Latino heritage.

The average temperature in Santa Cruz de Mompox is between 23 ºC (73ºF) to 38 ºC (100 ºF) and the best time of the year to visit Mompós is from mid-December to the end of February.

San Basilio de Palenque Cultural Space

Life in Mompox is tempered by the gentle breeze off the Magdalena River, Colombia’s main artery. The town, whose historic center was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, grew from what used to be an island vault for the gold and silver plundered by the Spaniards during the colonization of the Americas. Mompox was founded in 1540 and is located about six hours away from Cartagena.

The village of Palenque de San Basilio, with a population of about 3,500 inhabitants, is located in the foothills of the Montes de María, southeast of the regional capital, Cartagena. Palenque de San Basilio was one of the walled communities called palenques, which were founded by escaped slaves as a refuge in the seventeenth century. Of the many palenques that existed in former times, only San Basilio has survived until the present day. It developed into a unique cultural space.

The Cultural Space of Palenque de San Basilio encompasses social, medical and religious practices as well as musical and oral traditions, many of which have African roots. The social organization of the community is based on family networks and age groups called ma kuagro. The kuagro membership comes with a set of rights and duties towards other group members and entails strong internal solidarity. Daily work and special events are jointly undertaken by all kuagro members.

The complex funeral rituals and medical practices are evidence of the distinct spiritual and cultural systems framing life and death in the Palenque community. Musical expressions such as the Bullernege sentado, Son palenquero or Son de negro accompany collective celebrations, such as baptisms, weddings and religious festivities as well as leisure activities.

Central to the cultural space of Palenque de San Basilio is the palenquero language, the only creole language in Latin America with a lexical Spanish basis and grammatical characteristics of Bantu languages. The language constitutes a vital factor in reinforcing social cohesion among community members.

The cultural space of Palenque is not only threatened by economic changes that affect local modes of production, but also by the armed conflict between Colombian paramilitary and local guerrilla groups. Outside Palenque, inhabitants are commonly subjected to discrimination and ethnic stereotyping leading to a denial of their cultural values.

Tayrona National Natural Park

Crystal-clear blue and green waters, unique ecology and biodiversity, and a lodging option that allows direct contact with nature are some of the features that make Tayrona National Park the ideal destination for nature and adventure lovers.

Tayrona Park: a nature and adventure destination

The park has over 108 species of mammals, among which howling monkeys, ocelots, corn monkeys, deer and over 70 species of bats stand out. Bird species, including the white and lone eagles, number over 300. Close to 110 coral, 471 crustacean and 700 mollusk species live in its oceans.

The Tayrona Indigenous people were deeply aware of the environment. They channeled mountain water to their houses in an organized way and designed cities and cultivation terraces with the aim of protecting nature always in mind. Visitors to the park have access to the ruins and can attest to their creative abilities.

The ecohabs at the Cañaveral and Arrecifes sectors are another big attraction. They are luxury accommodations in cabin-like constructions based on the architecture of the Kogui Indigenous people. They have a circular floor plan, wooden structures, and thatched roofs. Here, tourists can rest, enjoy amazing sunsets, and be lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves breaking against the beach.

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San Jacinto Destination Guide (Bolívar, Colombia)

Through this experience, we promote sustainable community tourism in urban and rural spaces, through a variety of services in San Jacinto route in Montes de María region.

San Jacinto Culture and Tradition of Montes de María

Route “San Jacinto Culture & Tradition of the Montes de María”, tourists will discover and experience the magic and wonder of the cultural and natural attractions of this town in Montes de Maria.

Tourists are welcomed by bagpipers in “Gaiteros” park, enjoying the rhythm of bagpipes and drums performed by the musical group the Authentic Gaiteros de San Jacinto by the Macumbé folk dance group. Then they will get to know the Gaiteros de San Jacinto’s musical history, winners of the Latin Grammy Award for the best folk album in 2007.

Within this cultural tour, visitors will learn how to make handicrafts and textiles from the municipality. They will learn and carry out the process of making the Hammocks and similar products in the Olivia Carmona Living Museum School and Workshop. They will also be able to observe the process of makingbags and backpacks in crochet and macramé in the workshops of Dionicio Salgado and Elizabeth Santos, located in San Jacinto Avenue.

Visitors will also have a workshop in “Mi Gaita organization” with Rafael Pérez García. They will learn how the musical instruments of bagpipes “Gaitas” are made and will learn from the music of bagpipes and traditional songs such as “La Décima”.

Corpofodesco offers an agro-ecotourism route where visitors will experience the daily activities of peasant life in the Montes de María. Coffee, cocoa, rice, plantain, cassava, yam and the beans of La Paz located in the Bongal, Brasilar, Casa de Piedra, and Las Mercedes villages, enjoyning a ride on Jepp Willis cars.

Finally, visitors will be able to delight in the local gastronomy consuming typical dishes such as the Mote de queso, sancocho, rice with coconut, chili pepper, chicharron with cassava and avocado and all kinds of typical roasted meat. They will make a tour in the streets of the municipality ejoying the traditional architecture, they will be able to buy the famous Vásquez cookies and consume a refreshing guarapo in Marlo Para La Calo. After these wonderful experiences they will hear stories about the excavations of the vestiges from the oldest pottery in America, which can be seen in the Community Museum, and are more than 6000 years old approximately. After the tour in the Museum they will taste a delicious coffee with a unique flavor in the Café Cerro de Maco store.

With this experience, community tourism stimulates the local economy, both urban and rural, promoting local productive development, directly benefiting more than 100 families, who see tourism as an alternative to improve their quality of life. 7 cultural and productive businesses have been linked and strengthened, generating new sources of income and customers, increasing their income from the sale of goods and services to tourists. Corpofodesco promotes the valuation and apropiation of local culture and its heritage by strengthening the main cultural manifestations of San Jacinto

Barranquilla, capital of the Atlántico Department

Barranquilla, also known as “la Arenosa” (the Sandy) and “Curramba la Bella” (Curramba the beautiful), is one of Colombia’s major cities, as well as a key tourist destination for locals and foreigners.

Barranquilla – Celebration and culture in the “Golden Gate” of Colombia

This city, where the long journey of the Magdalena River comes to an end, is home to a many great musicians, writers, and painters. It is also the stage of one of the country’s most important celebrations: the Carnival of Barranquilla.

Joy, music, and tradition are so much a part of this Colombian city, down to each of its squares and streets, that every day feels like a real carnival. The charm, warmth, and energy of the people of Barranquilla captivate the city’s visitors. The famed quote from singer Joe Arroyo, “in Barranquilla I’ll stay,” reflects the sentiment of many upon visiting this beautiful city.

Thanks to its favorable geography, Barranquilla, capital of the Atlántico Department, has one of the most important ports in the whole country. Thanks to this famous port, Barranquilla is also known as the “Golden Gate” of Colombia. Barranquilla’s port, in addition to other factors, has allowed it to position itself as a city with high potential for economic and industrial development.

This city offers a wide range of recreational and cultural activities. For example, you can visit the city’s historic center, declared a Place of Cultural Interest in 1999, where you’ll find tourist locations such as the Paseo de Bolívar, one of the most noteworthy avenues in the city, where City Hall, the Church of San Nicolas, the Plaza de San Roque, and multiple commercial buildings are located.

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Ciénaga, a town in the department of Magdalena

Discover the Charm of the “Ciudad Vanidosa” Ciénaga, Magdalena, Colombia

Ciénaga, a town in the department of Magdalena

Gabriel García Márquez’s brand of magical realism was inspired partly by Ciénaga, a town in the department of Magdalena, which is part of the Colombian Network of People’s Heritage. Located on the Caribbean Sea, near the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Ciénaga is notable for the diversity of its landscapes and its well-preserved architecture.

Ciénaga was an indigenous village when it was catechized by Fray Tomás Ortiz in 1529. Since then it has been instrumental in the development of the Colombian Caribbean, as evidenced in is its historic center, which was declared a National Cultural Heritage Site in 1996. Here you can learn about banana cultivation, bathe in hot springs, and participate in a festival honoring the caimán (a small crocodile).

Walk through the historic center of Ciénaga and you’ll notice the town’s splendor, owed in part to the extensive surrounding banana plantations. You can also visit nearby stilt villages in the area.

Fort San Fernando de Bocachica

Tierrabomba is a small island located on the entire front of the city of Cartagena , by far it is a paradise of white sand and deep blue and crystal clear waters.

Fort San Fernando de Bocachica

Gabriel García Márquez’s brand of magical realism was inspired partly by Ciénaga, a town in the department of Magdalena, which is part of the Colombian Network of People’s Heritage. Located on the Caribbean Sea, near the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Ciénaga is notable for the diversity of its landscapes and its well-preserved architecture.

The Fort of San Fernando de Bocachica was built in a horseshoe shape on a high spot on the island of Carex (which means turtle in the Caribbean language). The island is now called Tierrabomba. The plans for the fort were drafted by the engineer Mac Evan and work on it began in 1753. At either end, bastions arise facing north. The vaults, meanwhile, were used as prisons.

Tierrabomba is perfect for rest, relaxation and connection with nature, but if you want to combine this with another activity , you must know that in Tierrabomba you can practice different water sports such as paddle, board or jetsky.

Cartagena is a charming city full of walls, bastions, castles and a lot of history, and Tierrabomba is not the exception; Here you can take a tour with some of the locals and head to Bocachica, which is a sector on the other side of the island and visit the Battery of San Rafael that is in the highest part of Cerro del Horno, where you will also have an unbeatable view of the island and the Bay of Cartagena. There is also the Fort of San Fernando, which entrance is free and consists of two bastions and something more than 30 vaults that you will be able to visit all. It is a magnificent experience.

➡ Discover more about Colombia: Looking to maximize your time in the Sun and Beach? Visit San Andrés

Tours & Tickets in Cartagena Colombia




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